Youngstown State University’s Board of Trustees met Tuesday to develop a primary and back-up list of candidates for the university’s top position. While between eight to ten candidates made up these lists, only one applicant has been confirmed as a finalist — Jim Tressel.
Tressel, former head coach of both YSU and Ohio State University and current vice president of Strategic Engagement at the University of Akron, is also one of three finalists for the president position at Akron.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for me and my family. Both places have meant a great deal to us,” Tressel said. “I’m a northeastern Ohio guy; it’s very flattering and exciting.”
Though he did not explicitly voice a preference, Tressel expressed gratitude that both universities are considering him for the position.
“That is a tough one because I haven’t sat and met with the various constituency groups with either [university],” Tressel said. “I just feel fortunate that I am in the mix, and I look forward to getting the reaction of the people who make those decisions. To me, that is the thrill of competition and the thrill of a wonderful opportunity.”
Although he has never served as a university president, Tressel said he believes he can rise to the occasion.
“I don’t think that anybody could ever say that they are ready for a task that they have never done, but — not unlike the first time I became a head coach, the first time I ever became an athletic director or a vice president — I think I can learn,” he said.
Harry Meshel, member of YSU’s Board of Trustees, positively commented on both Tressel and the other unnamed finalists.
“He’s one of our finalists of the eight,” Meshel said. “I think he’s a great candidate, and we have plenty more in that mix who are pretty strong candidates. It turned out to be a pretty strong group from which we selected.”
Sudershan Garg, the chair of the YSU Board, said the name of all the finalists should be released Thursday, after the continued interest of candidates from the primary list candidate’s continued interest is confirmed. From there, the full Board will hold Skype interviews with available primary candidates on Saturday.
“The search is going along smoothly, and it is fairly expeditious that we have been able to move that far that quick and we are hopeful that we should get somebody by July 1,” Garg said.