Archived Story

Bowden leaves UNA for Akron

Published 5:57am Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The coaching carousel hit the University of North Alabama hard on Dec. 22.
Head football coach Terry Bowden resigned his post after three seasons with the Lions to take a job as the head coach at Akron.
In case you don’t know much about his new school, here are a few bullet points:
— Akron plays in the East Division of the Mid-American Conference, or MAC for short
— Akron is indeed in Akron, Ohio
— The university’s mascot is Zippy the Kangaroo
— The school’s nickname is the Zips, apparently because kangaroos hop very fast
— The school is best known for its partnerships in the tire and rubber industry because of its polymer science courses
— Akron’s football team has won the MAC title only once, in 2005
— Akron’s biggest rival is the Kent State Golden Flashes
—They play for the Wagon Wheel, and for bragging rights on which school has the best nickname based on a verb for motion
The departure of Bowden from UNA must have come as a shock to everyone at the school. Bowden had just signed a one-year contract extension with the Lions.
This must have been a backup plan, because he definitely would have known about Akron’s interest well before last Thursday.
I knew Coach Bowden at UNA when I was the sports editor of the student-run newspaper there, The Flor-Ala.
I interviewed him five times, and he was more than gracious to me each time.
He was in the field of journalism for 10 years, so he knew what I was going through.
I wish someone had taken a picture of me interviewing him just once. I’m 6’6”. Coach Bowden is not a very tall man.
He actually stretched out his arm and propped it on my shoulder in order to lean on me once or twice during a post-game interview at Braly Stadium.
I heard grumblings at UNA from some who wanted to see him go, but a combined 29-9 record is not too   shabby.

J.R. Tidwell is sports editor for The Franklin County Times. He can be reached at (256) 332-1881, ext. 31.

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