Akron Zips football

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Akron Zips football
2016 Akron Zips football team
Akron Zips logo.svg
First season 1891
Athletic director Larry Williams
Head coach Terry Bowden
5th year, 24–36 (.400)
Other staff A.J. Milwee (OC)
Chuck Amato (DC)
Stadium InfoCision Stadium
Year built 2009
Seating capacity 27,000[1]
Field surface ProGrass
Location Akron, Ohio
NCAA division Division I FBS
Conference MAC
Division East
Past conferences Ohio Athletic Conference (1915–36, 1946–65)
Mid-Continent Conference (1978–79)
Ohio Valley Conference (1980–87)
All-time record 507–524–36 (.492)
Bowl record 1–1 (.500)
Conference titles 1
Division titles 2
Consensus All-Americans 1
Colors Blue and Gold[2]
Fight song Akron Blue and Gold
Mascot Zippy
Marching band Ohio's Pride
Outfitter Adidas
Rivals Kent State Golden Flashes
Website GoZips.com

The Akron Zips football team is a college football program representing the University of Akron in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 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.

The team was established in 1891 when the school was known as Buchtel College and became the University of Akron in 1913. In 1926, the athletic teams were named the Zippers, after rubber boots manufactured by the B.F. Goodrich Company, which was headquartered in Akron at the time. The name was shortened to "Zips" in 1950.[3] 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 a Division I-A (now FBS) program in 1987.[4] The Zips were the first team to move from Division I-AA to Division I-A.[5] In 2005, the Zips won the Mid-American Conference championship for the first time in the program's history.[6] Through the 2015 season, the Zips have an overall record of 507–524–36.[7]


Early history (1891–1926)[edit]

John Heisman

The University of Akron football team was established in 1891. In their first game, the team, then called Buchtel College, defeated Western Reserve Academy[8] by a score of 22–6 in Hudson, Ohio.[9] 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 led 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.[10] While at Buchtel, Heisman also helped invent the snap, which is still used in modern-day football.[10] The early years for Buchtel saw many coaching changes, as the program went through nine different coaches in the 22-year span.

Buchtel College changed its name to the University of Akron in 1913.[11]

Akron's 1922 football team against Miami (OH)

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.[12] Sefton's teams posted winning records in five of Sefton's nine seasons, including four of his final five.[12] Sefton resigned as head coach after the 1923 season.

James W. Coleman was hired as Akron's head football coach after Sefton's resignation. His final record in two seasons with the Zippers is 6–10.[13]

George Babcock took over as head coach after Coleman's departure and led the Zips to a 5–2–2 record[14] before departing to accept the head football coach position at Cincinnati.[15]

Red Blair era (1927–1935)[edit]

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.[16] Blair's 1929 Akron team compiled a record of 9–1.[16] His 1930 team went 7–1 and his 1935 team posted a 6–3 record for the best three years of Blair's tenure.[16] Blair resigned as head coach of the Zips after the 1935 season.

Jim Aiken era (1936–1938)[edit]

Coach Aiken

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.[17] Aiken departed the Zips after the 1938 season to accept the head football coach position at Nevada.[18]

Dowler and Douglas (1939–1942)[edit]

Thomas Dowler was hired to lead the Zippers football program after Aiken's departure. In two seasons as head coach, Dowler's teams compiled a record of 7–9–2.[19]

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[20] that included a winless 0–7–2 mark in what turned out to be Douglas' final season.[20]

Akron did not field a football team from 1943–1945 due to the events surrounding World War II.

Baldacci and Houghton (1946–1951)[edit]

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.[21]

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.[22]

Kenneth Cochrane era (1951–1952)[edit]

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".[23]

Joe McMullen era (1954–1960)[edit]

Joe McMullen came to Akron from Washington & Jefferson[24] 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),[25] declining records of 4–5 and 1–8 led to his firing after the 1960 season.[26]

Gordon Larson era (1961–1972)[edit]

Coach Larson

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.[27] At the time of his retirement from coach, Larson was the all-time wins leader among head coaches in Akron football history.[28] Larson remained at the university as the athletics director.[28]

Jim Dennison era (1973–1985)[edit]

