Akron Zips football
|Akron Zips football|
|Athletic director||Tom Wistrcill|
|Head coach||Terry Bowden
3rd year, 11–25 (.306)
|Other staff||A.J. Milwee (OC)
Chuck Amato (DC)
|Home stadium||InfoCision Stadium|
|League||NCAA Division I (FBS)|
|Past conferences||Ohio Athletic Conference (1915–36, 1946–65)
Mid-Continent Conference (1978–79)
Ohio Valley Conference (1980–87)
|All-time record||495–513–36 (.491)|
|Postseason bowl record||0–1 (.000)|
Blue and Gold
|Fight song||Akron Blue and Gold|
|Marching band||Ohio's Pride|
|Rivals||Kent State Golden Flashes|
The Akron Zips football (formerly Buchtel College and formerly nicknamed Zippers) team are a college football program representing the University of Akron in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of college football. Terry Bowden is currently the team's head coach. Akron plays its home games on InfoCision Stadium on the campus of the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. The Zips compete in the Mid-American Conference as a member of the East Division.
With a 489–504–36 record, Akron does not rank among the top 50 most victories among NCAA FBS programs. Akron was originally classified as a Small College school in the 1937 season until 1972. Akron received Division II classification in 1973, before becoming a Division I-AA program in 1980 and an Division I-A (now FBS) program in 1987. The Zips were the first team to move from Division I-AA to Division I-A. In 2005, the Zips won the Mid-American Conference championship for the first time in the program's history.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Early History (1891-1914)
- 1.2 Fred Sefton era (1915-1923)
- 1.3 Coleman and Babcock (1924-1926)
- 1.4 Red Blair era (1927-1935)
- 1.5 Jim Aiken era (1936-1938)
- 1.6 Dowler and Douglas (1939-1942)
- 1.7 Baldacci and Houghton (1946-1951)
- 1.8 Kenneth Cochrane era (1951-1952)
- 1.9 Joe McMullen era (1954-1960)
- 1.10 Gordon Larson era (1961-1972)
- 1.11 Jim Dennison era (1973-1985)
- 1.12 Gerry Faust era (1986-1994)
- 1.13 Lee Owens era (1995-2003)
- 1.14 J. D. Brookhart era (2004-2009)
- 1.15 Rob Ianello era (2010-2011)
- 1.16 Terry Bowden era (2012-present)
- 2 Facilities
- 3 Logos and uniforms
- 4 Rivalries
- 5 Results
- 6 Coaches
- 7 Team accomplishments
- 8 Individual accolades
- 9 Hall of Fame inductees
- 10 Zips in professional football
- 11 Future non-conference opponents
- 12 Records
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Early History (1891-1914)
The University of Akron football team was established in 1891 when the team, then called Buchtel College and the mascot as the Zippers, defeated Western Reserve University by a score of 22-6 in Hudson, Ohio. Buchtel went on to finish its first season with a 1–3 record. The following year, Buchtel hired Frank Cook as the school's first ever head coach. Cook lead Buchtel to a 3-4 record during his only season has head coach.
In 1893, the college hired John Heisman to become the football and baseball coach. Heisman lead Buchtel to their first winning season with a 5-2 record in 1893, and then led them to their first undefeated season, albeit a single game season in which they defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes. While at Buchtel, Heisman also helped invent the snap, which is still used in modern day football. The early years for Buchtel saw many coaching changes, as the program went through 9 different coaches in the 22-year span.
Buchtel College changed its name to the University of Akron in 1913.
Fred Sefton era (1915-1923)
Coach Fred Sefton served as the head football coach of the Zippers for nine seasons, from 1915 to 1923, compiling a record of 33–34–4. Sefton's teams posted winning records in five of Sefton's nine seasons, including four of his final five. Sefton resigned as head coach after the 1923 season.
Coleman and Babcock (1924-1926)
Red Blair era (1927-1935)
Red Blair was hired as the team's next head coach after Babcock's departure. In nine seasons at the helm of the Zips, Blair's teams compiled a record of 43–30–5. Blair's 1929 Akron team compiled a record of 9–1. His 1930 team went 7–1 and his 1935 team posted a 6–3 record for the best three years of Blair's tenure. Blair resigned as head coach of the Zips after the 1935 season.
