Tressel to speak at?OUE May 17

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Jim Tressel will forever be known as a former head football coach at The Ohio State University.

However, Belmont County students and families will get the first-hand chance to learn that there’s much more to Tressel than just football.

The Premier Bank & Trust is sponsoring a college readiness event at Ohio University’s Eastern Health and Physical Education Center on Friday, May 17 with Tressel, who is now employed as the Vice President of Strategic Engagement at the University of Akron, serving as the keynote speaker.

The event, which is free of charge, is targeted toward Belmont County students currently in grades 8-10. It will begin at 3:30 p.m. and is expected to last no more than 60 minutes.

“We’ve been trying to find a good way to get our foot in the door with the area schools,” said Premier Bank & Trust Marketing Director Alicia Freeman. “We’re trying to tie together financial planning for college and also just ways to be more prepared for that next step in the kids’ lives.’

It was decided to focus on the junior high and early high school students because they’re probably just now starting to think about colleges and take a closer look at what lies ahead in their futures. The presentation will be beneficial in course selection, preparing for the rigors of college and also to help parents plan for the costs involved.

Along with his coaching career, which ended after the 2010 season, Tressel has authored several books, including “Success is a Journey.” The topics of Tressel’s books deal center around dealing with adversity and success, attitude and discipline.

Tressel, who led the Buckeyes to the 2002 BCS National Championship, serves on the Premier Bank & Trust Board of Directors. Through his job at Akron, he’s been able to get out and speak to students all over the northeast portion of Ohio.

“I’ve heard Coach Tressel speak and he’s really good,” Freeman said. “He’s been talking to a lot of eighth graders and it’s been very successful, so we’re hoping to pattern our program after that.”

Freeman hopes that Premier Bank & Trust is able to do an event for college planning each spring, but she’s not sure of the magnitude.

“We want to help the students get to the next level of education,” Freeman said. “We’re trying to educate students about finances because the state of Ohio has determined that there’s a lack of financial literacy among students. At the same time, we want to make sure we help educate on life in general.”

Information has been sent to all eight schools in Belmont County, and according to Freeman, the idea has been well received by school officials and guidance counselors.

“All of the guidance counselors are doing what they can to reach out to the parents and help share this and why it’s important and why it would be beneficial,” Freeman said.

Those wishing to attend are encouraged to reserve a spot by May 15 by calling 699-4600.

The Premier Bank & Trust, which is headquartered in Canton, has a wealth division, which focuses on brokerage, trust investments, which is located in St. Clairsville.

Staskey can be reached at