In 1973, the Zips promoted long-time assistant, Jim Dennison to replace the retired Larson.[29] Under Dennison's tutelage, the Zips transitioned from NCAA Division II to Division I-AA[30] and posted an 80–62–2 record that included nine winning seasons in Dennison's thirteen.[31] Despite these successes, Dennison was fired as head coach after the 1985 season.[32]

Gerry Faust era (1986–1994)[edit]

In 1985 Akron president William Muse replaced Dennison with former Notre Dame head coach Gerry Faust.[33][34] 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.[33] 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.[35] 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[36] 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.[37]

Akron joined the Mid-American Conference in 1992.[38]

Lee Owens era (1995–2003)[edit]

Lee Owens, a highly successful high school head football coach, was hired by the Zips as head football coach after Faust's firing.[39] 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.[40]

J. D. Brookhart era (2004–2009)[edit]

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.[41] 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.[42] He was fired after the 2009 season, when the Zips went 3–9.[43] Brookhart's final record at Akron is 30–42.[44]

Rob Ianello era (2010–2011)[edit]

In December 2009, Akron hired Rob Ianello, previously wide receivers coach at Notre Dame, as the Zips head football coach.[45] He lost his first eleven games as a head coach before getting the victory over Buffalo in the final game of the 2010 season.[46] His only other win as Akron's head football coach was a 36–13 defeat of VMI (a Football Championship Subdivision team) in 2011.[47] Ianello was fired as Akron's head coach after just two seasons and a dismal 2–22 record.[48]

Terry Bowden era (2012–present)[edit]

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.[49] 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.[50] In his first year, Bowden duplicated Ianello's 1–11 record from 2011 in what was dubbed as a rebuilding year.[51]

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.[52] Bowden's 2013 team showed improvement, compiling a 5–7 record on the season[53] that included snapping the nation's longest road losing streak (28) with a 24–17 victory at Miami (OH).[54] For the signs of improvement shown by the Zips, Akron extended Bowden's contract by two years through 2017.[55]


Rubber Bowl (1940–2008)[edit]

Main article: Rubber Bowl
An on-field ceremony at the Rubber Bowl after the stadium's 324th and final football game on November 13, 2008.

The Akron Zips football team played their first game in the stadium on October 5, 1940 against Western Reserve (now known as Case Western Reserve University), before getting their first win in the facility November 9 of that year against rival Kent State. 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.[56]

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.[1][56][57]

InfoCision Stadium–Summa Field (2009–present)[edit]

A parachuter descends with American flag in tow onto the surface of Summa Field as part of the opening day festivities.

InfoCision Stadium was constructed as part of a building initiative undergone by the University of Akron called the "New Landscape for Learning."[58] 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.[59] The Rubber Bowl, the former home of the Zips football team, was located 6 miles (9.7 km) away of the Akron campus.[60] Due to the high maintenance costs for the facility, the decision was made to construct an on-campus stadium.[61]

To build the new stadium, several dormitories had to be demolished and the properties of local tenants were acquired using eminent domain.[62][63][64] 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.[65][66]

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.[67] 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).[68]

Stile Athletics Field House[edit]

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[edit]

In 2002, the University instituted a new athletics logo featuring the kangaroo as well as a custom font for "Akron Zips."[69] 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.[69]


Kent State[edit]

Akron's biggest rival is Kent State University, located 10 miles (16 km) from the Akron campus.[70] 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.[71][72]

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.[71]

Youngstown State[edit]

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.[73]

Top 10 FBS rivals[edit]

Below are Akron's record against its top ten most-played opponents in the Football Bowl Subdivision, Division I-A, or Division I, whatever the top division in college football was at the time.[74]