Jim Aiken era (1936-1938)
Jim Aiken was hired as the Zippers' head coach after Blair's resignation. Aiken's three seasons were all winning, as his teams compiled yearly records of 6–2–1, 7–2 and 6–3 for a grand total of 19–7–1. Aiken departed the Zips after the 1938 season to accept the head football coach position at Nevada.
Dowler and Douglas (1939-1942)
Otis Douglas took over the reins of the Akron football program after Dowler and his teams struggled. In two seasons, the Zippers posted a record of 5–10–3 that included a winless 0–7–2 mark in what turned out to be Douglas' final season.
Akron did not field a football team from 1943-1945 due to the events surrounding World War II.
Baldacci and Houghton (1946-1951)
Paul Baldacci was hired as Akron's head coach after the three season hiatus was over. Baldacci served as head coach for two seasons, compiling a record of 7–10 that included yearly records of 5–4 and 2–6.
Akron's on-the-field struggles continued during the tenure of Baldacci's successor, William Houghton, whose tenure produced a 7–27–1 record with no winning seasons or more than two wins in a single season.
Kenneth Cochrane era (1951-1952)
Under head coach Kenneth Cochrane, the Zippers broke out of their slump, posting yearly records of 2–6–1 and 6–3 before Cochrane stepped down to focus on his duties as athletics director at Akron. Cochrane shorted the school's athletic nickname from "Zippers" to "Zips".
Joe McMullen era (1954-1960)
Joe McMullen came to Akron from Washington & Jefferson and achieved moderate success as the Zips head coach. While his teams did compile an overall winning record during McMullen's seven-season tenure (30–28–3), declining records of 4–5 and 1–8 led to his firing after the 1960 season.
Gordon Larson era (1961-1972)
In 1961, the Zips hired Gordon Larson, who had been an assistant coach under Woody Hayes at Ohio State. Larson helped the Zips finish 2nd in the Ohio Athletic Conference 3 times in his first five seasons, going 26-8 in conference play during those five season. In 1966, the Zips left the Ohio Athletic Conference, and became an Independent football program. During its Independence era, the Zips put together the best run in school history, winning 38 games from 1968 to 1971, also going to the 1968 Grantland Rice Bowl. In 12 seasons, Larson had a record of 74-33-5. At the time of his retirement from coach, Larson was the all-time wins leader among head coaches in Akron football history. Larson remained at the university as the athletics director.
Jim Dennison era (1973-1985)
In 1973, the Zips promoted long-time assistant, Jim Dennison to replace the retired Larson. Under Dennison's tutelage, the Zips transitioned from NCAA Division II to Division I-AA and posted a 80–62–2 record that included nine winning seasons in Dennison's thirteen. Despite these successes, Dennison was fired as head coach after the 1985 season.
Gerry Faust era (1986-1994)
In 1985 Akron president, William Muse replaced Dennison with former Notre Dame head coach Gerry Faust. Muse wanted the program to have "instant credibility" during its transition into a 1-A school in 1987. Adams and Muse felt that Faust was more prepared to lead the Zips as they transitioned into a 1-A institution. Faust struggled to get acclimated to the small budget school, struggling to a 25–23–2 start after his first 4 seasons with the Zips. Faust's Zips teams never won more than seven games in one season. Following a 1–10 finish in 1994, he was relieved of his coaching duties and became a fundraiser for the university. Faust's 43 wins placed him 3rd in Akron career wins leaders.
The Zips became the first ever program to transition from 1-AA to 1-A when they made the move in 1987.
Lee Owens era (1995-2003)
Lee Owens, a highly successful high school head football coach, was hired by the Zips as head football coach after Faust's firing. Owens' teams were mediocre at best, with two seven-win seasons (1999 and 2003) and a six-win season (2000), but his overall record was 40–61, which led to his firing by athletics director Mike Thomas after nine seasons.
J. D. Brookhart era (2004-2009)
J. D. Brookhart, previously offensive coordinator at Pittsburgh, became the 25th head coach of Akron on December 15, 2003, the program's third head coach since gaining Division I-A status in 1987. In his second season, he led the Zips to their first Mid-American Conference championship and their first bowl game in school history, the 2005 Motor City Bowl, which they lost, 38-31, to the Memphis. He was fired after the 2009 season, when the Zips went 3–9. Brookhart's final record at Akron is 30–42.
