AKRON The University of Akron announced former NFL quarterback and Ohio native Tom Arth as its new head football coach replacing Terry Bowden, who was fired earlier this month.
Arth was introduced at press conference at InfoCision Stadium–Summa Field, ending a short national search by the university as it sought to have a new head coach in place during the peak of recruiting season. Some verbally committed members of the incoming recruiting class put together by Bowden and his staff have either reopened their recruiting process or committed to other schools since his firing.
UA athletics director Larry Williams cited Arth’s ties to the area as one strong point of his candidacy to become the Zips’ new coach.
“We are excited to welcome Tom Arth to the University of Akron,” Director of Athletics Larry Williams said. “Tom’s experience in leading two programs, his ties to Northeast Ohio, his tremendous football IQ, and his passion for developing student-athletes for their future endeavors made him the perfect candidate to elevate our program.”
The Zips went 4-8 this season, but lost eight of their final 10 games after a 2-0 start that saw them defeat a Big Ten opponent for the first time in more than a century. In explaining Bowden’s dismissal, Williams said university officials believed a change was needed for the program to reach the heights expected of it.
Arth becomes the Zips’ 28th all-time head coach and just the eighth person to hold the position since 1960. He becomes the sixth head coach for the Zips since moving up to Division I in 1987 and arrives in Akron after two seasons at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he compiled a 9-13 record, including a 6-5 mark this past season.
His previous coaching stops include John Carroll University, where he also played quarterback. He is a graduate of Cleveland’s St. Ignatius High School and after college, spent three seasons as a backup quarterback to Peyton Manning with the Indianapolis Colts.
Part of that time included a stint playing in NFL Europe and he was also on the preseason roster with the Green Bay Packers in 2006.
Arth, 37, and his wife Lauren have five children – Caroline, Tommy, Kate, Patrick, and Elizabeth - and he inherits a team with 51 returning letterwinners.
His tasks include completing the program’s incoming recruiting class, assembling his staff and beginning work toward improving the Zips’ 2-6 Mid-American Conference record from one season ago. With a roster heavy in local talent, including players from Coventry, along with East, St. Vincent-St. Mary and other area programs, Arth inherits a team in need of offensive improvement after struggling on that side of the ball this season.
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