AKRON– During his years as head football coach at Youngstown State University and at the Ohio State University, Jim Tressel seemed to almost always be in contention for a national championship.
At YSU, Tressel lead the team to four NCAA Division I-AA Football Championships; and one national title at OSU.
Now a vice president at the University of Akron, Tressel is about to team up with the Zips winningest football coach to share their wealth of experience in a classroom.
Beginning August 28, Tressel will begin teaching a course at the University of Akron called ‘General Principles of Coaching.’
The course includes sessions on staff organization, goal-setting, steps to building a program, incentive rewards systems, team building and more.
“When I saw the principles of coaching class, I had always taught that at Youngstown State and Ohio State, and thought, wouldn’t it be fun to teach that here at the University of Akron and get with me the guy who got me started in coaching, Jim Dennison, who gave me my first opportunity,”said Tressel.
The class will be designed to help make people better coaches, but Tressel said it will have applications well beyond athletics.
“There really won’t be any Xs and Os because every sport is different with their Xs and Os,” explained Tressel.
“It will all be about helping your student, your student athlete succeed both in the field of play but outside the field of play. And, how do you build a team which in my mind the science of building a team can transcend into anything that these students are going to do in their life,” he added.
Along with Tressel and Dennison, the class is scheduled to include guest lecturers that include University of Akron Head Basketball Coach Keith Dambrot, fresh off of an NCAA Tournament appearance.
“Especially the higher the level you go, everybody is playing with similar players so you have to be able to get them to play better together; make them understand team chemistry, understand what it takes to win; recruit winning players, guys that care about winning. It becomes more psychological now than physical to coach at this level,” said Dambrot.
Current University of Akron Head Football Coach Terry Bowden will also speak.
“When I was born, my dad was a head coach in college and now the winningest head coach. My brother is head coach at Clemson and my other brother- a coordinator at Florida State, so we carry an accumulated amount of football knowledge and coaching knowledge and it has been handed to us over many many, many years. At this point in my life, that’s kind of a mission a little bit is to relay that to my younger coaches and other coaches or people that want to be coaches and I think that’s what Jim Dennison and Jim Tressel feel with this class they are doing,” said Bowden.
“I think when you have had a lot of experiences you have done a lot of things that worked and have done some things that didn’t work,” added Tressel.
“You have had a lot of different students that have had a lot of different situations that you have helped them confront so with experience you would like to think comes some wisdom and I know Coach Dennison will be able to share a great deal. I hope I will do the same,” said Tressel.
For students who hope to one day become coaches or involve themselves in the business of athletics, the course seems to be a rare opportunity.
“I know a lot of people want to know how to get into coaching and how to stay in coaching and just knowing that they have done it for so many years, that would be a great wealth of experience and a lot of information to gather,” said Akron wide receiver, Jerrod Dillard.
“All of those guys have been in situations and things most young kids like myself can only dream of, so just sitting in there and listening to what they have to say would be beneficial to anyone,” added Zips wide reciever, Zack D’Orazio.
“The personal experience would definitely go a lot longer than a textbook could ever teach you,” said Akron track team sprinter, Mycah Mason.
“Teaching is what I was trained to do. I was an education major; got my masters in education here at the University of Akron,” concluded Tressel.
“It is what I like best. I enjoy being with young people and older people that are out there coaching and see if I can help them have fun with it and make a difference in people’s lives.”