Opponents Games Wins Losses Ties Last meeting
Kent State 29 18 11 0 Oct 1, 2016 (W 31–27)
Ohio 25 9 16 0 Nov 22, 2016 (L 3–9)
Miami (OH) 22 8 14 0 Oct 8, 2016 (W 35–13)
Central Michigan 21 6 14 1 Oct 31, 2015 (L 6–14)
Bowling Green State 21 6 15 0 Nov 9, 2016 (L 28–38)
Eastern Michigan 17 10 7 0 Oct 10, 2015 (W 47–21)
Buffalo 16 10 6 0 Oct 27, 2016 (L 20–41)
Western Michigan 16 3 13 0 Oct 15, 2016 (L 0–41)
Temple 14 6 8 0 Sep 10, 2011 (L 3–41)
Ball State 14 5 9 0 Oct 22, 2016 (W 35–25)


Year Coach Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Butchel College (1891–1913)
1891 No coach 1–3
1892 Frank Cook 3–4
1893 John Heisman 5–2
1894 John Heisman 1–0
1895 No coach 3–2
1896 Harry Wilson 0–1
1897 No team
1898 No team
1899 Archie Eves 2–1
1900 No coach 2–3–1
1901 No team
1902 Forest Firestone 2–5
1903 Rev. Alfred Place 0–2
1904 No team
1905 No team
1906 No team
1907 No team
1908 Dr. Dwight Bradley 3–4
1909 Clarence Weed 4–4
1910 Frank Haggerty 7–2
1911 Frank Haggerty 3–4–1
1912 Frank Haggerty 5–2–1
1913 Frank Haggerty 3–4
Akron Zips (1914–present)
1914 Frank Haggerty 4–4–1
Ohio Athletic Conference (1915–1935)
1915 Fred Sefton 1–7–1 1–6
1916 Fred Sefton 2–7 2–4
1917 Fred Sefton 5–3 3–1
1918 Fred Sefton 2–2–1 1–2–1
1919 Fred Sefton 6–1–1 5–1–1
1920 Fred Sefton 4–4 2–4
1921 Fred Sefton 5–3 4–3
1922 Fred Sefton 5–3 5–3
1923 Fred Sefton 4–3–1 2–3–1
1924 James Coleman 5–3 3–2
1925 James Coleman 1–7 1–6
1926 George Babcock 5–2–2 4–2–2
1927 Red Blair 5–3 4–3
1928 Red Blair 5–3 3–4
1929 Red Blair 9–1 7–1
1930 Red Blair 7–1 5–1
1931 Red Blair 1–7 0–7
1932 Red Blair 2–4–3 1–4–2
1933 Red Blair 5–3–1 5–2–1
1934 Red Blair 3–4–1 3–4
1935 Red Blair 6–3 6–3
Independent (1936–1947)
1936 James Aiken 6–2–1
1937 James Aiken 7–2
1938 James Aiken 6–3
1939 Thomas Dowler 5–4
1940 Thomas Dowler 2–5–2
1941 Otis Douglas 5–3–1
1942 Otis Douglas 0–7–2
1943 No team
1944 No team
1945 No team
1946 Paul Baldacci 5–4
1947 Paul Baldacci 2–7
Ohio Athletic Conference (1948–1965)
1948 William Houghton 2–6 1–4
1949 William Houghton 2–6–1 0–3–1
1950 William Houghton 2–7 1–3
1951 William Houghton 1–8 1–3
1952 Red Cochrane 2–6–1 2–2–1
1953 Red Cochrane 6–3 4–2
1954 Joe McMullen 3–5 3–4
1955 Joe McMullen 6–2 6–2
1956 Joe McMullen 3–5–1 3–5–1
1957 Joe McMullen 7–1–1 6–1–1
1958 Joe McMullen 6–2–1 6–2
1959 Joe McMullen 4–5 4–3
1960 Joe McMullen 1–8 1–6
1961 Gordon Larson 6–2 6–1
1962 Gordon Larson 7–2 7–1
1963 Gordon Larson 6–3 5–2
1964 Gordon Larson 6–3 4–3
1965 Gordon Larson 5–3–1 4–1
Independent (1966–1973)
1966 Gordon Larson 6–3
1967 Gordon Larson 4–4–1
1968 Gordon Larson 7–3–1 L 33-13 Grantland Rice Bowl
1969 Gordon Larson 9–1
1970 Gordon Larson 7–3
1971 Gordon Larson 8–2
1972 Gordon Larson 3–4–2
1973 Jim Dennison 6–5
Division II (1974–1980)
1974 Jim Dennison 5–5
1975 Jim Dennison 7–4
1976 Jim Dennison 10–3
1977 Jim Dennison 6–4–1
Mid-Continent Conference (1978–1979)
1978 Jim Dennison 6–5 4–1
1979 Jim Dennison 6–5 3–2
Division I-AA (Ohio Valley Conference) (1980–1986)
1980 Jim Dennison 3–7–1 2–4–1 5th
1981 Jim Dennison 5–5 4–4 T-4th
1982 Jim Dennison 6–2 5–2 2nd
1983 Jim Dennison 8–3 5–2 T-2nd
1984 Jim Dennison 4–7 2–5 6th
1985 Jim Dennison 8–4 5–2 T-2nd L I-AA First Round
1986 Gerry Faust 7–6 4–3 T-3rd
Division I-A Independent (1987–1991)
1987 Gerry Faust 4–7
1988 Gerry Faust 5–6
1989 Gerry Faust 5–6
1990 Gerry Faust 3–7–1
1991 Gerry Faust 5–6
Mid-American Conference (1992–present)
1992 Gerry Faust 7–3–1 5–3 T-3rd
1993 Gerry Faust 5–6 4–4 5th
1994 Gerry Faust 1–10 1–8 9th
1995 Lee Owens 2–9 2–6 T-7th
1996 Lee Owens 4–7 3–5 T-7th
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) L 38–31 Motor City Bowl
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)
2012 Terry Bowden 1–11 0–8 7th (East)
2013 Terry Bowden 5–7 4–4 4th (East)
2014 Terry Bowden 5–7 3–5 T-4th (East)
2015 Terry Bowden 8–5 5–3 T-2nd (East) W 23–21 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
2016 Terry Bowden 5–7 3–5 T-3rd (East)
Total: 507–530–36
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title



