The Akron Zips are the intercollegiate athletic teams that represent the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio, United States. The Zips compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the Division I level as a member of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) East division.[2][3] Akron sponsors 17 varsity teams across six men's, 10 women's, and one coed NCAA sanctioned sports. The football team competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the highest level of competition for college football.[4]

Akron Zips
UniversityUniversity of Akron
ConferenceMid-American Conference (primary)
Big East Conference (men's soccer
Great America Rifle Conference
NCAADivision I (FBS)
Athletic directorCharles Guthrie
LocationAkron, Ohio
Varsity teams17
Football stadiumInfoCision Stadium-Summa Field
ArenaJames A. Rhodes Arena
MascotZippy the Kangaroo
Fight songAkron Blue & Gold
ColorsBlue and gold[1]
Akron is a member of the Mid-American Conference

Nickname and mascot edit

The Zips name comes from "zippers", rubber overshoes made by the BF Goodrich Company of Akron 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 female kangaroo. Zippy is one of only eight female college mascots in the United States.[5]

Men's sports Women's sports
Baseball Basketball
Basketball Cross country
Football Golf
Soccer Lacrosse
Track and field Soccer
Swimming & diving
Track and field
Co-ed sports
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor

Teams edit

Baseball edit

Akron reinstated its varsity baseball program for the 2020 season (2019–20 school year) after having dropped the sport in 2015.

Basketball edit

Men's basketball edit

In 2006, the men's basketball team, under head coach Keith Dambrot, won its first ever Division I postseason game by defeating Temple University in the NIT.[6] The team, led by first team All-MAC performer Romeo Travis (former teammate of NBA star LeBron James in high school), won the most games in a season, 23.

In 2008, Keith Dambrot led Akron to the MAC Tournament Final for a second year in a row, yet the team fell for a second time, this time to archrival Kent State.[7] The Zips advanced to the NIT for a second time in Dambrot's four years as head coach and won their first game at Florida State,[8] eventually falling in the Sweet 16 in a game at UMass.[9]

In 2009, the men's basketball team captured the MAC Tournament title, defeating Buffalo in Cleveland at the Quicken Loans Arena 65–53, thus qualifying Akron for its first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 1986 and first as a MAC member.[10]

In 2010, the team reached the MAC Tournament Championship game for the fourth straight year, but lost to Ohio 75–81 in overtime.[11] The Zips played in the postseason CBI tournament where they lost to Wisconsin–Green Bay 70–66.[12]

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

Women's basketball edit

The women's basketball team went to their first NCAA Tournament in 2014 after winning the MAC title. They made the WNIT in 1999, 2013, and 2015 and the WBI in 2015.

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

Football edit

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. In 2005, the Akron Zips football team won their very first MAC championship giving them a chance to play in the Motor City Bowl, Akron's first Division I-A bowl game appearance where they lost to the University of Memphis.

Rifle edit

The rifle team went to their first NCAA Championship in the 2019/2020 season after placing 4th in the national standings. The 2020 NCAA Rifle Championship was cancelled after the practice day to Covid. Akron competes as a single-sport member of the Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) after leaving the Mid-Atlantic Rifle Conference (MAC) in 2016. in 2017, Rifle was the first sport that Akron hosted a NCAA National Championship competition and in 2023 hosted Akron's 2nd ever NCAA National Championship competition.

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 Virginia Cavaliers.

On December 12, 2010, Akron won the NCAA Division I 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 head coaching of the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer. The Zips have remained a national power under coach Jared Embick, winning the MAC season and tournament championships in each of his first four seasons.

The Akron Zips Men's Soccer program made their way to another NCAA College Cup in 2018 but fell 1–0 to the Maryland Terrapins in the final.

Akron joined the Big East Conference for men's soccer after the 2022–23 school year.[13]

Other sports edit

In 2005, the women's cross country team, women's indoor track and the men's soccer team also won the MAC championship in their respective sports, making the 2005–06 year the most successful in Akron athletics history with a total of four Mid-American Conference championships in the same year.

