Tressel back on campus as Akron vice president

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“Life is about who you are and who you are with,” he said. “It’s always important where you can come back to the place that gave you your first chance.”

Akron president Luis M. Proenza said he had no misgiving about his decision to hire Tressel, who remains popular in his home state.

“Look at the man. Look at what he has done,” Proenza said. “Look at the thousands of lives he has impacted. We knew that was the asset. The opportunity. And we wanted that to be available. There was no question in my mind that for the university, for the community, for Northeast Ohio, for the 30,000 students at Akron, this will make a difference.”

Proenza said Tressel was very helpful in the school’s coaching search, which resulted in the Zips hiring former Auburn coach Terry Bowden.

Since then, Tressel and Proenza remained in contact, discussing the possibility of joining forces.

“Our vision for student success was exceptionally aligned,” Proenza said.

Accompanied to the news conference by his wife, Ellen, Tressel wore a navy blue blazer and gold tie _ Akron’s colors _ with a logo of Zippy, the school’s Kangaroo mascot. Tressel was typically smooth as he answered direct questions regarding his role in Ohio State’s fall.

Tressel said he has no regrets, but he did acknowledge wishing he had handled some things differently.

He has admitted to lying to NCAA investigators about his knowledge of Ohio State players receiving improper benefits. The scandal led to the Buckeyes, who are now coached by Urban Meyer, to a one-year bowl ban and a reduction in scholarships.

“I think you always go back, whether it was a game you coached or a series of things that occurred and you always go back and say here’s what I could have done better,” he said. “In this type thing, working with young people, you can use your experience. Just like we did talking about special teams. If the right guard didn’t block the guy and we had the punt blocked, we wouldn’t have lost the championship.

“You always go back and you probably learn more and can teach better from some of your shortcomings.”

Tressel said since leaving Ohio State that he has finished reading 30 of 100 books he pledged to finish. He also joked that his wife was anxious for him to return to work.

“Ellen wanted me to get out of the house,” he cracked. “I mean, how often can you cut the grass?”

Tressel served as a replay consultant last season for the Indianapolis Colts. He twice met with team owner Jim Irsay about the team’s head coaching position but didn’t get the job, and added that he has no current plans to coach again.

For now, he is committed to Akron.

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