Current coaching staff[edit]


Head coaches[edit]

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).[72]

University of Akron Zips Head Coaches
Name Seasons Record
Frank Cook 1892 3–4
John Heisman 1893–94 6–2
Harry Wilson 1896 0–1
Archie Eves 1899 2–1
Forest Firestone 1902 2–5
Alfred W. Place 1903 4–0–2
Dwight Bradley 1908 3–4
Clarence Weed 1909 4–4
Frank Haggerty 1910–14 22–16–3
Name Seasons Record
Fred Sefton 1915–23 34–33–4
James W. Coleman 1924–25 6–10
George Babcock 1926 5–2–2
Red Blair 1927–35 42–30–5
Jim Aiken 1936–38 19–7–1
Thomas Dowler 1939–40 7–9–2
Otis Douglas 1941–42 5–10–3
Paul Baldacci 1946–47 7–10
William Houghton 1948–51 7–27–1
Name Seasons Record
Kenneth Cochrane 1952–53 8–9–1
Joe McMullen 1954–60 30–28–3
Gordon K. Larson 1961–72 74–33–5
Jim Dennison 1973–85 80–62–2
Gerry Faust 1986–94 43–53–3
Lee Owens 1995–2003 40–61
J. D. Brookhart 2004–09 30–42
Rob Ianello 2010–11 2–22
Terry Bowden 2012–present 19–30

Notable former assistant coaches[edit]

Jim Tressel, former Akron graduate assistant.

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.

Team accomplishments[edit]

Conference championships[edit]

Akron has won one conference championship, winning the 2005 MAC East Division title followed by their 31–30 victory in the 2005 MAC Championship Game.[77]

Year Conference Coach Overall record Conference record
2005 Mid-American Conference J. D. Brookhart 7–6 5–3

Bowl games[edit]

Akron has participated in two bowl games in its history, compiling a 1–1 record.[78] 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.[79]

Year Date Bow Opponent Result
2005 December 26, 2005 Motor City Bowl Memphis L 38–31
2015 December 22, 2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Utah State W 23–21
Total 2 bowl games 1–1

I-AA Playoffs[edit]

Akron has participated in the Division I-AA playoffs once in its history, compiling a 0–1 record.

