Jim Tressel, one of three finalists for Youngstown State University
president, said he hasn't thought much about whether he would accept the YSU
presidency over that of the University of Akron — where he is also a
"I haven't been offered a position yet," he told reporters this afternoon.
But he doesn't expect he'll go back to coaching.
"I don't wake up in the morning and say, 'I wish I were still coaching,'" he
Tressel said he has more important things to do -- "not that it's not
In wide-ranging talks on campus today, he discussed points he believes would
"The most impactful thing we can do from a financial standpoint is
retention," Tressel said. "Secondly, we've got to do a great job at
development, at fundraising."
He also believes it's a necessity to expand YSU's recruiting area.
International students on campus can help not only with numbers of students
on campus, but also with students' experiences, allowing students to be
around those from other countries.
The former football coach said he met with union leaders this morning and
was impressed with the leadership. He says from talking to people at YSU,
former President Randy Dunn put good plans in place during his tenure.
Faculty must be involved in collaborating with all parts of campus
involvement. Tressel touts a "culture of collaboration."
"You can't discount what another person wants," he said.
As for academics, he said picking a provost (the chief academic officer)
needs to involve all of the stakeholders — faculty, staff, others — and
taking into account the strengths of the president, he said.
He also believes students want a hybrid of distance and more traditional
types of higher education. He also says he wants the best instructor for a
course, whether full time or an adjunct. Most of the time the goal has to be
"to maximize full-time faculty" but not be afraid to use adjunct.
He noted that being at Youngstown State University shaped who he is. He told
members of the campus community this afternoon who packed into the Tod Hall
meeting room that "we don't brag enough about here."
About his qualifications, Tressel says there's a time and a place for
everything — and "this may be the time and the place for a non Ph.D.
He said the university shouldn't "get caught up in the number" when it comes
to enrollment but should concentrate on the whatever number is successful.
That comment came as he speak to a group of YSU students.
Jimmy Tancabel, a sophomore from Boardman, read Tressel’s curriculum vitae
before attending today’s meeting with the YSU president hopeful.
“I thought he had some different experience from what the other candidates
have,” he said.
Tancabel believes each of the three finalists would bring his or her own
strengths to the position.
He liked how Tressel talked about the importance of the relationship between
YSU and the Mahoning Valley and the need to develop ways to allow commuter
students to feel more ownership of the university.
Tancabel plans to attend the sessions for the other two finalists as well.
“I haven’t settled on any one candidate just yet,” he said.
Kurt Hess and Torrian Pace, both fifth-year seniors at Youngstown State
University and both football players, support Tressel as the next YSU
They were among a group of students this morning who met and asked questions
of the presidential finalist this morning.
“I’ve met him a couple of times before and he’s so humble,” said Hess, a
native of Dayton.
Pace, who is from Chantilly, Va., likes how during Tressel’s coaching days,
he instructed his players in not only how to be successful on the field but
also in life.
Tressel began his campus visit today with an early morning meeting with the
A meeting with the deans followed and meetings with union representatives
and the administrative team are planned as well as a campus tour and a tour
of the Pollock House, the university-owned presidential residence before a 2
p.m. forum with the campus community in the first-floor meeting room in Tod
3 months of Dunn/YSU Prez/Tressel coverage here
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Monday, 1:05 a.m.
Ex-coach to participate in campus forum today
By Denise Dick
One of the city’s favorite sons returns to the campus where he spent 15
seasons as a football coach to make his play to become president of
Youngstown State University.
Jim Tressel, former head football coach at both YSU and Ohio State and now
executive vice president for student success at the University of Akron, is
one of three finalists for the YSU presidency. He’ll spend today on campus,
meeting with deans, faculty and the executive team before a 2 p.m. forum for
the campus community. The visit will conclude with a dinner with university
“We’ll go more in depth with them on their vision for the university and see
whether their past experience will be helpful to YSU or not,” said Dr.
Sudershan Garg, chairman of the YSU trustees.
The other two 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 campus Tuesday and
During the forums, attendees will be able to complete surveys offering
feedback about the candidates. Garg said trustees will review those surveys
and take the input into consideration, but ultimately the board will make
The board plans to meet Thursday, likely in executive session.
“I think there will be some decision made, but a decision doesn’t mean we’ll
have a president in place,” he said.
Trustees will give their choices in order to AGB Search, the firm that led
the presidential search.
“The search firm will talk with the candidate to see whether he or she is
still interested,” Garg said. “If he or she is still interested and YSU is
his or her choice, we’ll work out a contract. Only after a contract is
worked out will we make an announcement.”
He said terms of the contract will be similar to those in the contract with
former President Randy J. Dunn, who resigned in March after eight months on
the job to become president of Southern Illinois University.
“There will be a few areas that will be re-looked at in light of what
happened,” he said. “We don’t want what happened to happen again. There
should be some penalty for the president to leave without cause before a
certain amount of time.”
Tressel also is a finalist for the University of Akron presidency and gave
his pitch there last week, talking about the need to work together and to
increase recruitment, bolster retention and reduce student debt.
Trustees from both universities expect to select presidents this month. UA
President Luis Proenza is retiring June 30 to return to the classroom. Ikram
Khawaja, YSU’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, retires June
- Khawaja was appointed YSU’s interim president after Dunn’s resignation.
Miller is among the five candidates being considered for the presidency of
SUNY Buffalo State in New York. Cullinan, along with two other SOU
administrators, received no-confidence votes from faculty members in March.