The University of Akron has found its new football coach.
Tom Arth will arrive from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to take over as Zips coach, the school announced Friday.
The hire is pending approval of UA's board of trustees.
“We are excited to welcome Tom Arth to The University of Akron,” Director of Athletics Larry Williams said in a news release. “Tom’s experience in leading two programs, his ties to Northeast Ohio, his tremendous football IQ, and his passion for developing student-athletes for their future endeavors made him the perfect candidate to elevate our program.”
Arth, 37, will be introduced at a news conference at 4 p.m. Monday on the Huntington Club level of InfoCision Stadium. The public is invited to attend.
Arth will replace Terry Bowden, who was fired Dec. 2, a day after the Zips completed a 4-8 season with a 28-3 loss at South Carolina. Bowden went 35-52 in seven seasons as Akron's coach and led the Zips to their first two bowl games in program history.
A Westlake native and Cleveland St. Ignatius graduate, Arth set 18 school records as a four-year starter at quarterback for John Carroll from 1999-2002.
He then coached the Blue Streaks for four seasons beginning in 2013 and compiled a 40-8 record, highlighted by three postseason appearances and a 31-28 victory over Mount Union on Nov. 12, 2016, that snapped the Purple Raiders' record 112-game regular-season winning streak.
Arth has coached UTC, a Division I-AA school, for the past two seasons. The Mocs went 3-8 in his first season and 6-5 this past season.
After graduating from John Carroll, Arth got a taste of the NFL, serving as Peyton Manning’s backup for three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts from 2003-05.
But it’s as a coach that Arth left an impression, said Frank Pines, a former defensive lineman who played for Arth at John Carroll and coached with him as a graduate assistant for a season.
“He’s definitely the best coach I think I’ve ever had, hands down,” Pines, 25, said. “He’s going to instantly change the culture, and people are going to want to play for him. He’s a born leader. He makes you want to play for him every week.”
A sales consultant now residing in Columbus, Pines said Arth showed flexibility in how he approached each game, molding game plans to suit his personnel. More important, he taught lessons on and off the field.
"[Akron] should be excited, honestly,” Pines said. “He’s just a game changer.”
George M. Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ByGeorgeThomas.