Akron Bowl Game Appearances
Season Opponent Score Result
1985 Rhode Island 27–35 Loss

Individual accolades[edit]


A total of 51 Zips have been recognized as All-Americans by various media selectors.[80] Among those selections, one has achieved Consensus All-American status.[81]

Akron All-Americans
Season Name Pos.
1940 Mike Fernella OT
1940 Bennie Flossie QB
1954 John Verdon End
1968 Ken Delaney OT
1968 Tony Pallija DB
1968 Don Ruff SE
1968 Don Zeisler QB
1969 John Travis OG
1969 Jack Beidleman RB
1969 Dave Holian DT
1969 Tony Pallija DB
1969 Dan Ruff SE
1970 Jack Beidleman HB
1970 Fred DeHart LB
1970 Tom DeMarco OT
1971 Mike Hatch DB
Season Name Pos.
1975 Steve Cockerham LB
1975 Glenn Evans SE
1976 Steve Cockerham LB
1976 Mark Van Horn OG
1976 Glenn Evans SE
1976 Al Hodakievic DT
1977 Steve Cockerham LB
1977 Jeff Jesko OT
1978 Mike Andy OT
1978 Herb Kohler OG
1979 Jim Valencheck DB
1979 Brad Reese LB
1979 Don Schutz OT
1979 Paul Winters RB
1980 Brad Reese LB
1981 Brad Reese LB
Season Name Pos.
1982 James Black RB
1982 Ed Grimsley LB
1982 Dennis Heckman PK
1982 Joe Myers DT
1982 Tony Philpott LB
1983 James Black RB
1983 Brian Clark C
1983 Clarence Kelly DB
1983 Jeff Lake LB
1984 Mike Clark RB
1984 Willie Davis WR
1984 Wayne Grant NG
1984 Jeff Lake LB
1985 Wayne Grant DL
1985 Mike Clark RB
1985 Ed Grimsley LB
Season Name Pos.
1985 Bill Hadden LB
1985 Russ Klaus PK
1985 Mike Teifke C
1986 Mike Clark RB
1986 Chris Kelly TE
1986 Brian Moran DB
1986 Ron Pasquale OT
1987 Robert Lyons DB
1988 Bill Rudison P
1991 Phil Dunn LB
1992 Daron Alcorn P/PK
2000 Dwight Smith* S
2007 Jabari Arthur WR
* – denotes Consensus All-Americans
# – denotes Unanimous All-Americans

Conference award winners[edit]

During Akron's 20-season tenure with the Mid-American Conference, a total of 4 Zips have been recognized with superlative conference honors.

Akron Conference Award Winners
Season Name Pos. Award
1999 Brandon Payne RB MAC Freshman Player of the Year
2000 Dwight Smith S MAC Defensive Player of the Year
Season Name Pos. Award
2004 Charlie Frye QB Vern Smith Leadership Award
2004 J. D. Brookhart Head Coach MAC Coach of the Year

Hall of Fame inductees[edit]

John Heisman, Akron Head Coach (1893–94)

College Football Hall of Fame[edit]

One Zip has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

University of Akron Varsity "A" Sports Hall of Fame[edit]

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:[83]

