By: Parker Perry
It took me a while to chant “Fire Ianello.”
It was, without a doubt, time for Akron and former head football coach Rob Ianello to part ways.
The former Notre Dame recruiting coordinator’s (and in honest truth probably one of the best recruiters in the country) second season resembled his first as a Zip — abysmal.
Ianello finished his career in Akron with a 2-22 record, which is the worst winning percentage of any Akron football coach who has coached in more than two games in the Zips’ 116 year history.
Under Ianello’s reign, the Zips were outscored 883 to 357. Please allow those numbers to sink in before reading on.
The Zips were not even close to equaling the points scored against them, even when you multiply their “achievement” by two. It goes without saying that that is simply unacceptable, regardless of your view on Zips athletics.
I hear often from people who have not watched a single Akron football game that it is not the coach’s fault the team is so bad. They make ear-bleeding remarks like, “Akron will never have as good of players as Ohio State.”
Please allow me to let you in on a secret; no one expects Akron to compete against teams like Ohio State, Alabama or LSU (yet). What real Zips fans expect from their program is for it to beat teams like Western Michigan (who beat the Zips 68-19) or Miami (OH) (who beat the Zips 35-3), and especially Kent State (which we will discuss later).
If you take a look at what has transpired over the last two years, there has been zero improvement. While other teams like Buffalo and Bowling Green (who over the last three seasons have been at the bottom of the Mid-American Conference with UA) have started growing their program and trying to compete for titles, Akron has continued to fall backwards.
For the Zips, players are out of position, play calling is horrible and quarterbacks Clayton Moore and Patrick Nicely continue to find themselves on their back because of an offensive line that was suppose to be stronger after a strong recruiting class.
I would argue that nothing has improved over the last two years. And the best way to gage improvement, at least to me, is how Akron competes against Kent State. In the words of baseball announcer Marty Brennaman, “How we look’n? –Not Good.”
Before Ianello came to UA, Akron owned Kent State. To be completely unbiased about it, Akron told Kent to jump, and the Flashers would answer, “How High?”
Akron won 11 of 15 Wagon Wheel games, and if nothing else, Zips fans could always look toward that game and declare a losing season a productive season because they beat Kent. Now, however, the tides are quickly changing, and Kent State is putting their foot down and demanding respect. While Kent is on the brink of clinching their first .500 season in forever, Akron cannot come up with two wins in the same season. Ianello had to go.
However, it took me a while to jump on the fire Ianello bandwagon. Last year, Akron had three or four good chances at winning ball games. While fans were becoming restless, I remained calm. I thought that Ianello, given a recruiting class or two, would win those close games. But there were no close games; every single loss came in a blowout fashion.
Even if the Zips somehow found a way to make it close in the end, most of the game was dominated by one side. Ianello had to go.
The question now is who will take over as the next Zips’ head coach? Rumors are already circulating and there are a million names being put out there. Nevertheless, unlike the Ianello firing, I have jumped on the bandwagon.