Tressel, who earned a master's degree from Akron in 1977, was hired as vice president of strategic engagement. The position is to improve student life at the school and promote community outreach.
He will have no role in the Akron Athletic Department, however. He is to be paid $200,000 a year and takes the position in May.
"I have great memories of my time at UA and, more importantly, I feel a real sense of family when I'm on this campus," Tressel said. "I'm looking forward to being part of the spirit of innovation that drives the University of Akron."
Tressel began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Akron. After a series of assistant coaching assignment, in 1986 he became the head coach at Youngstown State, where he stayed until moving to Ohio State in 2001.
He had a very successful career at Ohio State, going 94-22 even with 11 wins in 2010 vacated. He resigned in May 2011 while the NCAA was investigating the programs for a series of rules violations.
Part of the penalties from the NCAA include a five-year "show-cause" clause, forcing a school who hires Tressel in a sport-related capacity to give a reason it shouldn't be sanctioned.