Oregon OC Joe Moorhead Reportedly Expected to Be Named Akron Head CoachDecember 1, 2021
Akron is expected to finalize the hiring of Oregon offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead following the Pac-12 championship game, according to The Athletic's Bruce Feldman.
Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports first reported the Zips identified Moorhead as their top target in their head coaching search.
Bringing the 48-year-old back to Northeast Ohio—he worked on Akron's staff from 2004 to 2008—will be a signal of intent from the school.
The Zips made a pair of bowl games under Terry Bowden in 2015 and 2017 but were unable to establish themselves as an upper-tier Group of Five program. They proceeded to take a big step backward under Tom Arth, posting a 3-27 record over the past three seasons.
Moorhead has served as an offensive coordinator for two schools routinely in the College Football Playoff discussion (Oregon and Penn State), and the former Fordham quarterback spent two years as Mississippi State's head coach with a 14-12 record and two bowl games (both losses).
The 48-year-old's hiring would be a major coup for Akron and a surprise given his profile.
Perhaps Moorhead is looking to rebuild his reputation as a head coach to put himself in the frame for a Power Five gig in a few years. Winning 10 games with the Zips would almost certainly help him achieve that aim.
The Pittsburgh native may instead be looking to emulate Frank Solich.
Solich was fired by Nebraska in 2003 despite a 58-19 record and landed on his feet at Ohio in 2005. He remained with the Mid-American Conference program for 16 years as the Bobcats became a fixture in bowl season.
While every coach wants to win championships, having long-term job security and becoming a school legend at a program outside the blue bloods can provide a different type of fulfillment.
Considering the state of Akron, Moorhead probably won't yield immediate returns even if he targets reinforcements through the transfer portal. But he should have plenty of time to get the Zips back to relevancy.