Tressel will do whatever he wants to do
For some strange reason there are people in this area who just can’t keep their noses out of someone else’s business.
The groundswell of support among community leaders who have called on Youngstown State University to hire Jim Tressel as its next president is a perfect example. It seems that everyone is an expert in the process of higher education, including many who have never taught a class in their lives.
There’s more to it than simply wanting what’s best for YSU. Tressel commands respect in this area like few people because of successes as the football coach at YSU and Ohio State. You have to wonder if it’s his celebrity status that has so many people buzzing.
It’s like teenage girls at a concert of The Beatles, minus the screaming hysterics. Maybe there’s a belief that Tressel might one day coach the Penguins again and return the program to its glory days when he roamed the sidelines at Stambaugh Stadium from 1986-2000.
There’s a certain self-serving aspect to it all. What better person to snuggle up to for a politician seeking public approval than a legendary football coach, and since Woody Hayes isn’t available, Tressel is the man.
Most people don’t know for sure if Tressel, who’s currently vice president of strategic development at the University of Akron, has any desire to be a university president. Maybe his long-term goals are to play golf, work the garden and take long strolls along the beach.
There’s a reason why Tressel wore sweater vests during games. He didn’t want to waste time rolling up his sleeves to get the job done – he simply did away with the sleeves.
That was Tressel the football coach. He was at home in front of 100,000 fans on autumn Saturday afternoons making sense out of the mass of humanity that surrounded him. He was in his element, free from pencil pushers and bean counters and all the other aspects of a university president’s job that don’t allow a person to roll up his sleeves.
It’s hard to imagine Tressel being comfortable in that setting, especially now that we know he would have gladly interviewed for the recent coaching opening for the Cleveland Browns. Ivory Tower staff meetings are likely boring events filled with slide shows that work quicker than melatonin to fall asleep. Tressel is better suited for meetings that involve the flow of Xs and Os and end in the wee hours of the morning surrounded by empty pizza boxes and crumpled up water bottles.
For anyone to push for the hiring of Tressel as president isn’t fair to Tressel. It’s reminiscent of a parent shoving a son or daughter into his or her chosen profession. What you end up with is a lawyer who would rather be any place other than a court room.
The tea leaves indicate that a final chapter is still to be written in Tressel’s coaching career, which can’t begin again in the NCAA until a five-year, show-cause ban ends after the 2016 season. He’ll be 64 then, hardly an age that would include him in the game-has-passed-him-by category.
Tressel might ultimately be an effective president. His return to Youngstown would definitely smooth feathers that were ruffled among the YSU board of trustees after the announcement by current president Dr. Randy Dunn of his impending departure to accept the same role at Southern Illinois University.
The decision should be Tressel’s alone and should come without a bunch of names signed on a petition. This isn’t the potential of a rock star returning to the area, although the infatuation of some makes it seem that Tressel is more Mick Jagger than Paul Brown.
Tressel is a big boy. He’ll do what’s best for him and his family.
My only advice if he is named president is to not wear bow ties to the office.