THE COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF – IT'S GAME WEEK!
Hopefully you've seen the electronic billboards around Akron counting down the number of days until it's Time to Shine for Head Coach Terry Bowden and our Football program. We kick off the season on Thursday (Aug. 28) at 7 p.m. ET against Howard at InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field. The buzz about our football program is growing – especially after being picked to finish second in the MAC East preseason poll.
As our marketing theme this year says, Zips Football's Time to Shine is now – and since we all want that to happen Today not Tomorrow (to use Coach Bowden's theme for the team this year), we need everyone there in the stands to support our student-athletes and coaches. If you haven't done so already, please consider purchasing a ticket package – we have both season and mini plans on sale – and help create the home field advantages we experience at James A. Rhodes Arena and FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.
WOMEN'S SOCCER TIES FOR FIRST IN STEEL CITY CLASSIC
Congratulations to Head Coach Vernon Croft and our Women's Soccer program on the first Zips' win of 2014-15, a 2-1 victory over Robert Morris. We split the weekend to tie for first in Steel City Classic in Pittsburgh, and the team returns to FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field for a huge home opener Friday vs. No. 5 Virginia Tech from the ACC, which advanced to the College Cup last year. Tickets are available here.
Head Coach Jared Embick and our Men's Soccer program head west to face New Mexico on Friday for the season opener, and then to Florida the following weekend for two matches. The Zips return home to play host to The University of Akron Tournament on Sept. 12 and 14 as we face UCF and Hartford, respectively, and celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Zips Men's Soccer that weekend.
Volleyball also is busy preparing for its season, and after a strong showing in Saturday's Blue and Gold Scrimmage, Head Coach Ron Arenz and the team begin their season this weekend at the Indiana State Tournament.
VOTE FOR ZIPPY!
Our beloved mascot, Zippy, once again has been chosen to participate in the 2014 Mascot Challenge, and she is looking to win her second title as Mascot of the Year (she won in 2007). This is a big honor as only 16 mascots nationally were selected, and we need your help!
Voting starts today at CapitalOneMascots.com (one point per vote, vote up to 50 times per day), and entries using our mascot on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #CapitalOneZippy can earn 50 or even 100 points per.
Visit GoZips.com/VoteForZippy to see how you can help! Please share this with your friends and family so they can join and vote for Zippy, too!
A BUSY SUMMER – AND CAMPUS
Although our campus is coming to life with fall semester classes starting today, our football stadium and facilities staff already are in mid-season form.
As you know, earlier this month we welcomed the Cleveland Browns' Family Day scrimmage
Two weeks ago as we hosted the "Welcome Home LeBron" event to celebrate LeBron James' return to the Cleveland Cavaliers with another large crowd. Add in the Columbus Crew's U.S. Open Cup match in June at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field, and we had three major outside events on campus this summer that collectively brought tens of thousands of people to Akron who never had set foot on campus, much less attended a Zips game.
We're continuing to explore opportunities to utilize our facilities to showcase the University, and I welcome your feedback about other opportunities we can explore that provide value to UA and our community.
JOIN US ON A ZIPS TRIP THIS FALL ...
Our football and basketball schedules line up to offer us a number of compelling trips this fall. In football this year we are fortunate to play games at both Penn State and Pittsburgh, both of which are easy drives and compelling matchups. I'm sure you remember just how close we came to shocking the college football world last year in Ann Arbor, and if you're a Zips fan you're going to want to be able to say for the rest of your life, "I was there!" when we take the next step as a program. Here's a link with information on those away game fan trips for football.
Our Men's Basketball team will compete the week before Thanksgiving in the eight-team, three-game, ESPN-run Gildan Charleston Classic from Nov. 20 through 23, in Charleston, S.C., We face USC from the Pac-12 on Nov. 20 at 12:30 p.m., and will face either Miami (Florida) or Drexel the next day, with our final game on Nov. 23 against either Charlotte, Cornell, Penn State or South Carolina. Our friends at Chima Travel have put together a tremendous package and we hope you can sneak away with us for a few days to enjoy warm weather and Zips Basketball. If you're interested, click here.
THE LATEST SEASON TICKETHOLDER WINNERS
Here are the latest winners of prize giveaways to season ticketholders who renew or purchase new seats for 2014-15:
-Brendon Leavell of Akron, a seven-year season ticketholder, won the opportunity to travel with the Football team to Muncie for our game at Ball State on Oct. 25
-Ronald Whisler of Massillon, a returning second-year Men's Basketball season ticketholder, won for a select home game two courtside seats and passes to Tommy Evans Lounge
-Long-time Men's Basketball season ticketholder Rich Hite won the opportunity to participate in a halftime contest during the upcoming season
-Fellow long-time Men's Basketball season ticketholder Joe Watters won a basketball autographed by Head Coach Keith Dambrot
Thanks to all of you for your support of the Zips! You could be next – all you have to do is join our team as a season ticketholder! The next winners will be announced after the Aug. 28 deadline for football (a trip with the team to Kent State).
My friend Jamie Pollard, the Director of Athletics at Iowa State, recently challenged me to have a bucket of ice water dumped on my head to raise money for the Kay Yow Foundation through the "Chillin 4 Charity" challenge. Thanks to Dan Peters and Greta Burry, Sina King and Kerri McMahan from our Women's Basketball team for helping me complete the challenge ... enjoy this video, which shows how I literally jumped at the opportunity to participate!
Because I completed the challenge, Jamie will write a check in my name for $50 to the Kay Yow Foundation, and I have challenged three people as well: Men's Basketball Head Coach Keith Dambrot (watch here), Kent State Athletics Director Joel Nielsen and ESPN College Basketball reporter Myron Medcalf.
The ALS #IceBucketChallenge also has gone viral, and you can see Women's Golf Head Coach Jenny King, Women's Tennis Head Coach Brandon Padgett and Assistant Coach Brian Peters, Women's Swimming and Diving Head Coach Brian Peresie and team, Baseball Head Coach Rick Rembielak and team, and Men's Soccer Head Coach Jared Embick, among others (apologies to any who I missed).
ZIPS CLIPS AND CONGRATS TO ...
... Hanna Luburgh and Rachel Tecca, both of whom recently signed contracts to play basketball professionally ...
... Shawn Barber, who earned a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland ...
.. Eight members of Women's Track and Field – Claire Lucas, Ariane Beaumont-Courteau, Caroline Hasse, Jessica Delic, Gabriela Szkolnicka, Rebecca Szabo, Weronika Gaudyn and Daniella Johnson – were named to the All-Academic List by the U.S. Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association ...
... Men's Golf, for earning its sixth consecutive All-Academic Team Honors from the Golf Coaches Association of America ...
... Volleyball, which earned a Teach Academic Award from AVCA ...
... Steve McNees, a former Zip who was named our Men's Basketball Director of Operations, replacing the retiring Dan Peters ...
... Dr. Megan Brown, who was named Softball Assistant Coach ...
... Cathy Bongiovi, named our new Assistant Athletics Director for Communications. Other new full-time staff and coaches include Jessica Atsas as Assistant Director of Branding, Eric Stoller as Director of Marketing and Promotions and Tori Ung as Head Spirit Team Coach. Welcome!
... we were pleased to welcome back the Bowden Family – including Terry's and Jeff's father, Bobby, and brothers Tommy and Steve – for our Kickoff Luncheon and a special reception last week ...
... read the latest edition of Zips in the Pros on how our former Men's Soccer student-athletes are faring professionally ...
... the MAC's new rights extension with ESPN with provide increased exposure for the Zips, and is covered by George Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal and Elton Alexander of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, among others ...
Director of Athletics