Akron Zips

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Akron Zips
University University of Akron
Conference Mid-American Conference
NCAA Division I (Bowl Subdivision)
Athletic director Nathan Mortimer (interim)
Location Akron, Ohio
Varsity teams 16
Football stadium InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field
Arena James A. Rhodes Arena
Mascot Zippy the Kangaroo
Nickname Zips
Fight song Akron Blue & Gold
     Blue       Gold[1]
Website www.gozips.com

The intercollegiate athletic teams at the University of Akron are known as the Zips. Teams compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the Division I level and in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) for college football. Since 1992, the Zips have been members of the Mid-American Conference. The Zips name is unique in college athletics and comes from "zippers", rubber overshoes made by the BF Goodrich Company that were popular in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1925, a campus-wide contest had been conducted to choose a nickname for the university's athletic teams. Suggestions submitted by students, faculty, and alumni included Golden Blue Devils, Tip Toppers, Rubbernecks, Hillbillies, Kangaroos, and Cheveliers. The winner, freshman Margaret Hamlin, received a prize of $10 for "Zippers". Athletic director Kenneth Cochrane officially shortened the nickname to Zips in 1950. The university's mascot is "Zippy", a kangaroo. Zippy is one of only a few female college mascots in the United States.


Primary Akron logo, 2002-15

Mack Rhoades was hired as athletic director in 2005. That year, the men's basketball team, under head coach Keith Dambrot, won their first ever Division I post-season game by defeating Temple in the NIT, led by first team All-MAC performer Romeo Travis (former teammate of LeBron James in high school) and also won the most games in a season, 23. The football team won their very first MAC championship giving them a chance to play in the Motor City Bowl, Akron's first Division I bowl game appearance where they lost to the University of Memphis. That same year the women's cross country team and the men's soccer team also won the MAC championship in their respective sports. The men's soccer team was also the first team in the history of Akron sports to have a #1 rating in the nation.

Rhoades left Akron in 2009, taking the Athletic Director position at the University of Houston. He was replaced that year by Tom Wistrcill, who was the Athletic Director until his resignation in June 2015. Larry Williams II will become Athletic Director on September 1, 2015.

The 1978 men's archery team, led by 3-time national individual college champion Richard Bednar and hall-of-fame coach Bill Bednar, was the first team in UA history to win a national collegiate team championship.[2][3]


A member of the Mid-American Conference, Akron sponsors teams in six men's, ten women's, and one coed NCAA sanctioned sports:[4]

  • NOTE: Rifle is technically a men's sport, but men's, women's, and co-ed teams all compete against each other; Akron's coed team competes a a member of the Mid-Atlantic Rifle Conference.


Main article: Akron Zips football
The Akron Zips as they play during their 2009 home opener in Summa Field at InfoCision Stadium, a 41-0 victory over Morgan State.

Akron's major football rivalry is with Kent State University, whom they play for the Wagon Wheel. They also formerly played Youngstown State University for the Steel Tire until that series was discontinued in 1995.

Men's soccer[edit]

The Akron Zips men's soccer team, ranked number one throughout the 2009 regular season, went undefeated, making it to the NCAA Men's Division I Soccer Championship, but lost in penalty kicks to the University of Virginia Cavaliers. On December 12, 2010, Akron won the NCAA Division 1 national championship in men's soccer by defeating the Louisville Cardinals, 1–0. This was the first NCAA team championship for the school in any sport. The Zips play their home games at FirstEnergy Stadium-Cub Cadet Field.

Following the 2012 campaign, head coach Caleb Porter left the Zips to take the reins of the Portland Timbers MLS franchise.


The men's basketball team is currently coached by Keith Dambrot. They have enjoyed success of late including four consecutive 20-win seasons and three consecutive appearances in the Mid-American Conference Tournament championship game. In 2009 they won their first-ever MAC Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament for the first time since 1986.[5]

The men's basketball team advanced to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in 2011 and 2013 as well.


Main article: Akron Zips baseball


  1. ^ "The University of Akron Department of Athletics Brand Guide" (PDF). University of Akron. July 2015. 
  2. ^ Archery World, "1978 Intercollegiate National Championships," Sept 1978, Vol 27, No 5, p84
  3. ^ http://www.archeryhalloffame.org/Bednar%20William.html
  4. ^ "Akron Zips". The University of Akron. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  5. ^ Gaffney, Tom (15 March 2009). "UA does it, reaches NCAA Tournament". Ohio.com (Akron Beacon-Journal). Retrieved 15 March 2009. 

External links[edit]