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Tressel said he'd take less money for YSU presidency

Published: Mon, May 12, 2014 @ 7:50 p.m.


Jim Tressel, newly chosen ninth president of Youngstown State University, will be paid $300,000 to start, under terms of a contract signed Monday night.

His three-year contract begins July 1. Tressel will earn $300,000 the first two years with third year salary undetermined, the university announced.

YSU will pay reasonable relocation costs. Tressel will also get a car and housing in the Pollock House.

The former YSU and Ohio State University head coach said he was offered more money by YSU but declined.

He is coming to YSU after former president, Randy Dunn, left after eight months on the job to become president at Southern Illinois University. Tressel’s salary is less than Dunn and Dunn’s predecessor Cynthia Anderson.

If Tressel terminates the contract within a year, he’ll pay $200,000; he’ll pay $175,000 if he terminates within two, and $150,000 if he leaves within three years.

A special YSU Board of Trustees’ meeting brought closed-door discussion on the terms of the president’s new contract, then Tressel and his wife, Ellen, joined an open meeting. Members of faculty, staff and administration and some students were among attendees.

Tressel and YSU Board Chairman Sudershan K. Garg then signed the contract, shaking hands — with the board chairman welcoming the Tressels “home to YSU.” He introduced his wife and then his in-laws, Frank and Norma Watson.

“Ellen and I know how lucky we are. We know we have a lot to prove,” Tressel said. “It’s up to us to make a tremendous impact on this region,” he said of the university at large.

“Each one of us is insignificant without each other,” he said. “With tradition comes responsibility.”

Citing an “amazing outpouring of encouragement,” he said it took him seven hours to return all of the texts he’d received.

He said he thought about the late Carmine Cassese from MVR, and the importance of people, on his visit last week to campus. Cassese died last July. As the third generation Cassese to serve Youngstown, Carmine gradually transformed a small family restaurant in the Smoky Hollow into a destination spot.

Tressel said a mentor of his reminded him of phrase, “Increase excellence,” and it’s an imperative.

At a news conference, Tressel said he’s “blessed” to be back at YSU. He stressed the need collaboration with businesses, schools, the Catholic diocese and non-profit organizations — as well as new leadership at Hiram College, Kent State University and the University of Akron. “Northeast Ohio has been one of the extra-ordinary shining lights of our country,” he said.

He said YSU needs to improve its graduation, retention and placement rate. “That’s the scoreboard,” he said — stressing that student success is “No. 1,” he said.

Tressel also said said he thinks Randy Dunn was doing a great job doing his brief tenure.

He said the university needs to make sure, with fundraising, that YSU is affordable for many students. The No. 1 reason someone selects a university is affordability, he said, noting scholarships can help with that.

At the same time, officials need to address student debt.

Tressel noted that the Valley is moving from an industrial area to a technical one. YSU faculty is engaged with students, he added.

YSU can’t assume state subsidy will go up and needs to come up with ways to make a difference. “We’re going to count on the things that we can do,” Tressel said. “The most important thing we can do in retention is believe it’s every person’s responsibility.”

A public reception was held afterward for the Tressels in the Chestnut Room, a meet-and-greet for his supporters. Many Valley business and political leaders had lobbied university trustees to choose him.

After recommendations from these Valley leaders, YSU’s union leadership and others, Tressel was selected over Mary Cullinan, president and professor of English at Southern Oregon University, and Gary L. Miller, chancellor at University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Tressel was selected by the trustees in a unanimous vote Friday morning. The former head coach for YSU and Ohio State University football teams and current executive vice president of student success at the University of Akron was also in the running for the presidency at Akron, but Scott L. Scarborough was selected as the 16th president there on Thursday.

Scarborough was offered a five-year term on the base salary of $450,000, and he will also receive $80,000 in deferred compensation for housing. Scarborough serves as the provost at the University of Toledo. He will start at UA on July 1.

Tressel declined to say whether he withdrew UA application.

Tressel says his wife will be involved in fundraising at YSU. “I hope we got two darn good presidents,” he said.


1rae(22 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

Jim ( dare I say, President ) Tressel will work harder and smarter than anyone can imagine. He and Ellen, and his in-laws, Frank and Norma Watson, love this Valley and they will spare no effort, leave no rock unturned and will consider every well thought out idea to put and keep YSU on a national stage. Buckle your seats nay sayers ( that includes you, Betram ), success is on its way despite your wishes for the opposite.

Good luck, Jim!!!!! And go YSU!!!!!!!!!!

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2ysuguins99(12 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

Let's keep things in perspective, YSU was not his first choice. If Akron would have offered him the job, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
Secondly, the YSU Trustees just reaffirmed how the rest of the State of Ohio views the Mahoning Valley, as a haven for corruption. Are we saying to the students at YSU that it's OK to lie in your profession? That it's OK to be unethical? The process that brought him here stunk of everything Youngstown; if you hire the guy we want, we'll make big donations, if you don't, then you get nothing. Last time I checked, that's called a bribe.

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3walter_sobchak(1910 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

Published reports in the Plain Dealer and a direct quote from Trustee Harry Meshel is that Akron never had the opportunity to offer the job to Tressel as he was offered the YSU presidency and he withdrew from consideration for the Akron post. And the 'big money donors" are not bribing anyone; it is merely a matter of financial inducement and a fact of life.

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4Seriouslee(100 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

I really don't think it matters much whether or not he chose Youngstown over Akron, but for the record: The Akron Beacon Journal noted that faculty and students at Akron mounted huge opposition to him in the final days of the search there. The reporter asked the chair of the Akron BOT if he told Tressel about this, and he refused to answer the question, so he probably did tell Tressel and this influenced his decision--he can withdraw and look like a hero here not a failed candidate there. As I said, I truthfully don't think that matters and it kind of says a lot about our self image in Youngstown that we think it's a huge deal when someone chooses us over another opportunity. Maybe correcting this perception is where Tressel will prove a good choice.

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5ysuguins99(12 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

I'm sorry, I forgot that there are the standards of ethical behavior that Youngstown subscribes to and then the standards that most of the rest of the world accepts. Under what conditions and circumstances is it OK to lie about things in his new job?

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6ysuguins99(12 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

Why are we continually the community that supports those who do the unacceptable? We re-elect politicians who skate DUI's and public intoxication charges, we honor business leaders who are felons. At what point do we say that we want ethical leadership?

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7boxerlover(124 comments)posted 4 months, 1 week ago

Let he without sin cast the first stone.

He who recognizes the problem, complains about the problem, then b*tches about the problem, but makes no attempt to fix the problem---is the problem.

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