By DENISE DICK
After weeks of speculation, cameras will roll today as Jim Tressel publicly reveals his plans for moving from the football field to a university presidential office.
Tressel, the former head football coach at both Youngstown State University and Ohio State University, who led both teams to national titles, is a finalist for two university presidencies at YSU and the University of Akron. Beginning in 2012, Tressel served as UA’s vice president of strategic engagement; in 2013 he became executive vice president for student success.
He’ll appear at a 1:30 p.m. open forum in UA’s Student Union Theatre. The news media, at least those from Northeast Ohio, are expected to attend in droves.
The university worked with two Cleveland television stations to provide pool coverage — one shooting from the audience, focusing on Tressel’s presentation and the other shooting from the stage, focusing on the audience. The university will live stream the public forum at http://www.uakron.edu/live.
Announcements that Tressel had first applied for the UA presidency and then was named a finalist, have generated much media coverage, said Eileen Korey, a university spokeswoman.
“Like in the past, when he was announced as being hired two years ago, when we started the coaching class, we’ve been inundated by media not only in Ohio but well beyond,” she said.
That’s why the university is trying to plan for a large news media turnout.
The forum, though, is for the campus and the community, she said. The venue seats 320 people.
There are few large spaces on campus, and the university wanted to treat each of the three finalists equally so all of the forums are in the same place.
Akron’s other two finalists are Ronald A. Nykiel, provost and vice president of academic affairs at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, Md., and Scott L. Scarborough, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Toledo. Their forums were earlier this week.
Tressel’s YSU forum will be 2 p.m. Monday in the first-floor meeting room of Tod Hall.
Ron Cole, YSU spokesman, said he hasn’t heard from news media outlets outside of the Mahoning Valley that plan to attend.
The forums, which follow meetings of the candidates with the deans, unions, faculty and executive staff and a campus tour, will use the same format as last year’s when YSU trustees selected Randy J. Dunn as university president. Dunn resigned after eight months to take the presidency of Southern Illinois University. His last day at YSU was March 21.
“We want to make sure we treat all the candidates in the same manner,” Cole said.
The other two YSU finalists, Gary L. Miller, chancellor of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington; and Mary Cullinan, president and English professor at Southern Oregon University, will visit YSU and participate in 2 p.m. forums Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
Trustees plan to meet May 8 and may select a president but have said an announcement won’t be made until a contract is negotiated.
UA trustees plan to meet in executive session tonight at the Portage Country Club and Monday at the Student Union. The board has also scheduled meetings for May 12 and May 19 in the Student Union Board Room.