Rob Ianello era (2010-2011)
In December 2009, Akron hired Rob Ianello, previously wide receivers coach at Notre Dame, as the Zips head football coach. He lost his first eleven games as a head coach before getting the victory over Buffalo in the final game of the 2010 season. His only other win as Akron's head football coach was a 36-13 defeat of VMI in 2011. Ianello was fired as Akron's head coach after just two seasons and a dismal 2–22 record.
Terry Bowden era (2012-present)
On December 22, 2011, it was announced North Alabama head coach Terry Bowden, son of legendary coach Bobby Bowden, would be hired as the 27th head football coach of the Akron Zips, and he was formally introduced on December 28, 2011. An Akron assistant coach in 1986 under head coach Gerry Faust, Terry Bowden had achieved fame in the 1990s with a successful six-year stint as the head football coach at Auburn, compiling a record of 47–17–1 that included a twenty-game winning streak. In his first year, Bowden duplicated Ianello's 1–11 record from 2011 in what was dubbed as a rebuilding year.
On September 14, 2013, Bowden lead Akron against the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and came within a few yards of defeating the Wolverines, losing 28-24 after an incomplete pass from the Wolverines' 3-yard line on the final play of the game went out of the back of the end zone. Akron lead at various points during the game: 10-7 in the third quarter after a 28 yard passing touchdown from Kyle Pohl to Zach D'Orazio; and 24-21 in the fourth quarter after a one yard pass from Pohl to Tyrell Goodman.  Bowden's 2013 team showed improvement, compiling a 5–7 record on the season that included snapping the nation's longest road losing streak (28) with a 24-17 victory at Miami (OH). For the signs of improvement shown by the Zips, Akron extended Bowden's contract by two years through 2017.
Rubber Bowl (1940-2008)
The Akron Zips football team played their first game in the stadium on October 5, 1940, getting their first win in the facility November 9 of that year. Prior to playing at the Rubber Bowl, the Zips football teams played at Buchtel Field, a 7,000-seat facility that opened in 1923. The Zips recorded their first sellout in the Rubber Bowl on September 30, 1961. In 1971, the university purchased the stadium for $1 from the city. An artificial surface was installed in 1983, which was replaced with AstroPlay in 2003. The Zips played 324 games at the stadium, which included their first-ever appearance on ESPN in 1986. Other notable games include the highest-scoring game in the stadium's history, a 65–62 victory over Eastern Michigan in 2001, as well as a 65–7 Akron victory over Howard University in 2003. In 2005, the Zips clinched their first Mid-American Conference East Division title and spot in the 2005 MAC Championship Game with a 35–3 win over arch-rival Kent State in that year's Wagon Wheel game. Akron would go on to win the 2005 MAC Championship with a last-second 31–30 win over Northern Illinois at Ford Field in Detroit.
In 2003, the university began exploring the feasibility of building an on-campus stadium to replace the Rubber Bowl, which was in disrepair and several miles away from campus. In 2007, plans were announced for a new stadium, later known as InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field, with work beginning in January 2008 and opening in September 2009. The final Akron Zips football game at the Rubber Bowl took place on November 13, 2008 against the Buffalo Bulls. The game was nationally televised on ESPN and featured the two teams tied for first place in the Mid-American Conference's East Division with identical 5-4 (3-2) records entering the game. Buffalo defeated the Zips 43-40 in four overtimes in front of a crowd of 18,516. For the Zips, it was both the first four-overtime game and the first overtime loss in school history. After the game, a special ceremony with current and former players and coaches was held to honor the 68-year history of the stadium.
InfoCision Stadium - Summa Field (2009-present)
InfoCision Stadium was constructed as part of a building initiative undergone by the University of Akron called the "New Landscape for Learning." The $300 million construction program included the construction and renovations of numerous buildings on campus, including the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences building, an honors complex, a student recreation center, and a student union. The Rubber Bowl, the former home of the Zips football team, was located 6 miles (9.7 km) away of the Akron campus. Due to the high maintenance costs for the facility, the decision was made to construct an on-campus stadium.
To build the new stadium, several dormitories had to be demolished and the properties of local tenants were acquired using eminent domain. In order to house the displaced students, the University spent $22.6 million to purchase Quaker Square, a former Quaker Oats Company oat silo that was converted into a hotel.
