Final words: looking at the Zips

Matthew Balsinger

This being the last issue of the year, I thought it was appropriate to leave with some final words on Zips athletics and what I’ve seen them become since I’ve been at The University of Akron.IMG_0705

My first semester on campus was in the fall of 2008, and I knew almost nothing about Akron sports. Growing up in Ohio, The University of Akron is often overshadowed by that school down south, which doesn’t allow for Ohio to enjoy the many other wonderful institutions that we have here.

The athletics program was undergoing considerable changes throughout my college career; the Zips added Infocision Stadium, the Zips basketball players were going to their first NCAA tournament berth in the Keith Dambrot era, and the soccer team was beginning to impress everyone on the national stage.

As a UA student, I’ve seen the football program slowly crash into a perpetual death-spiral. Three coaches have walked the field since I’ve been here, and not until recently did I feel that there was hope for the Akron football program.

Many other sports began to compete at higher levels; the men’s soccer team landed the university’s first national championship in our history –– as well as two Hermann Trophy recipients, which is the equivalent to college football’s Heisman Trophy.

The men’s basketball team has become an annual competitor in the Mid-American Conference championship; achieving three berths into the NCAA tournament since I’ve been here.

The women’s basketball team went from being in the bottom of the MAC to the MAC championship game.Things are clearly looking up for the Zips.

It can be hard sometimes to consider yourself a fan of Akron athletics, because the past success of our programs have been quite lacking when compared to several of the other strong programs in the state, but fans should not despair. Zips fans should look forward to the coming years as these programs look as if they will continue to improve under the guidance and determination of those coaches and athletes involved.

No, we are not the Ohio State Buckeyes, but we are the Akron Zips; and we are worth taking note of in the state. With what we’ve had to work with, being constantly overshadowed by programs like OSU, we’ve certainly been able to make a name for ourselves and continue to do so.

Thanks to all of you who have kept up with Zips sports by reading the Buchtelite, and look forward to another year of coverage of the Zips in the fall. Above all, however, thanks to all Zips fans. Without you and your support of the athletic programs at The University of Akron, none of these achievements of the Akron Zips would have been possible. We may be a small fan base, but we are slowly emerging onto the national stage.

Thanks for reading, thanks for following Akron athletics, and, most importantly, GO ZIPS!