Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Terry Bowden takes risks to build Akron program

Terry Bowden was hired in December by Akron, which is 2-22 (1-15 in the MAC) over the past two seasons.

Associated Press (2011)

Terry Bowden was hired in December by Akron, which is 2-22 (1-15 in the MAC) over the past two seasons.

AKRON, Ohio — It could be a case of high risk, high reward in building Akron's football program to a level of respectability.

One player is on campus taking classes and participating in conditioning drills. The other, an incoming freshman, is set to report in the fall. Both have had issues in their past.

They're the kinds of chances a program such as the Zips must take occasionally, first-year coach Terry Bowden said.

The son of longtime Florida State coach Bobby Bowden inherited a team that has won one MAC game and two total over the past two seasons and whose last winning season came in 2005.

"We all make decisions based on relationships we have established that would be considered a risk," Bowden said. "Whether I was at Auburn, whether I was at Salem College or North Alabama, there are situations where that occurs. I look at each situation on an individual basis."

Avis Commack, a cornerback coming from Florida State with a year of eligibility remaining, could bring much-needed experience and depth to the secondary, an area in which defensive coordinator Chuck Amato expressed concern during spring practice.

But Commack left the Seminoles after being charged with stealing a fellow student's iPad, according to media reports. He pleaded no contest.

Bowden said Commack didn't plan to return to FSU after graduating in December.

"(Defensive backs coach) Terrell Buckley has worked with him on and off the field for the past couple of years. So we felt he was an ideal guy to take a chance on," Bowden said. "He made a mistake, and we felt like we could give him an opportunity."

Running back Hakeem Lawrence, out of Hialeah-Miami Lakes High, represents a problem familiar to college coaches.

A talented athlete doesn't take academics seriously, and by the time he graduates, he finds the chance to play in college slipping from his grasp. Bowden said the Zips are waiting for his documentation to go through the NCAA's clearinghouse but expect him to be eligible.

As a senior, Lawrence rushed for 1,818 yards (10.6 per carry) and 22 touchdowns. But he found few willing to take him because of his academic record.Bowden said he's a typical spread offense back who can run, catch and return punts and kickoffs.

"We're trying to get as many people (as we can) at that position. You have to have one shine," Bowden said. "If you have any chances to take, it needs to be a difference-maker or someone who can score points in a game."

Remember them?

First-year Akron coach Terry Bowden's staff includes some names familiar to Florida State fans:

Chuck Amato (defensive coordinator): Defensive line coach 1982-95; linebackers coach 1996-99; assistant head coach 1986-99; executive head coach


Jeff Bowden (special teams coordinator): Graduate assistant 1986; receivers coach 1991-2000; offensive coordinator


Terrell Buckley (corner­backs coach): Cornerback 1989-91

John Pont (recruiting coor­dinator): Graduate assistant 2008

Todd Stroud (defensive line coach): Nose guard 1983-85; strength and conditioning coach 2007-09

Terry Bowden takes risks to build Akron program 07/09/12 [Last modified: Monday, July 9, 2012 8:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Aaron Hernandez lawyer: Brain showed 'severe' case of CTE


    BOSTON — Aaron Hernandez's lawyer says the former New England Patriots tight end's brain showed severe signs of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

    Aaron Hernandez's lawyer says the former New England Patriots tight end's brain showed severe signs of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy. [AP photo]
  2. Bucs' Josh Robinson excited for return to Vikings


    For much of Josh Robinson's four seasons with the Vikings, there was excitement leading up to the arrival of the $1.1-billion U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened last season, just as Robinson signed with the …

    Josh Robinson (26) tackles Chicago punt returner Eddie Royal (19) during a game between the Bucs and Bears in 2016. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. For starters: Rays at Orioles, meeting up with ex-mate Tim Beckham


    The Rays open their final roadtrip of the season tonight in Baltimore, and - continuing the theme of the week - willl cross paths with another familiar face, INF Tim Beckham.

    Tim Beckham made a smashing debut with the Orioles, hitting .394 with six homers and 19 RBIs in August.
  4. From the archives: Account of famed Riggs-King match heightens Tampa mob intrigue


    With the Sept. 29 opening of "Battle of the Sexes" — the movie starring Emma Stone and Steve Carrell about Billie Jean King's landmark 1973 tennis win over Bobby Riggs — we thought there might be renewed interest in this 2013 Peter Jamison story from the Tampa Bay Times.

    Emma Stone as Billie Jean King and Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs in "Battle of the Sexes."  [Melinda Sue Gordon, Fox Searchlight Pictures]
  5. It's not a game, but the names are all the same in this football family


    TAMPA — A coach yells across the field into a scrum of blue-and-white clad football bodies at Jefferson High: "Kim Mitchell! Kim Mitchell, come here!"

    These twins are not only identical, but they have almost identical names. Kim Mitchell III, left, and Kim Mitchell IV are  talented football players at Jefferson High with Division I-A college offers. Kim  III wears No. 22 and plays cornerback while Kim IV wears No. 11 and plays safety. (Scott Purks, Special to the Times)