‘Dream Job’ clause needed at YSU

There are several elements of this news event that I want to believe.

First, I want to believe that Dr. Randy Dunn would not have even allowed himself to be recruited by any other university than Southern Illinois. Second, I want to believe that the Youngstown State University Board of Trustees was completely caught off guard by secretive actions of Southern Illinois regarding Dr. Dunn.

If those two are true, then I have a suggestion for the legal minds who engage in contract writing for Youngstown State: add a clause about dream jobs.

This is not the first time that YSU has ranked second as an employee’s preferred job. After more than a decade of service and four national championships, Coach Jim Tressel left the Penguins for The Ohio State University. In the Mahoning Valley we not only understood that decision, we applauded it. And, truly, the coach’s fame has often brought good publicity to our university and our region.

Additionally, Tressel and his family have been major contributors to the YSU campus.

As I recall, Tressel had been publicly recruited by Miami (of Florida) during his time at YSU, but he only left the ”Ice Castle” for the ”Shoe” because that was his dream job. Furthermore, like Dunn, Tressel had spent time at the institution that sought him. The Buckeyes were his dream job, and Dunn must have similar visions about the Salukis.

Therefore, I propose a ”dream job” clause. The candidate for any highly visible position declares in writing the name of the position that could lure her or him from YSU. That then becomes the only job that the candidate can take prior to the end of a contract.

The penalties are obvious: first, the candidate pays the cost of the search for a replacement. At YSU, the search that culminated in Dunn’s hiring cost more than $100,000. Second, the candidate must disclose if and when any other institutions are seeking her or his services or lose any pay from the time of the first overture.

In answering reporters’ questions, Dunn emphasized that his decision is not a reflection on YSU’s situation, and he acknowledged that even speculation about other reasons could cast a shadow on the campus.

Despite his hopes and the Board of Trustees’ desires, this situation will not have the positive aspect derived from Tressel’s move at the start of this millennium.

Already, some of the caustic commentators of the community, protected by the anonymity of screen names, have penned very vituperative online castigations aimed at Dunn and the board of trustees. Certainly, this episode, though unfortunate, does not rise to the level of vendetta, which some of these unknown scribes seem to suggest.

Unlike Tressel, I doubt that Dunn will give us any endowments in the future. Yes, his yearly salary at SIU will be $50,000 more than what he would have earned at YSU. Yet, that is not comparable to the monetary perks that Tressel was afforded in moving from what is currently called the FCS to the FBS.

In doing some research for this piece, I was reminded that Tressel’s name had been mentioned as a candidate for the YSU presidency a year and a half ago when former President Dr. Cynthia Anderson made her decision to retire. Currently, some prominent people have drafted a letter urging the trustees to offer the job to Tressel now.

Did the writers of that letter forget the headlines of the past month? Wasn’t it in the midst of the Browns’ search that Tressel’s desire to return to the sidelines made national news? Would he want to be stuck behind a microphone in a boardroom when he really only wants a microphone attached to a headset?

I do not think so. And even if we hired Tressel to be the next president of our university, would we be upset in a few years if Ohio State beckons him to replace Dr. Michael Drake, and he tells us it’s his ”dream job?”

Williams is a Hubbard resident.