Tressel, 59, is not permitted to have any direct involvement with the school's athletic department, one of the conditions of the five-year, show-cause sanction he was given by the NCAA following its investigation into the Ohio State mess.
NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn confirmed Tressel will not be allowed to have contact with recruits if he is not a "countable coach."
However, Tressel's name alone is sure to give Akron, with an enrollment of 29,000 and plans to grow to 40,000 students, a major boost in name recognition and his presence will certainly help in recruiting athletes and other students.
"It's exciting," Dan Cooper, a 20-year-old senior from Wadsworth, Ohio said as he browsed his Twitter and Facebook accounts while taking a break in the student union. "He's a big famous name and I think he's going to bring a lot of positive attention to Akron despite all the negative things that happened the last few months at Ohio State.
"Everyone is excited around campus right now."
Tressel earned his master's degree at the school in 1977.
"Life is about who you are and who you are with," he said. "It's always important where you can come back to the place that gave you your first chance."
Akron president Luis M. Proenza said he had no misgiving about his decision to hire Tressel, who remains popular in his home state.
"Look at the man. Look at what he has done," Proenza said. "Look at the thousands of lives he has impacted. We knew that was the asset. The opportunity. And we wanted that to be available. There was no question in my mind that for the university, for the community, for Northeast Ohio, for the 30,000 students at Akron, this will make a difference."