Akron Zips Football Coaching Staff 2024

    The Akron Zips haven't had much success recently, but Joe Moorhead is assembling an Akron coaching staff looking to change that in 2024.

    The Akron Zips haven’t had much success on the field its last two seasons, with a 4-20 record under the watch of Joe Moorhead. On top of that, the Zips are still searching for three important assistant coaches for the upcoming season.

    While Moorhead continues to flesh out his full sideline team, let’s see who makes up the 2024 Akron coaching staff.

    Akron Zips Coaching Staff

    Head Coach, Joe Moorhead

    Once atop the pinnacle of the profession at the helm of an SEC program, Moorhead finds himself attempting to reassert himself as a head coach. Akron is his third stint directing a collegiate team in a quarter-century-long career across eight programs.

    After playing quarterback at Fordham (1992-1995), then professionally for two seasons (1996-1997) for the Munich Cowboys of the German Football League, he became a graduate assistant at Pitt (1998-1999).

    Moorhead found his first on-field role as the running backs coach at Georgetown (2000), before moving to quarterbacks coach (2001-2002), and then taking on an additional role as offensive coordinator (2003) for the Hoyas.

    Moorhead moved on to Akron for his first stint with the Zips as receivers coach (2004), associate head coach (2005), and then as OC for three seasons (2006-2008). He was part of Akron’s only MAC Championship in 32 years in the conference, with the Zips winning in 2005.

    He went on to Connecticut as OC for two seasons (2009-2010), helping to guide the Huskies to a Big East co-Championship and a Fiesta Bowl appearance in 2010. The Huskies lost the bowl to Oklahoma, 48-20, but it was the first major bowl in the program’s 115-year history.

    After the Fiesta Bowl, Huskies head coach Randy Edsall left for the same position at Maryland, leaving Connecticut to hire Paul Pasqualoni in his place. Pasqualoni brought his own OC, George DeLeone, and demoted Moorhead to quarterback coach for the 2011 season.

    The Huskies went 5-7 in 2011, and Moorhead moved on from Connecticut, this time taking charge of his own program.

    Fordham, where he once played, gave Moorhead his first shot as a head coach, taking over a Rams team that went 1-10 in 2011. He instantly turned that around with a 6-5 record in 2012, followed by 12-2 in 2013, 11-3 and a Patriot League Championship in 2014, and 9-3 in 2015.

    The Rams made the FCS Playoffs 2013-2015, with a second-round bye in 2013 and 2014, but didn’t win a postseason game with Moorhead calling the shots.

    After compiling a 38-13 record at his alma mater, he parlayed that success into a Power Five coordinator job, manning the offense for James Franklin at Penn State in 2016 and 2017.

    The Lions’ offense improved under Moorhead by almost 100 yards per game, from 348.4 in 2015 to 432.6 in 2016, with Penn State winning the Big East that season.

    He earned cache as a top-tier assistant and accepted the head coach position at Mississippi State when Dan Mullen left for Florida. His first season in 2018 was successful on the field (8-5), but a scandal off it led to suspensions the following season and a bruised reputation for the Bulldogs’ coach.

    Mississippi State suspended 10 football players for eight games due to academic misconduct. A part-time tutor reportedly took online coursework, including tests, for the players.

    The NCAA also docked football two scholarships and four official visits over two years, while putting the program on probation for three years.

    Already on the bad side of those around the program, Moorhead was let go following a 6-7 record in 2019. He was one of just three Mississippi State coaches to win their first two Egg Bowls appearances, with Moorehead beating Ole Miss in both his seasons in Starkville.

    Moorhead switched back to OC for two seasons at Oregon as part of the Pac-12 Championship team in the shortened 2020 season. He then oversaw a 2021 Ducks’ offense that averaged 33.2 points per game en route to a 10-3 record and a loss in the Pac-12 Championship.

    That was enough for him to rebuild his reputation, at least in the Group of Five ranks, as he took over as head coach of the Zips in 2022.

    With 2-10 records after each of his first two seasons (2022-2023), the Zips are still hopeful Moorhead can restore the glory of 2005. He was given a one-year contract extension through 2027 following his first season.

    Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers, Tim Tibesar

    Tim Tibesar is a journeyman assistant coach, with Akron being his 13th different collegiate program or professional organization over the last 25 years. A former linebacker at North Dakota (1993-1996), the Fighting Hawks (known as the Fighting Sioux, 1930-2012) gave Tibesar his first DC job (2004-2005).

