The University of Akron made it official Saturday morning, selecting former Oregon Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead as Zips’ new head football coach.
UA Director of Collegiate Athletics Charles Guthrie made the announcement and the appointment is pending board approval. A press conference is scheduled for next week to introduce Moorhead as the pick to replace Tom Arth, who was fired during the season.
Moorhead, 48, has steadily risen through the ranks of college football coaching, but he has ties to UA. Born in Pittsburgh, Moorhead served as the quarterback coach (2004-06) and offensive coordinator for the 2006-08 Zips under JD Brookhart.
He was an assistant head coach, pass game and recruiting coordinator for the only Zips team to win the conference championship in 2005.
Other stops include Connecticut, Fordham (his alma mater), and Penn State in 2016-17, where he transformed the Nittany Lions offense and was selected for Sports Illustrated in August 2017 and Yahoo’s No. 1 emerging assistant in college football.
His experience is not limited to being an assistant. He coached Mississippi State from 2018-19 and left with a 14-12 record before finally landing with Oregon last season.
That experience turned out to be the key. For Guthrie, Moorhead met the criteria of the position early in the process of being the type of coach they were looking for with FBS head coach experience and acting as a coordinator at that level.
“Obviously he checked all the boxes in those categories,” Guthrie said over the phone from Las Vegas, where he attends the National Football Foundation’s annual awards dinner.
But it also helped that Moorhead knows the location of the land.
“That played into it, too,” said Guthires of Moorheads stint as a recruiting coordinator at UA. We were looking for bands in the Midwest. I think when you say Northeast Ohio, you’re limiting yourself a bit, so we were looking for someone which may have regional ties as well.
University of Akron President Gary L. Miller expressed his optimism that the football program is now in charge to succeed.
We are committed to organizing a championship-quality football program at the University of Akron and I believe we have found the right leader at the right time to deliver on that promise,” Miller said in a prepared statement. that Zips fans have been patient long enough and I have no doubt that Joe will consistently deliver winning football to our community, in our world-class stadium and throughout the season, both at home and on the road.
“Most importantly, Joe will educate and motivate our student athletes to be the best version of themselves in the classroom, on the field and in the Akron community.
Moorhead said he is happy to return to Akron.
I am humbled and honored to be selected as The University of Akron’s next head football coach, Moorhead said in the press release. I want to thank President Miller and Charles Guthrie for their incredible professionalism during the process.
“My family and I are very excited about this opportunity. We can’t wait to get back to a region of the country we consider home. Our plan for the future is simple: roll up our sleeves and get to work, diligent build a program that the school, the city of Akron, and the state of Ohio can be proud of.
Moorhead is the latest in a line of coaches tasked with turning the stagnant UA football program, one that hasn’t hurt the facilities in recent years, but hasn’t been able to use them to their advantage to improve their game. fortune to change.
In Moorhead’s case, he seems to be able to change that. He has been successful everywhere, but what stands out is a winning record at an SEC school with perennial powerhouses in Alabama and Georgia.
When you have a conversation with him right away, you really get a feel for his experience, his professionalism and integrity,” Guthrie said. “When you take those three things into account, you immediately see how much confidence he has. to instill in our student-athletes and their ability to just get behind him. He is a leader and that was clear in our first conversations with him.
Perhaps most important is his offensive pedigree.
The Zips have shown progress on offense last season and Moorhead have a number of players to work with on that side of the ball.
One of his most important duties will be to determine who will be the UA’s quarterback. Zach Gibson, who rose as the season progressed, entered the NCAA Transfer Portal last week. There are four quarterbacks on the roster.
With Kato Nelson graduating, DJ Irons remains the only quarterback with gaming experience.
There is other talent in the skill positions, including two receiving threats in Konata Mumpfield and Michael Mathison. Running back Jonzell Norrils also started showing promise in the final games of the season
Defensively, linebackers Jeslord Boetang and Andrew Behm impressed all season, along with defending defenders Charles Amankwaa and Jaylen Kelly-Powell.
The cabinet is therefore not bare and, unlike in recent years, Moorhead other tools are available.
The appeal of name, image and likeness is now a thing in college sports, but for UA, its appeal is negligible. What could be even more useful is the transfer portal.
In recent years, college soccer players had to wait a year after transferring to be athletic eligibility, but that’s no longer the case. to make an impact.
Moorhead will arrive after the Ducks lost 38-10 to Utah in the Pac-12 Conference Championship Game on Friday night.
Moorhead directed an Oregon offense that ranks 33rd in the NCAA with 33.2 points per game, and 39th with 434.4 yards of total offense.
Moorhead and his wife, Jennifer, have three children: daughter Kyra, and sons Mason and Donovan.
Reach George M. Thomas at [email protected] or on Twitter @ByGeorgeThomas
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