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The Akron Zips football (formerly Buchtel College and formerly nicknamed Zippers) team are a college football program representing the University of Akron in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of college football. Terry Bowden is Akron's current head coach, the 27th in the program's history. Akron plays its home games on InfoCision Stadium on the campus of the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. The Zips compete in the Mid-American Conference as a member of the East Division.
With a 489–504–36 record, Akron does not rank among the top 50 most victories among NCAA FBS programs. Akron was originally classified as a Small College school in the 1937 season until 1972. Akron received Division II classification in 1973, before becoming a Division I-AA program in 1980 and an Division I-A (now FBS) program in 1987. The Zips were the first team to move from Division I-AA to Division I-A. In 2005, the Zips won the Mid-American Conference championship for the first time in the program's history.
The University of Akron football team was established in 1891 when the team, then called Buchtel College, defeated Western Reserve University by a score of 22-6 in Hudson, Ohio. Buchtel went on to finish its first season with a 1–3 record. The following year, Buchtel hired Frank Cook as the school's first ever head coach. Cook lead Buchtel to a 3-4 record during his only season has head coach. In 1893, the college hired John Heisman to become the football and baseball coach. Heisman lead Buchtel to their first winning season with a 5-2 record in 1893, and then led them to their first undefeated season, albeit a single game season in which they defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes. While at Buchtel, Heisman also helped invent the snap, which is still used in modern day football. The early years for Buchtel saw many coaching changes, as the program went through 9 different coaches in the 22-year span.
In 1961, the Zips hired Gordon K. Larson, who had been an assistant coach under Woody Hayes at Ohio State. Larson helped the Zips finish 2nd in the Ohio Athletic Conference 3 times in his first five seasons, going 26-8 in conference play during those five season. In 1966, the Zips left the Ohio Athletic Conference, and became an Independent football program. During its Independence era, the Zips put together the best run in school history, winning 38 games from 1968 to 1971, also going to the 1968 Grantland Rice Bowl. In 12 season, Larson had a record of 74-33-5. At the time of his retirement from coach, Larson was the all-time wins leader in Akron history. Larson remained at the university as the athletics director.