The home opener of the 2009 football season marked the first game held in InfoCision Stadium. In it, the Zips defeated Morgan State 41–0. To mark the occasion, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to inaugurate the new stadium. Amongst those who cut the ribbon were Don Plusquellic (Mayor of Akron), Betty Sutton (member of the United States House of Representatives), and Luis Proenza (President of the University of Akron).
Stile Athletics Field House
An indoor training facility used primarily for the football team. It includes a full practice football field, extensive weight room, indoor track and offices for the football program.
Logos and uniforms
In 2002, the University instituted a new athletics logo featuring the kangaroo as well as a custom font for "Akron Zips." The logo replaced the former Akron logo which featured a flying "A". The football program adapted the alternate logo for their helmets which featured an "A" and a profile view of a kangaroo. The first year of the logo change, the football helmets had the alternate logo with a navy colored oval around it. The following year, the navy oval was dropped. Additional changes that also came with the re-branding included the uniforms altered to change the yellow to gold.
Akron's biggest rival is Kent State University, located 10 miles (16 km) from the Akron campus. The two schools first met in 1923 and have played 56 times through the 2013 meeting. Akron went 11–0–1 in the first 12 meetings in the series between 1923 and 1941, with no games played from 1924–27 and 1937–39. Kent State started a 10-game winning streak in 1942 through 1954, though no games were played during the World War II years of 1943–45 when neither school fielded teams. After the 1954 meeting, the rivalry was scrapped due to a lack of competition. It was reinstated in 1972 and has been an annual contest since 1983. In 1992, Akron joined the MAC and the rivalry became a conference game.
Since 1946, the two teams have played for the Wagon Wheel. The story goes that John R. Buchtel was searching for a site to start a new college in 1870 near what is now Kent State University when his wagon became stuck in the mud. The horses pulled the wagon apart and one of the wheels ended up being buried. Buchtel would eventually settle on a site in Akron for Buchtel College. In 1902, while digging for a pipeline in Kent, the wheel was discovered and eventually came into the possession of Kent State dean of men Dr. Raymond Manchester. It was he who suggested in 1945 that the wheel be used as a trophy for the winner of the Kent State-Akron football game.
The Zips have played the Youngstown State University Penguins 35 times in football. They played for the Steel Tire, named for the products that both cities were known for. In 1995, the series was discontinued with Youngstown State holding a 19-14-2 edge.
Top 10 FBS rivals
|Kent State||26||16||10||0||Nov 2, 2013 (W 16-7)|
|Ohio||22||9||13||0||Oct 5, 2013 (L 3-43)|
|Central Michigan||20||6||13||1||Oct 27, 2012 (L 14-35)|
|Miami (OH)||19||5||14||0||Oct 19, 2013 (W 24-17)|
|Bowling Green State||18||6||12||0||Sep 28, 2013 (L 14-31)|
|Eastern Michigan||15||8||7||0||Oct 1, 2011 (L 23-31)|
|Western Michigan||15||3||12||0||Nov 25, 2011 (L 19-68)|
|Temple||14||6||8||0||Sep 10, 2011 (L 3-41)|
|Buffalo||13||9||4||0||Nov 19, 2011 (L 10-51)|
|Northern Illinois||13||5||8||0||(L 20-27)|
|Butchel College (1891–1913)|
|1903||Rev. Alfred Place||0–2|
|1908||Dr. Dwight Bradley||3–4|
|Akron Zips (1914–present)|
|Ohio Athletic Conference (1915–1935)|
|Ohio Athletic Conference (1948–1965)|
|Division II (1974–1980)|
|Mid-Continent Conference (1978–1979)|
|Division I-AA (Ohio Valley Conference) (1980–1986)|
|Division I-A (1987–present)|
|Mid-American Conference (1992–present)|
|1997||Lee Owens||2–9||2–6||6th (East)|
|1998||Lee Owens||4–7||2–6||5th (East)|
|1999||Lee Owens||7–4||5–3||T-3rd (East)|
|2000||Lee Owens||6–5||5–3||T-1st (East)|
|2001||Lee Owens||4–7||4–4||T-4th (East)|
|2002||Lee Owens||4–8||3–5||5th (East)|
|2003||Lee Owens||7–5||5–3||3rd (East)|
|2004||J. D. Brookhart||6–5||6–2||2nd (East)|
|2005||J. D. Brookhart||7–6||5–3||T-1st (East)|
|2006||J. D. Brookhart||5–7||3–5||T-3rd (East)|
|2007||J. D. Brookhart||4–8||3–5||6th (East)|
|2008||J. D. Brookhart||5–7||3–5||T-4th (East)|
|2009||J. D. Brookhart||3–9||2–6||5th (East)|
|2010||Rob Ianello||1–11||1–7||6th (East)|
|2011||Rob Ianello||1–11||0–8||7th (East)|
|Terry Bowden (Mid-American Conference) (2012–present)|
|2012||Terry Bowden||1–11||0–8||7th (East)|
|2013||Terry Bowden||5-7||4-4||4th (East)|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
|†Indicates Bowl Coalition, Bowl Alliance, Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl, or College Football Playoff (CFP) game.
