It is our belief that Jim Tressel wants to coach again. Many in the coaching fraternity told us they thought he would be back in the game as a head coach possibly as early as this winter.
That didn't happen, obviously. But now Tressel's skills are in demand in an entirely different field. Following the sudden departure of president Randy Dunn, Ohio congressman Tim Ryan has urged Youngstown State to fill its vacancy with Tressel.
“As long time supporters of Youngstown State University, we are writing to offer our full and unequivocal support behind Jim Tressel to be the next president of Youngstown State University,” Ryan and others said in the letter to the university’s board of trustees. “We hope that the Board considers moving expeditiously to make this happen.”
Of course, Ryan also threw his support behind Tressel for the Cleveland Browns job only to see that job go to Mike Pettine. This is also not the first Ohio university to have Tressel-for-president rumors surrounding its presidential search. We wrote in August about the possibility of Tressel becoming Akron's president, and as of December Tressel was named the Zips' executive vice president.
The difference here, though, is Tressel's previous relationship with Youngstown State. Before he was Ohio State's national-championship winning coach, Tressel was a four-time national-championship winning coach at Youngstown State. From 1986-2000, Tressel led the Penguins to a 135-57-2 with four national championships and 10 playoff appearances.
There are some road blocks standing between Tressel and the Youngstown State president's office, however. First is his lack of a doctorate, which - beyond being a football coach by trade - would make him an extreme outlier among university presidents. Second is the objections of the Youngstown State faculty. A certain number of college professors are uneasy with athletics to begin with, so the steam coming from their ears with the idea of a football coach serving as their school's chief executive could blow all the way up to Michigan.
And, of course, the greatest hurdle is Tressel's own desire to get back into coaching. We've heard nothing to alter our belief that Tressel would like to coach again as soon as possible, which means Congressman Ryan would be wise to throw his support elsewhere.