Jim Tressel got his first big assistant coaching job at the University of Akron while he earned his Master's degree here; now the journey comes full circle.
Tressel will not be on the football sidelines, at least not in an official capacity, however. The longtime coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, who resigned in the wake of the tattoo scandal that sidelined the best players for nearly half the season and sent their star quarterback to the pro ranks early, will be back on the Akron campus as vice president of strategic engagement.
Unlike his appearance as OSU's head football coach, Tressel didn't wear a vest for today's announcement. Instead, he wore a blue jacket and yellow tie -- more in keeping with the University of Akron's school color scheme.
Tressel describes his new job as a coaching position that focuses on education and student success.
"Coaching is not out of my blood. Just like coaching is serving, teaching is serving and administrating is serving. So, that's not out of my blood," said Tressel.
Tressel will help the university identify and support strategies and efforts to promote student success. He will also collaborate and partner with community organizations that will impact students.
Football programs at universities and colleges across the nation who may have been interested in Tressel for his football strategic prowess may have been nervous over engagement in a different venue, with the NCAA, if they hired Tressel for their athletic programs.
The move by the University of Akron appears to avoid those issues by focusing Tressel's efforts on working with various groups, including students, alumni, and stakeholders.
When asked what legacy he would like to leave in Akron, Tressel says he just wants to show people how much he cares about education and student success.
"The legacy I would like to leave is that we truly cared about every student and that the University of Akron is a place of opportunity," said Tressel.
After approval from the Board of Trustees, Tressel will begin working on campus in May with a starting salary of $200,000.