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Akron Zips men's basketball: Non-conference schedule unveiled

By George Thomas Published: August 26, 2015

University of Akron men's basketball coach Keith Dambrot must like a challenge judghing from the team's non-conference scheule.  Exhibition games nothwithstading, The Zips unveiled their non-conference schedule Wednesday.  Here's a look at who the team will face:

Thurs., Nov. 5 – Malone (Exhibition)
Sat., Nov. 14 – vs. Cleveland State (Coaches vs. Cancer, Kent, Ohio)
Mon., Nov. 16 – Hiram
Wed., Nov. 18 – at Arkansas (2015 NIT Season Tip-Off)
Sun., Nov. 22 – at Villanova (2015 NIT Season Tip-Off)
Tues., Nov. 24 – at Green Bay (2015 NIT Season Tip-Off)
Fri., Nov. 27 – Charleston Southern (2015 NIT Season Tip-Off)
Wed., Dec. 2 – Coppin State
Fri, Dec. 4 – at Marshall
Sat., Dec. 12 – Bethune-Cookman
Mon., Dec. 21 – vs. UC Santa Barbara (South Point Classic, Las Vegas)
Wed., Dec. 23 – vs. Iona (South Point Classic, Las Vegas)
Wed., Dec. 30 – South Carolina State
Sat., Jan. 2 – Lipscomb

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UA athlete Shawn Barber of Canada wins IAAF world championship

By Michael Beaven Published: August 24, 2015
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University of Akron student-athlete Shawn Barber is a world champion in men’s pole vault.

Barber, representing Canada, earned the IAAF pole vault title Monday in Beijing, China by clearing 5.90 meters (19-feet, 4¼-inches) on his first attempt. Germany’s Raphael Marcel Holzdeppe, the world’s defending champion, cleared 5.90 meters on his third try, and based on misses was awarded the silver medal.

Barber and Holzdeppe each attempted to pole vault 6.00 meters (19-feet, 8¼-inches), but neither man was successful.

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Zips track and field: Two enjoying success at IAAF world championships

By George Thomas Published: August 22, 2015

From University of Akron news releases:

University of Akron junior pole vaulter Shawn Barber continued his chase towards a podium finish at the IAAF World Track and Field Championships on Saturday, qualifying for the championship finals with a jump of 18-8.25 (5.70m).

The pole vault competition commenced with two flights of qualifying on Saturday. Sixteen competitors surpassed 5.70m (18-8.25) to advance to the championship final on Monday, Aug. 24, at 7:05 a.m. ET.

Barber opened the evening clearing 17-8.50 (5.40m) on his first attempt. He then surpassed 18-2.50 (5.55m) on his initial try before eclipsing 18-6.50 (5.65m) on his second run at the height.

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Zips soccer: UA gives Jared Embick three-year contract extension

By George Thomas Published: July 17, 2015

From a UA athletics department news release:  

University of Akron men's soccer head coach Jared Embick has received a three-year contract extension, interim Director of Athletics Nathan J. Mortimer announced on Friday. The extension, which is pending approval by the UA Board of Trustees, will keep Embick at the helm of the storied program through the 2018 season.

"We are excited about what Coach Embick has done with the program in his first two seasons," Mortimer said. "This extension is a reward for that performance, hard work, and success. The belief that we have in him and his staff is to continue to make Akron one of the premier men's soccer programs in the country."

"I have always felt that University of Akron is a great place and one of the premier jobs in the country," Embick commented. "To be afforded the opportunity by President Scarborough and Nathan Mortimer to extend my contract is extremely rewarding. The university, students, and community have always been very supportive of our program, which has been a key to our success. This team has a lot to look forward to with the talent we have. I look forward to seeing everyone at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field this fall as we will compete to win our second national championship."

