WARREN - A group of business, union and community leaders that includes U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan is campaigning the Board of Trustees at Youngstown State University to consider hiring former YSU and The Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel as the school's next president.
''This would be a gigantic move on the part of the YSU Board of Trustees, and certainly it would take YSU to the next level,'' Ryan said. ''We want to collectively let the trustees know there is a lot of community support behind that move.''
Ryan said a letter expressing support for Tressel was delivered to the nine members of the university's board of trustees on Wednesday.
YSU board President Sudershan Garg said a representative of AGB Search has been invited to a meeting today so a committee of the board can ''seek their opinion on how we should proceed'' in the search for a new president.
''They will tell us how to proceed, but we will have a clean procedure and very transparent, so we don't want hanky-panky in between,'' Garg said. ''We had a clean procedure last time, and we'll have a clean procedure this time.''
AGB was the firm used by the school when it replaced retiring president Cynthia Anderson last year with Randy Dunn. Dunn resigned this week just seven months into a three-year contract with YSU to become president at Southern Illinois University.
His resignation is effective Aug. 16, but if YSU names his successor before that, Dunn will leave.
Ryan said he has not spoken with Tressel about the position at YSU.
Tressel could not be reached for comment. Public reports are that Tressel is happy with his position at the University of Akron, where he is an executive vice president.
Thirty-one people signed the letter offering their ''full and unequivocal support'' for Tressel and they hope the board moves ''expeditiously to make this happen.'' Among them are Anthony J. Saadey, owner of Mr. Anthony's Banquet Center in Boardman, and Bruce Zoldan, owner of B.J. Alan Wholesale Fireworks.
''Congressman Ryan called me and I said, 'Absolutely, I would support that,''' Saadey said. ''Jim, he's a great guy. In my opinion, he the common denominator that perfect ties the university to the community.''
Zoldan said the board should avoid the lengthy search process and focus on Tressel, a ''proven winner'' and ''viable candidate'' who would ''immediately give a boost to this community.'' Tressel, Zoldan said, would bring national recognition to YSU and the area, which has been ''substantially damaged'' by Dunn's early exit.
Some of the others who signed the letter are Mike Broderick, CEO of Turning Technologies; Sam Covelli, owner of Covelli Enterprises; Don Crane, president of the Western Reserve Building Trades Council; Tom Humphries, president and CEO of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber; United Auto Workers Local 1112 president Glenn Johnson and UAW 1714 president Robert Morales; and Ron Jaworski, former NFL quarterback who played for YSU.