    He was Bill Snyder’s last DC at Kansas State before switching to the CFL. With the Montreal Alouettes, he was was part of two Grey Cup Championships as LB coach in 2009 and 2010.

    Tibesar came back stateside to coach the Purdue defense in 2012 before his first and only season in the NFL. He was hired by his former coach in Montreal, Marc Trestman, to be LB coach for the Chicago Bears, but he was fired after the 2013 season.

    He bounced back as a consultant at Northwestern the following season, and then became the Wisconsin OLB coach for three seasons, before getting another DC job.

    Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith hired Tibesar to be his DC and LB coach in 2018. The Beavers struggled to win in the four seasons Tibesar was on Smith’s staff, with a 14-26 record. Smith fired Tibesar after nine games in 2021 following a 37-34 2OT loss to Colorado.

    He was hired by Moorhead in 2022, overseeing the last-ranked scoring defense in the MAC in his first season (33.5 points per game) and ninth worst out of 12 last year (28).

    • San Diego State (Student assistant, 1997)
    • Grossmont JC (LB coach, 1998)
    • California (GA, 1999)
    • Cornell (TE coach, 2000)
    • North Dakota (LB coach, 2001-2003, and DC, 2004-2005)
    • Kansas State (Special Teams coordinator, 2006, then DC and DB coach, 2007-2008)
    • Montreal Alouettes (LB coach, 2009-2010, and DC, 2011)
    • Purdue (DC and LB coach, 2012)
    • Chicago Bears (LB coach, 2013)
    • Northwestern (defensive consultant, 2014)
    • Wisconsin (OLB coach, 2015-2017)
    • Oregon State (DC and OLB coach, 2018-2021)
    • Akron (DC and LB coach, 2022-present)

    Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks, N/A

    Last season’s OC and QB coach, Billy Fessler, joined UCLA’s staff as QB coach last month, before Chip Kelly left. Moorhead has yet to announce a replacement.

    Special Teams Coordinator, N/A

    Moorhead is looking to replace another of his closest assistants here with last season’s special teams coordinator, Allen Tucker, accepting a role as special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach at West Georgia last month.

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    At the time of writing, Moorehead hasn’t announced a replacement.

    Co-Pass Game Coordinator/Wide Receivers, N/A

    David Gilbertson left to be Nevada’s pass game coordinator and receivers coach, leaving another position for Moorhead to fill on the Akron coaching staff.

    Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line, Joel Rodriguez

    A former offensive lineman for the Miami Hurricanes (2001-2004), this is Joel Rodriguez’s second stint with Moorhead, having coached the offensive line for him at Fordham (2012-2014). In his third year at Akron, he was the OL coach at FIU from 2020-2021.

    Associate Head Coach/Tight Ends, Reno Ferri

    2024 will be his third current season, but Reno Ferri was on staff at Akron during Moorhead’s first tenure with the Zips, starting as a GA in 2004 before being promoted to WR coach from 2006-2010. He went on to be RB coach at Towson (2011-2015) and the tight ends/inside receivers coach at Syracuse (2016-2021).

    Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs, Terry Richardson

    This is the third different staff Moorhead and Richardson have been a part of together, first crossing paths when Richardson was RB coach at Connecticut (1999-2010) and again when holding the same role at Mississippi State (2019-2021).

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    With stops on staff as RB coach with the Miami Hurricanes (2011-2012), the Jacksonville Jaguars (2013-2014), and Maryland (2015) in between, he’s in his third season in Akron.

    Corners Coach, Tre’ Bell

    Tre’ Bell is in his third year at Akron, his first role as an on-field coach. After playing at Vanderbilt, he began coaching as a quality control coach at Eastern Kentucky (2018) before being a GA for Moorhead at MSU for the next two seasons. He was a GA at FSU for the 2021 season before coming to Akron.

    Safeties Coach, Neal Renna

    Neal Renna is in his third season in Akron after three years as the special teams coordinator and safeties coach at Eastern Illinois (2019-2021). He was at Missouri before that as a GA (2015-2017) and defensive analyst (2018).

    Defensive line coach, Nyeem Wartman-White

    A former linebacker at Penn State (2012-2016), this is Nyeem Wartman-White’s second time on staff with Moorhead, starting his coaching career as a GA at Mississippi State (2018-2019).

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    He’s in his second year with Akron after coaching the DL at New Hampshire for three seasons (2020-2022).

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