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Strategic Vest: Jim Tressel accepts job as Akron’s vice president of strategic engagement

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Former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel was introduced Thursday by University of Akron President Luis Proenza as the school’s new vice president of strategic engagement. Reaction from OSU students regarding Tressel’s new job is mixed.  

Just days removed from an unsuccessful run at the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts’ head coaching job, Tressel will begin his new role at Akron on May 1, 29 days shy of the one-year anniversary of his forced resignation at OSU.

Tressel, who began his coaching career as an undergraduate assistant at Akron, will earn $200,000 annually in his new role at Akron. The position is a newly created one at the university. 

“That Akron experience is something I look forward to sinking my teeth into,” Tressel said at the Thursday press conference at Akron.

In his job, Tressel will “identify, recommend and support strategies and efforts that promote success in all facets of student life, including alumni and friend engagement, and collaborations and partnerships with community organizations that have an influence and impact on UA students and their futures,” according to the university’s website. 

“Jim has touched thousands of lives in positive ways,” said Proenza. “He has incredible energy and demonstrates leadership, passion and compassion for students. We feel fortunate that he has decided to bring that dedication here to the University of Akron. Our students will be the beneficiaries.”

In Tressel’s final game coaching the Buckeyes, he led the team to a 31-26 victory against Arkansas in the 2011 Sugar Bowl in the Louisiana Superdome. That game, along with the entire 2010 season, was later vacated by OSU as part of its self-imposed penalties for violating NCAA policies. Tressel’s decade-long reign at OSU ended when he was forced to resign from his post with the Buckeyes on May 30.

On Dec. 19, Tressel was issued a five-year show cause penalty by the NCAA for not properly reporting NCAA rules violations that he was aware of during the Buckeyes’ 2010 season. The show cause would result in penalties for any member institution that hired him as a coach.

Tressel remains one of the most successful coaches in OSU football history, having led the team to a national championship in 2002, a 94-21 overall record and an 8-1 record against rival Michigan.

Dmitri Dulgov, a first-year in biology at OSU said he was shocked that Akron hired Tressel.

“He lied to college football’s face,” Dulgov said, “and he put our university in a bad position.”

Travis Tray, a third-year in communications, said the arrival of new Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer makes Tressel‘s return to a college campus tolerable. 

“It’s a good position for (Tressel),” Tray said. “I’m over the whole situation — we have the best coach in the nation now.” 

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