Amstutz steps down

“University of Toledo head coach Tom Amstutz will step down at the conclusion of this season. Amstutz said he would coach the team’s four remaining games, the first of which is against the University of Akron Wednesday at 8 p.m. Amstutz, a UT alum, has been at the helm of the Rockets since 2001 and decided that this, his eighth season, will be his last after he was reportedly not offered an extension on his contract, which expires this year.”

University of Toledo head coach Tom Amstutz will step down at the conclusion of this season.

Amstutz said he would coach the team’s four remaining games, the first of which is against the University of Akron Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Amstutz, a UT alum, has been at the helm of the Rockets since 2001 and decided that this, his eighth season, will be his last after he was reportedly not offered an extension on his contract, which expires this year.

He will remain with the university and serve as Alumni Relations Officer after the end of the season.

Although he has made it known that this will be his final year as head coach, Amstutz emphasized that he will remain dedicated until the very end.

It’s important you understand that I still have a four-game focus that I am concentrating on as football coach and I will be doing that job fully, Amstutz said at his Monday news conference.

Amstutz has compiled a 57-38 overall record, including a 38-21 mark in Mid-American Conference games, during his seven plus years with the Rockets, including two MAC Championships in 2001 and 2004.

He also led Toledo to four bowl game appearances, going 2-2 in those games with a 23-16 victory over Cincinnati in the 2001 Motor Bowl as well as a 45-13 trouncing of the University of Texas-El Paso in the 2005 GMAC Bowl.

Despite five winning seasons, Toledo has not finished above .500 since the 2005 campaign, and is 2-6 this year.

One of its victories this season was a 13-10 upset over Michigan in Ann Arbor, arguably the biggest win in program history.

I just want to mention I am proud of the body of work I have at the University of Toledo, Amstutz said. There are some great victories I will always remember – Minnesota, Kansas, Iowa State, Pittsburgh and Michigan.

Toledo’s Athletic Director Mike O’Brien acknowledged the contributions Amstutz has made to the Rocket’s football program.

As the athletic director, it was an absolute privilege to have Tom as our head football coach, O’Brien said. He was tremendous to work with.

Aaron Opelt, Toledo’s starting quarterback, said he was shocked when Amstutz pulled the team’s seniors aside to tell them he was stepping down.

I think Coach Amstutz is a great guy and he has done a lot for us since I’ve been here, Opelt said. He’s a player’s coach. He doesn’t think about himself ever.

Amstutz’s final game as head coach will take place Nov. 28 against arch-rival Bowling Green. Amstutz guided the Rockets through the infamous point-shaving scandal involving Harvey Scooter McDougle, a UT running back from 2003-2006, who was charged with rigging football and basketball games in March of 2007. The charges were dropped the following April.