Jim Tressel talks about new role at University of Akron

AKRON, Ohio - The man who was once the most recognizable name in Ohio college football starts his new job on another Ohio campus.

Jim Tressel is now the vice president for strategic engagement at the University of Akron.

Tressel talked with ONN's Cristin Severance about making the transition from being a "buckeye" to a "zip."
He said people still call him coach and that's just fine.

"That's something I take as a compliment because I feel like a coach is a teacher that does it 24 hours," said Tressel from his new office at Buchtel Hall.

Jim Tressel won't be on the sidelines at the University of Akron.

"No, I won't get to call any plays or run any practices or blow any whistles. I won't get to come to work in a sweat suit part of the time," he said.

A sweater vest, however, is hanging in his office closet.

"I've got the University of Akron sweater vest right here but as you know it's not a sweater vest kind of day here in Northeast Ohio, it's a little warm," he joked.

The coaching veteran of 37 years is settling in at the University of Akron. His said his main job is student success.

"Creating opportunity's for our students to grow and beyond what they learn in the classroom," he said.

He'll be recruiting, too, but not like he used to. Instead of working with 120 guys he'll have 30,000 students.

"Making sure they understand what we have to offer here. Spending time with the alumni and friends of the University," said Tressel.

Tressel said he believes his broad experience as head coach at The Ohio State University will lend itself to this job.

"I have managed and led. I've had learned lessons about how you work with kids not just in the classroom but outside the classroom."

He's learned tough lessons, too.

Tressel retired from his post at Ohio State after a controversy involving players exchanging memorabilia for tattoos.

"You'll find you'll have to go through adversity but it's how you handle those situations and how you move forward," he said.

Tressel's moving forward in Akron leaving the hard decisions to his his boss, University President Luis Proenza.

"I said this is so much fun. When my phone rings now, I don't get a knot in my stomach that there's a problem because I'm not in charge of someone 24 hours a day. I said, Dr. Proenza, you get nervous when your phone rings. I'm just having fun working with kids."

Tressel also told Severance, he'll also spend a lot of time talking about the University of Akron's "vision 20/20" plan.

The want to raise student population to $40,000, research dollars to over $200 million and gifting to more than $1 billion.

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