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
Current coaching staff
The Akron Zips have had 27 head coaches throughout the program's history. With 80 victories, Jim Dennison is first overall in the program's history, followed by Gordon K. Larson (74 wins) and Gerry Faust (43).
|University of Akron Zips Head Coaches|
Notable former assistant coaches
The Zips football program has had several assistant coaches who went on to make notable achievements, from longevity in their tenure as collegiate coaches to becoming head coaches at the NCAA FBS level.
|Akron Conference Championships|
|# - denotes Bowl Championship Series representative as conference champion|
Akron has participated in one bowl game in its history, compiling a 0–1 record. Prior to 1987, however, the Zips were not a part of the Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly Division I–A. J. D. Brookhart arrived in 2004 and led the Zips to one bowl game in his six seasons as head coach, an automatic berth in the 2005 Motor City Bowl.
|Akron Bowl Game Appearances|
|† - denotes Bowl Championship Series game|
|* - denotes Consensus All-Americans|
|# - denotes Unanimous All-Americans|
Conference award winners
|Akron Conference Award Winners|
Hall of Fame inductees
College Football Hall of Fame
One Zip have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
University of Akron Varsity “A” Sports Hall of Fame
The following individuals have been inducted into the University of Akron Varsity “A” Sports Hall of Fame for their contributions to the Zips football program:
Zips in professional football
Akron has produced a total of 9 NFL draft selections. The following "Active" and "All-Star" lists account for past and present University of Akron football players that have participated in the National Football League, the Canadian Football League, and the Arena Football League.
Among the numerous Zips that have participated in the NFL, CFL, and AFL, a total of 3 have received all-star recognition by their respective leagues.
NFL draft selections
Future non-conference opponents
|at Penn State
|vs Iowa State
|at Appalachian State
|at Iowa State
|vs Savannah State
|vs Appalachian State
- Consecutive victories
- 11 (1929-30 & 1969-70)
- Margin of Victory
- 62 vs. Western Reserve Acad. (1893)
- Total Offensive Yards
- Points Scored
- Total Punting Yardage
- Career: Andry Graham - 10,693
- Season: Zach Campbell - 3,061 (2010)
- Game: Bill Rudison - 613 vs. Virginia Tech (1989)
- Average Punting Yardage
- Career: Mike Hayes - 42.2
- Season: Ray Dodge - 44.9 (1948)
- Game: Daron Alcorn - 51.8 vs. Cincinnati (1992)
- Kick Return Yards
- Career: Matt Carter - 1,366
- Season: Matt Carter - 867 (2002)
- Game: Matt Carter - 180 vs. Marshall (2001)
- Kick Return Yard Average
- Kick Returns for Touchdowns
- Career: Frank Zazula, Jim Braccio & Dan Ruff - 2
- Season: Dan Ruff - 2 (1967)
- Punt Return Yards
- Career: Pat Snow - 535
- Season: Matt Cherry - 305 (2003)
- Game: Jeff Sweitzer - 133 vs. Northern Arizona (1989)
- Punt Return Yard Average
- Career: Matt Cherry - 13.3
- Season: Domenik Hixon - 17.2 (2004)
- Game (3 min. attempts): Domenik Hixon - 39.0 vs. Ball State (2004)
- Punt Returns for Touchdowns
- Career: Jeff Sweitzer & Matt Cherry - 3
- Season: Jeff Sweitzer (1989) & Matt Cherry (2003) - 2
- Game: Jeff Sweitzer - 2 vs. Northern Arizona (1989)
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- "Eminent Domain Watch" Retrieved September 13, 2009
- "UA Buys Quaker Square Complex" Retrieved September 13, 2009
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- Opening ceremony gallery – Ohio.com Retrieved September 12, 2009
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