Jim Tressel, President of Youngstown State University and Head Football Coach (2001–2010) at The Ohio State University

Tressel’s appreciation for educators is apparent. “I think that the two greatest servants in one’s life are their parents and their teachers–and I’d also like to add their coaches. Parents become parents because they want to raise or serve their family. Teachers become teachers because they want to spend their lives serving young people. I don’t know if anyone else has made that decision to serve you. To me, there is no one more impactful.”

Jim Tressel, former Ohio State football coach and current VP at The University of Akron, has an extraordinary appreciation for educators. “I find it very difficult to pick a favorite teacher because I had so many that impacted me. Identifying a favorite is impossible to do.” Tressel remembers the teachers throughout his education who had a particular impact on him.

Tressel started his school career with a special kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Daffin. “For many years receiving a Christmas card from her showed that she still cared about me. Mrs. Daffin kept track of my career and made it a point to reach out.”

In elementary school, Tressel had two teachers—his fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Uhinck, and sixth grade teacher, Miss Montgomery—whom he credits for building his strong work ethic. “Those two raised my level of doing the tough things so the other students and I would have a strong foundation going into junior high.”

During Tressel’s senior year in high school, his teacher, Ms. Haskin, challenged him to take risks. “She was also the play director and convinced me to be in the spring play. She really pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I appreciated her for that.”

“The status of the teacher in our home was probably more important than the mayor or police chief of our neighborhood. I have great reverence and appreciation for the teacher. Teachers have always been important, but at no time in our history have they been as important as they are right now.”