The 2005 men's soccer team was the first team in UA history to hold a national no. 1 ranking in any sport, and was coached by Ken Lolla, now the head coach at the University of Louisville.

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.[14]

The University of Akron has produced five individual national champions, including 4 NCAA national champions:[15]

  • Shawn Barber, indoor and outdoor pole vault: 2015; World champion, 2015[16]
  • Jenna Compton, air rifle: 2009[17]
  • Stevi Large, track and field (weight throw), 2009[18]
  • Christi Smith, track and field (heptathlon), 2000[19]
  • Richard Bednar, archery: 1976, 1977, 1978[20][21]

The newest Zips varsity sport is women's lacrosse, which played its first season in the spring of 2020 as a single-sport member of the ASUN Conference.

A parachutist descends with American flag in tow onto the surface of Summa Field as part of the opening day festivities of the first game ever held in InfoCision Stadium, 2009

Facilities edit

  • InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field (football)
  • James A. Rhodes Arena (men's & women's basketball, volleyball)
  • The Stile Athletics Field House (indoor T&F, strength and conditioning center, sports medicine center, indoor golf facility, football practice field & locker rooms, coaches' offices, team meeting space and spectator seating for 1,200.)
  • Oliver J. Ocasek Natatorium (swimming & diving)
  • Robert A. Pinn Shooting Range (rifle)
  • Lee Jackson Field Complex (a 23-acre multi-purpose facility)
    • FirstEnergy Stadium-Cub Cadet Field (formerly Lee R. Jackson Field) (men's & women's soccer)
    • Lee R. Jackson Track & Field Complex (outdoor T&F)
    • Lee R. Jackson Softball Field (softball)
    • Lee R. Jackson Practice Field (football)
    • Outdoor Tennis Facility
    • Skeeles Field (baseball)[22]

References edit

  1. ^ The University of Akron Department of Athletics Brand Guide (PDF). June 19, 2018. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  2. ^ "University of Akron". NCAA & Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  3. ^ "Official Site of the Mid-American Conference". Mid-American Conference. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  4. ^ "Akron Zips". The University of Akron. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  5. ^ "Zippy's Identity Crisis". The Buchtelite. November 14, 2010. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  6. ^ "Chaney's career over as Temple falls in NIT first round".
  7. ^ "Kent State crushes Akron to complete season-long dominance of MAC".
  8. ^ "Akron 65, Florida St. 60".
  9. ^ "Massachusetts 68, Akron 63".
  10. ^ "Freshman guard Hitchens sparks Akron to its first NCAA tourney berth since 1986".
  11. ^ "Ohio overcomes Akron in overtime, earns improbable NCAA tournament bid".
  12. ^ "Green Bay Phoenix vs. Akron Zips - Box Score - March 17, 2010 - ESPN".
  13. ^ "BIG EAST Adds Akron For Men's Soccer" (Press release). Big East Conference. November 16, 2022. Retrieved November 17, 2022.
  14. ^ Archery World, "1978 Intercollegiate National Championships," Sept 1978, Vol 27, No 5, p84
  15. ^ "College life at UA: Athletics : The University of Akron". Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  16. ^ "Barber captures third NCAA title to lead Zips' efforts on the opening day of the NCAA Championship". June 10, 2015. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  17. ^ "Jenna Compton Named No. 3 Female Athlete in School History". October 3, 2012. Archived from the original on September 7, 2015. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  18. ^ "Stevi Large Gruber Named No. 2 Female Athlete In School History". October 2, 2012. Archived from the original on September 7, 2015. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  19. ^ "Christi Smith Named No. 1 Female Athlete In School History". October 5, 2012. Archived from the original on September 19, 2015. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  20. ^ "UA athlete is national champion : UA News".
  21. ^ "Inductee - William Bednar - Archery Hall of Fame and Museum".
  22. ^ "2020 Baseball Schedule". University of Akron Athletics.

External links edit