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University of Akron sports: Tom Wistrcill's letter of resignation

By George Thomas Published: June 11, 2015

Zips Nation:

Usually, I would use these communications to praise the newsworthy achievements of our student-athletes and coaches. Today, I want to share with you some personal and professional news: Effective Tuesday, June 16, I will be leaving my post as the Director of Athletics at The University of Akron to become a Senior Vice President with Learfield Sports, based in Dallas, Texas. This is an extraordinary opportunity to work in a leadership capacity in the rapidly growing field of sponsorship and multimedia rights in intercollegiate athletics.

Of course leaving Akron is not easy to do, after six years of learning and loving this community. My family will miss so many things: standing until the first basket at basketball games; singing "I Believe That We Have Won" when we've won another soccer match; sitting with you at countless games and cheering on the Blue and Gold together. Zips Nation became an extended family to my wife, Kelly, and our sons, J.T. and Jack. Thank you so much for being so welcoming.

Together, we have created so many memories. The achievements of our student athletes and coaches over these past years will be forever etched in our memory and in our hearts:

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MAC extends Commissioner Steinbrecher's contract by three years

By George Thomas Published: June 8, 2015

 From a Mid-American Conference news release:  The Mid-American Conference announced today that the Council of Presidents has extended the contract of Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher for three additional years through the 2019-20 academic year.  Steinbrecher began as MAC Commissioner in May of 2009 and this marks his second contract extension as the conference Presidents unanimously rewarded Steinbrecher with another three-year contract extension.

 “I am very appreciative to the Council of Presidents and the confidence they have placed in me during my years as Commissioner of the Mid-American Conference.  We share the same vision and I look forward to continuing to lead this conference, our members and our students,” said Steinbrecher.

During his term as MAC Commissioner, Steinbrecher has brought long-term security for the Conference through partnership in the new College Football Playoff, national television rights deals, greatly increased national television exposure, expanded bowl opportunities, stabilized conference membership and enhanced neutral site conference championships with long-term agreements for football and men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

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MAC will receive increased exposure with new CBS Sports Network deal

By George Thomas Published: June 3, 2015

Fans of University of Akron and Kent State University basketball and football teams may have reason to cheer, but the Mid-American Conference can do a happy dance.

Football and basketball programs conference wide stand to benefit from a four-year television agreement with CBS Sports Network, the company’s cable sports channel.

The channel will broadcast as many as 12 football and 12 hoops game per year.  In the first year of the contract, which begins this fall, six football and seven basketball games will air and will include two Thursday,  three Saturday football game and one day after Thanksgiving game.

“Today’s announcement is another important step in the continued growth of Mid-American Conference television coverage,” said Mid-American Conference Commissioner, Dr. Jon Steinbrecher.  “Having CBS Sports Network join us is part of our vision for the growth of live national coverage for our fan base.  This agreement provides another platform to showcase the outstanding students attending Mid-American Conference member institutions.  I look forward to joining forces with the CBS family.”

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MAC news: Gary Pinkel, Ben Roethlisberger to hall of fame

By George Thomas Published: May 20, 2015

From a Mid-American Conference news release:

The Mid-American Conference will induct the 2015 MAC Hall of Fame Induction Class into the MAC Hall of Fame on Wednesday, May 27 during the MAC Honors Dinner at the Cleveland Renaissance Hotel.  The five inductees are Casey Cunningham (Central Michigan, wrestling), Bob Parks (Eastern Michigan, men’s cross country, men’s track and field), Ben Roethlisberger (Miami, football), Gary Pinkel (Toledo/Kent State, football) and George Dales (Western Michigan, men’s cross country, men’s track and field).   

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Zips basketball: UA set for spot in Pre-season NIT

By George Thomas Published: April 20, 2015 is reporting that the University of Akron men’s basketball team will participate in the NIT Tip Off in November.

Zips coach Keith Dambrot confirmed the report although no contract has been signed.

“We don’t know who we’re playing.  We think we’re going to play Arkansas or Villanova, but we’re not sure,” he said. “It’s tough.  Those are two of the best teams in the country.  They were Top 20 teams.  Obviously, Villanova was Top 5 for the year.”

The tournament will serve as an early test for a Zips team that never quite put it all together last season and will have a quasi-different look in the coming one.

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