University of Akron Athletics sets new standard to benefit student athletes


UA Athletics Department

Photo Credit: Akron Athletics, New James A. Rhodes Arena floor featuring new logo

By Baylee Vought, Contributor

The University of Akron Athletics Department is embracing the “out with the old and in with the new” mentality this year as several changes were made to improve student athletes’ experience as well as to benefit the campus and community. 

New Year, New Logo, New Updates 

The University of Akron has had several logos in the past, but during a major rebranding beginning in 2022, a new “A” logo has been introduced.  

With the help of Joe Bosack & Co., the department of athletics developed the new “A” that subtly includes the “Z” from the most recent former logo.  

The hope of university and athletics leadership was that a rebrand would bring together the athletic department and the university itself with a unified brand identity. 

“We do have one brand, and when you see it around our facilities it looks classic and it looks clean and it gets our point across that the ‘A’ stands for Akron,” Director of Athletics Charles Guthrie said. 

Because of the logo change, several facilities needed to be updated to feature the new “A” including the James A. Rhodes Arena and the turf in InfoCision Stadium. Other facilities needed to be updated for safety and program growth, such as the new track. 

“There’s a lot of interest in athletics and growing it,” Head Coach of Women’s Volleyball Tyson Norton said.  

The new upgrades make the facilities where student athletes compete and practice safer and more up to date. 

“From our new floor in the JAR, to the football stadium being renovated, to the track being renovated, there’s a lot of growth and resources being invested in athletics which is really important to me,” Norton said.  

Some students see these changes and upgrades as a step in the right direction and are looking to the future in the hopes the athletics program keeps moving toward the vision they have started to act upon. 

“There were many updates done to a variety of sports that needed it,” Anthony Nichols, a member of the track and field team, said. “We received a new track over the summer and fall and are now able to host track meets.” 

Previous track students had expressed concerns about the safety of their facilities, which are now brand new. 

“I believe it is an overwhelmingly positive upgrade that was desperately needed,” Nichols said. 

UA Athlete Anothony Nichols running
Anothony Nichols (Photo Courtesy of UA Athletics)

Setting A New Standard 

In addition to physical changes, Akron Athletics hired several new coaches and staff, including Norton for Women’s Volleyball and Head Football Coach, Joe Moorhead. 

Director Guthrie based his hiring process on one used by his mentor Mark Murphy, CEO of the Green Bay Packers.  

“When you bring people into your organization, take your time and really make sure you hire to not fire again which is the approach we have taken on some of the positions here at Akron,” Guthrie said.  

Since the hiring of new athletics leadership in 2021, some student athletes express that they feel hopeful because the university as a whole seems to want to grow and develop its athletic department and invest in the future of student athletes and the city of Akron.  

“Overall, there seems to be a higher standard and push for improvement. Everything seems to be taken more seriously,” Nichols said. 

Director Guthrie and Akron Athletics continue to push for changes to benefit student athletes, focusing on nutrition and health, travel, donors, academics, more updates to athletic spaces and eventually winning MAC championships across the board. 

One of these future projects includes a new sports health center that Akron Children’s Hospital will build on the university campus. Since Akron Children’s is now the official sports health provider for Akron Athletics, they want to give athletes, faculty, staff and the community a place to have injuries evaluated and treated.  

Director Guthrie shared his excitement about this ground-breaking deal.  

“It’s great that our trainers are not driving student athletes to five different locations for different medical appointments and that we have a streamlined approach,” he said. “I think that is going to benefit our student athletes very greatly as we move forward.” 

With everything new for athletics in 2022, it is clear that The University of Akron Athletics Department is setting a new standard for its athletes, coaches, and leadership, incorporating the motto: “the standard is the standard.”  

That standard is to create the best, top-tier gold standard experience for student athletes at The University of Akron.