  • Dave Adolph
  • Jim Aiken
  • Isavelt Amison
  • David Arango
  • Floyd Azar
  • Art Bailey
  • Robert Bauer
  • Jack Beidleman
  • Scotty Bierce
  • Earl Boedicker
  • Thomas Boggs
  • Jim Braccio
  • Dennis Brumfield
  • Tony Butowicz
  • Richard Chase
  • Michael Clark
  • Kenneth Cochrane
  • Steve Cockerham
  • Charles Costigan
  • Park Crisp
  • Carl Daum
  • Ken Delaney
  • Tom DeMarco
  • Jim Dennison
  • George Deo
  • Robert Dombroski
  • Ollie Dreisbach
  • Glenn Evans
  • Mike Fernella
  • Frank Fisher
  • Ignatius Frolin
  • Ben Flossie
  • Harold Frye
  • Andy Graham
  • Wayne Grant
  • Ray Greene
  • Art Hailey
  • Mike Hatch
  • Robert Hatherill
  • Dennis Heckman
  • John Heisman
  • Earl Hensal
  • Al Hodakievic
  • Dave Holian
  • Russell Holmes
  • Lee R. Jackson
  • Hayes Jenkins
  • Verlin Jenkins
  • Lillburn Johnson
  • Christopher Kelley
  • Clarence Kelly
  • Alan Kerkian
  • Edwin Kregenow
  • Mike Krino
  • John Lahoski
  • Gordon K. Larson
  • Frank Lomax
  • Edward Lopeman
  • Robert Lyons
  • Andrew Maluke
  • Joe Mazzaferro
  • Dick Miller
  • Tony Pallija
  • Clarence Palmer
  • Joseph Papp
  • Charles Parnell
  • Bradley Reese
  • Frank Rockwell
  • Virgil Rogers
  • Marion Rossi
  • Dan Ruff
  • Willard Russell
  • Mario Russo
  • Eric Schoch
  • Donald Schultz
  • Roderick Scott
  • Gene Scruggs
  • Darrington Seals
  • James Semester
  • Wilson Sparkhawk
  • Carl Spessard
  • Bill Sturgeon
  • Clarence Swigart
  • Ed Toth
  • John Travis
  • Carl Tsaloff
  • Ronald Ulrich
  • Mark Van Horn
  • John Verdon
  • Frank Wahl
  • Ralph Waldsmith
  • Frank Wargo
  • Paul Winters
  • Frank Witwer
  • Frank Zazula
  • Joseph Zemla
  • Guy Zimmerman
  • Don Zwisler

Zips in professional football[edit]

Akron has produced a total of 10 NFL draft selections.[84] 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.


As of December 2016, there are a total of 7 Zips listed on team rosters in the NFL,[85] CFL,[86] and AFL.[87]


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[edit]

Akron has had 10 players selected in the NFL Draft.[91] Daron Alcorn became the final pick of the 1993 NFL Draft, a pick that has been dubbed as Mr. Irrelevant.[92]

Future non-conference opponents[edit]

Announced schedules as of April 16, 2015

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
at Penn State
Sep. 2nd
at Nebraska
Sep. 1st
at Illinois
Aug. 31st
at UAB
Sep. 12th
at Appalachian State
Sep. 24th
vs Arkansas–Pine Bluff
Sep. 9th
at Northwestern
Sep. 15th
vs UAB
Sep. 7th
at Clemson
Sep. 19th
vs Iowa State
Sep. 16th
at Iowa State
Sep. 22nd
vs Troy
Sep. 21st
at Troy
Sep. 23rd



Team records[edit]

  • Consecutive victories
11 (1929–30 & 1969–70)
  • Margin of Victory
62 vs. Western Reserve Acad. (1893)
  • Total Offensive Yards
In a Season: 5,643 (2003)
In a Game: 692 vs. Howard (2003)
  • Points Scored
In a Season: 435 (2003)
In a Regular Season Game: 65 vs. Howard (2003) & vs. Eastern Michigan (2001)
In a Bowl Game: 31 vs. Memphis (Motor City Bowl, 2005)[72]

Individual records[edit]


Charlie Frye, Akron's career total offense leader






  • Punts
Career: Andy Grahm – 274
Season: Zach Campbell – 81 (2010)
Game: John Stec – 14 vs. Ohio State (2007)
  • 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 Returns[edit]

  • Kick Return Yards
Career: Matt Carter – 1,366
Season: Matt Carter – 867 (2002)
Game: Matt Carter – 180 vs. Marshall (2001)
  • Kick Return Yard Average
Career: Jim Braccio – 26.2
Season: Bryan Williams – 31.9 (2007)
Game (2 min. attempts): David Harvey – 78.5 vs. North Texas (2006)
  • Kick Returns for Touchdowns
Career: Frank Zazula, Jim Braccio & Dan Ruff – 2
Season: Dan Ruff – 2 (1967)

Punt Returns[edit]

  • 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)


The Akron Zips and Bowling Green Falcons compete at the Rubber Bowl on October 11, 2008.
The Akron Zips as they play during their 2009 home opener at InfoCision Stadium, a 41–0 victory over Morgan State.
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External links[edit]