Akron has hired Oregon offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead as its next coach, the university announced on Saturday. Moorhead coordinated the Ducks to an upset victory on the road over Ohio State and took Oregon to No. 3 in the nation as part of back-to-back Pac-12 title game appearances.
“We are committed to fielding a championship-caliber football program at the University of Akron, and I’m confident we have found the right leader at the right time to make good on that promise,” Akron president Gary Miller said in a statement. “I believe Zips fans have been patient long enough and I have no doubt Joe will deliver winning football consistent to our community, in our world-class stadium and throughout the season.”
Moorhead previously served as an assistant coach for the Zips from 2005-08 and was associate head coach and passing game coordinator on the 2005 squad that won the only conference championship in Akron history. He worked as offensive coordinator for three years before moving on to UConn. Moorhead’s Oregon offense ranked top-40 in total offense and No. 18 in rushing offense at more than 5.4 yards per carry.
“My family and I are very excited for this opportunity,” Moorhead said. “We can’t wait to get back to a region of the country we consider home. Our plan for the future is simple: we’ll roll up our sleeves and get to work, diligently building a program of which the school, the City of Akron, and the State of Ohio can be proud.”
The 48-year-old Pittsburgh native has experience as a head coach with stints at FCS Fordham and Mississippi State. Along with Oregon, he is perhaps known best for leading the Penn State offense as the Nittany Lions won a Big Ten Championship in 2016. He has a 52-25 record as a head coach.
Akron hires Moorhead to replace Tom Arth, who was fired after three seasons and a 3-24 record with the Zips, including an 0-12 record in 2019. Moorhead’s departure comes amid rumors of Miami targeting Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal. The Ducks have gone 35-13 under Cristobal’s direction, including 14-6 with Moorhead as offensive coordinator.