March 17, 1938|
|Alma mater||University of Arkansas|
|Position(s)||Halfback, kicker, punter|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1963–1964||Edinburg HS (TX)|
|1965||Lubbock HS (TX)|
|Head coaching record|
26–12–1 (high school)
|Accomplishments and honors|
1 WAC (1976)|
2 SWC (1977, 1983)
Fred Akers (born March 17, 1938) is a former American football player and coach. He served as head football coach at the University of Wyoming (1975–1976), the University of Texas at Austin (1977–1986), and Purdue University (1987–1990), compiling a career college football record of 108–75–3.
Akers' notable accomplishments include a Heisman Trophy for Earl Campbell in the 1977 season and national title chances in the 1978 and 1984 Cotton Bowl Classics. In both of those years, Texas went undefeated in the regular season only to lose in their bowl game. Akers received criticism from those who believed he failed to match the standard set by previous head coach Darrell Royal. However, much of that was mitigated by an impressive overall record and a winning mark against Barry Switzer of the Oklahoma Sooners, who was 3–0–1 against Texas before Akers came along. However, in Akers' last five years he struggled against Oklahoma, going 1–3–1, and against Texas A&M, losing his last three game to the Aggies by an average margin of 23 points. Akers drew ire from the Texas faithful for losing bowl games at the end of four consecutive seasons (1982–1985). During his tenure in 1978, Akers was lampooned by future Bloom County creator Berke Breathed, whose student strip The Academia Waltz appeared in the school newspaper.
In 1986, after notching Texas' first losing record in 30 years, he left to become the head football coach at Purdue University. He was not nearly as successful as he had been at Texas; his teams only won 12 games in four years, and after the worst season in Purdue's history in 1990 amidst discipline problems, Akers was asked to resign. Akers was rumored as a candidate for the Baylor University job in 1993, that ultimately went to Chuck Reedy, but the Purdue post proved to be his final coaching post.
Purdue University hired Akers to replace Leon Burtnett. The Akers hiring caused starting quarterback Jeff George to transfer due to the Akers running style offense as opposed to Burtnett's passing offense.
Assistant coaches under Fred Akers who became NCAA head coaches:
Head coaching record
|Wyoming Cowboys (Western Athletic Conference) (1975–1976)|
|Texas Longhorns (Southwest Conference) (1977–1986)|
|Purdue Boilermakers (Big Ten Conference) (1987–1990)|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title or championship game berth|