AKRON, OHIO (AP) - Through it all, Jim Tressel never lost his charm.
As he worked the room the way he did for a decade as Ohio State’s coach, delighting students and faculty members, school trustees and Akron’s president with stories of past successes and plans for the future, Tressel felt like he had come back home.
“This,” he said, “is a second chance.”
Tressel is back on campus. He’s starting over where he began.
Tressel, forced to resign in disgrace last May amid a cash-for-tattoos scandal at Ohio State that toppled the football powerhouse, was introduced Thursday as Akron’s new vice president of strategic engagement, _ a position created just for him.
Tressel, who started his coaching career as an undergraduate assistant for the Zips in 1975, will earn a base salary of $200,000 per year, more than $3 million less than he made during the last of 10 years guiding the Buckeyes. Tressel will begin his new job on May 1.
“I feel fortunate that I got this opportunity,” Tressel said following a packed news conference on campus unlike any in the school’s history. “It’s going to be a fun one.”
In his new position, Tressel, who said he has no interest in coaching in the NFL, will work with Akron’s students, alumni and community organizations on a variety of issues. Although he’s not officially on the clock, Tressel met with student leaders before the news conference, telling them he was committed to using his Northeast Ohio connections to build relationships between the school and community.
“The first thing I’ve got to do is listen and learn,” said Tressel, who helped Akron in its search for a new football coach. “I’m just on the team.”
Tressel, 59, is not permitted to have any direct involvement with the school’s athletic department, one of the conditions of the five-year, show-cause sanction he was given by the NCAA following its investigation into the Ohio State mess.
However, Tressel’s name alone is sure to give Akron, with an enrollment of 29,000 and plans to grow to 40,000 students, a major boost in name recognition and his presence will certainly help in recruiting athletes and other students.
“It’s exciting,” Dan Cooper, a 20-year-old senior from Wadsworth, Ohio said as he browsed his Twitter and Facebook accounts while taking a break in the student union. “He’s a big famous name and I think he’s going to bring a lot of positive attention to Akron despite all the negative things that happened the last few months at Ohio State.
“Everyone is excited around campus right now.”
Tressel earned his master’s degree at the school in 1977.View Entire Story
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