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Terry Bowden fired as Akron football coach

December 2, 2018

Terry Bowden fired as Akron football coach

CLEVELAND, Ohio - The cash-strapped University of Akron took another financial hit Sunday with the decision to fire head football coach Terry Bowden with two years left on his contract.

Bowden earned a base salary of $315,180 base salary with two seasons remaining on a contract that was to expire Feb. 28, 2021.

“We’re discussing with him the terms of the buyout,″ assistant athletic director George Van Horn told The Plain Dealer.

Akron has fought a projected deficit since 2015 and in June faced a projected a $16 million deficit for the coming fiscal year.

Bowden’s record was 35-52 in seven seasons with the Zips.

Akron was 4-8 overall and 2-6 in the Mid-American Conference this season, finishing fifth in the six-team MAC East Division. Akron was 4-3 in late October, then lost its last five games, finishing the season Saturday with a 28-3 defeat at South Carolina.

This comes one season after Akron won the a MAC East Division championship and a berth in the 2017 MAC Championship game.

The national search for the next head coach for the Zips has already started, according to a release issued Sunday by Akron athletic director Larry Williams. The Zips would prefer to have a head coach in two weeks, but acknowledge it could take longer.

Division I football has been a struggle on and off the field for Akron since the Zips moved up to the top tier in 1987. Since then, no Akron head coach has been successful. Gerry Faust only had two winning Division I seasons out of nine with the Zips; Lee Owens had three out of nine; J.D. Brookhart had two winning seasons out of six; Rob Ianello had none in two years and Bowden only had two in seven years.

Compounding that lack of success on the field is Akron’s annual debt service of $5 million for InfoCision Stadium, built in 2009 at a cost of $61.6 million. But it has yet to have one football sellout.

“I would like to thank Terry Bowden and his coaching staff for their dedication and passion to rebuilding the Akron football program,” Williams said in the release. “Certainly, Terry and his staff have brought respectability to the program over the last seven years. However, after undertaking a thorough review of the entire program, and in consultation with the President and Board of Trustees, it is clear that we need to make a change if we are going to consistently achieve at an even higher level.

“Akron Athletics greatly appreciates all that Terry has done for the University, and we wish him the best moving forward.”

According to Akron officials, Bowden would not be available for comment Sunday. Despite his overall record, Bowden did take the Zips to two bowl games in the past four seasons. Bowden issued a statement in the same release.

“I’ve been told that I would not be retained at The University of Akron,” Bowden said. “It saddens me that I will not be able to work through this with my coaches and players. But the University feels it is time to bring in new leadership and a new direction. I want to thank the University of Akron for giving me this opportunity.

“I want to thank all of my assistant coaches, support staff, and players who helped turn this program around, especially our senior class which was one of the most productive in our Division I history. It’s been one of the greatest joys of my life to come to Akron and build this program, but also for the great relationships I have established. I am blessed to have the greatest fellowship of friends here in this community. I want nothing but the best for the University of Akron and all of Zips Nation.”

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