Jim Tressel might still be plotting a return to coaching when his NCAA-imposed show cause penalty expires in December 2016. But he's also not twiddling his thumbs when it comes to his possible career in academic administration, either.
Already one of 19 candidates to become the next president of the University of Akron, Tressel has also applied for the vacant presidency at Youngstown State University, a YSU official confirmed to TV station WFMJ on Friday.
"I am respectful of the presidential search process underway at both Youngstown State University and The University of Akron," Tressel said in a statement issued through Youngstown State to WFMJ. "Both University communities are a very meaningful part of my professional history. I feel grateful that people from both University communities have expressed interest in my application. I believe it's appropriate that I not comment any further during this part of the process."
Tressel served as Youngstown State's head coach for 15 seasons between 1986 and 2000, and in 2007 made a substantial donation to help build the Watson and Tressel Training Site, an indoor practice facility.
So it's no surprise that given Tressel's history with the school, stature within the state of Ohio, and current availability that he would have some measure of popular support for the position. As documented nicely here by Land-Grant Holy Land, state representative Tim Ryan has spearheaded an effort to have Tressel named the YSU president, both when the presidency was open last year and again after Randy Dunn's surprising resignation to become president of Southern Illinois.
Tressel currently serves as the executive vice president for student success at Akron.
Despite Tressel's profile within Ohio and his vast potential as a fund-rasier, it still seems quite a long shot for any candidate with as little academic background as Tressel to become a university president. (He is, for instance, the only candidate for the Akron position without a doctorate.) There's also the little matter of whether Tressel will return to coaching (as many expect him to) in three seasons' time.
But hey, it's Jim Tressel, in Ohio; we wouldn't exactly count him out.