This is, perhaps, the biggest hire Akron has ever made for its football program.

Joe Moorhead, Pittsburgh native and Fordham grad, once told a bunch of reporters that his “yankee ass” would have to be dragged out of his last head coaching job, where he led the Mississippi State Bulldogs for just 26 games (14-12 record).

Moorhead’s an incredibly respected offensive mind and there’s little question that he’ll fail at a lot of the X’s and O’s aspect of this job. Aside from being a head coach, he was also an offensive coordinator at Penn State under James Franklin, at Oregon under Mario Cristobal, and at Akron (various roles, 2004-2008) under J.D. Brookhart when the Zips won the 2005 MAC title, and at UConn when the Huskies crashed the 2011 Fiesta Bowl.

There’s absolutely no guarantee that this hire will materialize into a championship-winning team for Akron. We can’t even ben 100% sure that the Zips will be a winning program. But what we can say without much question is that Akron, with a new AD in Charles Guthrie (as of July) gives a shit about this football team doing well.

Let me say that again, but a little bit slower.

Akron. Actually. Gives a shit. About. The football team.

Moorhead’s gamble here is absolutely insane. But look at some of the other coaches that have run into success at his level. No normally-adjusted coach takes a massive payout to go from being a play caller at multiple high-level programs to falling back down into the MAC head coaching ranks. Usually, guys start as head coaches before they lead an SEC program. However, Frank Solich famously got to Ohio after Nebraska (not SEC, but stick with me) pushed him out the door. Jim McElwain got Florida to the SEC title game a couple of times, but he also led CMU to Detroit in his first year coaching the Chippewas. Buffalo is Maurice Linguist’s first head coaching job, but like Moorhead, came into that job with previous experience at the school he’s currently at now and has SEC-level-of-recruiting bonafides.

Akron gives a shit about football. And if there’s any instant winner here, I’d say it’s the entire Mid-American Conference, which has been poking Akron with a stick to do something cool for years now.

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