Tressel reflects on how timing paid off
By GREG GULAS
For Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel, everything has been about timing. Maybe that’s why he was speaking to Curbstone Coaches on Presidents’ Day at Avion Banquet Center.
From his playing days for his father at Baldwin-Wallace College, to his coaching days to his current position, timing has been of utmost importance.
“Timing is important,” Tressel said Monday. “It really is important when you think about any great teams or great things that happen. Usually there’s a lot of hard work, preparation, skill and so forth put into it, but usually the timing was right.”
He said the timing could not have been better when he first arrived on the YSU campus in the mid-1980s.
“I think back to when we came here in 1986, the timing was right,” Tressel said. “Stambaugh Stadium was just built, Black Monday was now nine years gone and we were kind of deciding that the university was going to be a really important part of the resurgence of the Mahoning Valley, so the timing was good.”
His timing was just as impeccable when he arrived in Columbus in 2001 as Ohio State University’s head football coach.
“[Ohio State] had just gotten done with a $230 million renovation of Ohio Stadium and it was a good time to get there,” Tressel said. “The talent in the state of Ohio was really at an all-time high and over the next year or two from a recruiting standpoint, you had the opportunity to make a difference there.”
Timing for his 2014 return to YSU was just as impeccable.
“When we came back here, once again the timing was good,” Tressel said. “What’s happened downtown is extraordinary.
“The YSU Foundation, led by Paul McFadden, is outstanding. When you take the 70-some universities in the state of Ohio, I think his foundation is ranked either 10th or 11th best in their endowment.
“They’re fifth or sixth amongst public schools,” Tressel said. “For a school our size, to have a foundation like we have and all of the things happening downtown, I’ve been really lucky from a timing standpoint everywhere we’ve been.”
Tressel added that the YSU Foundation provides $8.1 million a year for students, growing from 14 individual scholarship endowments in 1966 to currently more than 800 a mere 52 years later.
“Our scholarship endowments are fabulous,” Tressel said. “If it weren’t for scholarships, our young people wouldn’t have some of the opportunities they are currently experiencing. We could not have the place that we have without the foundation.”
Over the next month or so, Tressel will anxiously await news from the state on where they decide to invest their Capital Budget Bill dollars.
YSU hopes to secure a U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant while providing a 35,000 word assurance argument as part of their accreditation process.
The process is done every 10 years to assure that the university is following compliance, federal regulations and simply doing things properly as an institution of higher learning.
Tressel lauded the excitement and leadership of YSU’s more than 400 student-athletes.
“Our student-athletes take part in a variety of community service projects and are great ambassadors of the University,” he said.
Additional facilities remain in the discussion phase.
Construction on the Don Constantini Media Center, located on the East side of Stambaugh Stadium, will begin in the fall while a big bubble tennis center and baseball field continue to draw attention.