Tressel: Students are our number one mission

Jim and Ellen Tressel

Jim and Ellen Tressel

After the news spread that the YSU Board of Trustees had named Jim Tressel president, the texts and emails flooded Tressel’s inbox. So many, in fact, that it took him nearly an entire weekend to send responses.

“It’s amazing the outpouring of encouragement and excitement,” Tressel said.

During a meeting in Kilcawley Center earlier this week, Trustees and Tressel agreed to key terms of a three-year contract to make Tressel the university’s ninth president.

Tressel, executive vice president for Student Success at the University of Akron and former national championship-winning head football coach at Ohio State and YSU, succeeds Randy J. Dunn, who resigned in March.

“After fully examining each and every candidate and reviewing the input from hundreds of individuals across the campus and the community, the Board of Trustees believes Mr. Tressel is the right individual at the right time to lead Youngstown State University,” said Sudershan K. Garg board chair. “Mr. Tressel has the personality and leadership skills, in addition to widespread community support, to dramatically raise YSU’s profile and prominence across Ohio and the nation.”

At the board meeting, Tressel said he knows how lucky he and his wife, Ellen, are to be back at YSU.

Interim President Ikram Khawaja and President-designee Jim Tressel at a campus reception earlier this week.

Interim President Ikram Khawaja and President-designee Jim Tressel at a campus reception earlier this week.

“We know we have a lot to prove,” he said. “We know we owe a lot to the students and the faculty and staff and the entire community, and I can assure you that we’ll work extremely hard.

“We understand that students are our number one mission, helping them to reach their dreams and hopes, getting them ready to compete in this world. We also know that we’re counted upon to discover knowledge, to be a part of the renaissance (of Youngstown) and the Tech Belt and all of the things that are going on, with us at the center of them. We know that’s an expectation. We also know that it’s up to us to make a tremendous impact on this region. All the way from pre-K up to PhD programs, that we make an impact.”

Collaboration, he said, will be a key for success.

“As soon as we understand that each one of us individually is insignificant without every other person, we can collaborate, we can make a difference for each other and we can reach out and make everyone’s world better.”

Tressel joined the administration of the University of Akron in May 2012, where he was charged with restructuring and leading the efforts of a newly created division dedicated to the academic and career success of students.

He previously was head football coach at Ohio State between 2001 and 2010, where his teams won the national championship in 2002. As head football coach at YSU from 1986 to 2000, Tressel’s teams won four Division I-AA national championships. He also was executive director of Athletics at YSU from 1994 to 2000.

Read more coverage of Tressel’s appointment on the YSU News Center at

View the Board of Trustees meetings and Tressel’s remarks at

Watch the news conference that followed the meeting at