AKRON, Ohio -- Through it all, Jim Tressel never lost his charm.
As he worked the room the way he did for a decade as Ohio State's coach, delighting students and faculty members, school trustees and Akron's president with stories of past successes and plans for the future, Tressel felt like he had come back home.
"This," he said, "is a second chance."
Tressel is back on campus. He's starting over where he began.
Tressel, forced to resign in disgrace last May amid a cash-for-tattoos scandal at Ohio State that toppled the football powerhouse, was introduced Thursday as Akron's new vice president of strategic engagement, -- a position created just for him.
Tressel, who started his coaching career as an undergraduate assistant for the Zips in 1975, will earn a base salary of $200,000 per year, more than $3 million less than he made during the last of 10 years guiding the Buckeyes. Tressel will begin his new job on May 1.
"I feel fortunate that I got this opportunity," Tressel said following a packed news conference on campus unlike any in the school's history. "It's going to be a fun one."
In his new position, Tressel, who said he has no interest in coaching in the NFL, will work with Akron's students, alumni and community organizations on a variety of issues. Although he's not officially on the clock, Tressel met with student leaders before the news conference, telling them he was committed to using his Northeast Ohio connections to build relationships between the school and community.
"The first thing I've got to do is listen and learn," said Tressel, who helped Akron in its search for a new football coach. "I'm just on the team."