Sharing the secrets of successful coaching and leadership


Two of the “winningest coaches” in college sports history are team-teaching a course at The University of Akron.  Jim Tressel, now UA’s Vice President for Student Success, and former Walsh University and UA football coach Jim Dennison, will offer exclusive insight into the “General Principles of Coaching.”  Open to UA students and the general public, the course will be taught on main campus and through real-time long-distance learning at several university locations (including Lakewood, Medina, Wayne, MidPoint in Brunswick, and Holmes). 

According to Victor Pinheiro, professor and department chair, this course is vital for students who want to become coaches and current coaches who want to become more effective.  “There are many high school coaches who need to advance their education, and accumulate more credits to an advanced degree,” says Dr. Pinheiro.  “The principles taught in this class will help them become more productive, more effective and more confident.  Every coach has a different leadership style, but their ultimate job is to teach the science and the art of the sport and prepare student athletes for competition, pressure and good citizenship.” 

Jim Tressel and Jim Dennison are a special pairing.  Dennison was the head football coach at the University of Akron when Jim Tressel applied for his first coaching job in 1974.  “He gave me my first opportunity to coach, and he provided guidance that has lasted me a lifetime.”  Tressel believes that Coach Dennison “has a unique ability to motivate” applicable to any sport, and the two now-former coaches will share their experiences in subject areas like:

  • Setting goals and visualizing success
  • Starting a program from scratch
  • Incentive/award systems
  • Team building, leadership and decision-making
  • Handling and motivating the modern athlete

The three-credit course is a requirement for undergraduates in the department of Sport Science and Wellness Education in the College of Education at UA, though the course is open to undergraduate and graduate students, and members of the public who want to advance their skills.  Classes will be held Wednesday evenings from 6:40pm to 9:10pm during Fall 2013 Semester, beginning August 28th.   For more information, and to register for class, go to or contact Deanne Reynolds at 330-972-6679.

Jim Dennison retired last year from coaching, and as Associate Athletic Director at Walsh University. Dennison had spent 31 years on the sidelines and 53 as a coach and administrator. Dennison spent 13 years at the University of Akron as head coach (1973-85), where he is still the all-time winningest coach (80-62-2).  Jim Tressel spent four decades coaching at Ohio State, Youngstown State, Miami University, Syracuse University and the University of Akron before taking on a senior leadership role at UA last year. 

According to Vice President Tressel, the “game plan” for the semester includes “many of our outstanding UA coaches as guest lecturers, as well as perhaps the most successful coach in college football history, Larry Kehres of Mount Union University.”

Media contact: Eileen Korey, 330-972-8589 or 


The University of Akron

Jim Tressel, left, and Jim Dennison