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Old 11-14-2008, 10:15 AM   #1
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Default Farewell to an old friend...

I only played one high school game there, but I've been to a hundred Akron U games (I'm a season ticket holder and was there last night), and played intramural football there plenty of times. It's a 68 year old dump, completely out-dated, the worst stadium in college football, but I still have fond, fond memories.

R.I.P. Rubber Bowl


Long ride ends at Rubber Bowl
University of Akron bids farewell to old friend. It takes four overtimes before stadium relinquishes
By Patrick McManamon
Beacon Journal sports columnist
Published on Friday, Nov 14, 2008

The white bus is probably best suited for the airport, to shuttle folks from the baggage claim to the rental car lot.
It's that kind of bus.
But at the University of Akron football games, it's parked at the north side of the Rubber Bowl, toward Triplett Boulevard.
After the game Thursday night, those buses will no longer be needed. As much as anything, those buses symbolize the last UA game at the Rubber Bowl.
They were used to ferry students from the school's downtown campus out to the next-to-the-airport stadium.
It's a lovely stadium that is part of the community's fiber, its history.
It served the community and the school well.
UA Athletic Director Mack Rhoades called Thursday the night to say goodbye to a ''dear and cherished friend.''
''I don't have the memories that others have because I haven't been around as long as others,'' Rhoades said before the game. ''But I've been really fond of the Rubber Bowl.
''There are great memories there.''
Opened in 1940, the Rubber Bowl was partially funded by $1 donations from 30,000 Akron residents.
It has stood for 68 years, with more then 3 million fans passing through its portals above and next to the Akron airport and blimp hangar.
''That's about as far as $30,000 can ever go,'' Rhoades said.
It has hosted high schools, the Browns (for preseason), car races and concerts, including the Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane and Simon and Garfunkel.
It has seen some great times.
But its time has come.
And most everyone would agree.
''It's way past time,'' former UA coach Gerry Faust said.
The Zips will move where they belong next season on campus. Rhoades and UA President Luis Proenza were able to do what many before could not, and that was find the funding for an on-campus stadium.
Which is where the Zips should play.
''It should have been done 20 years ago,'' Faust said. ''Every school should play its games on campus.''
He's right.
Better location

College games belong in a place where students can walk to the stadium, presumably from the library after a long morning of study.

Games should bring people on campus, where visitors can see the university and the work it is doing.
Go to a game at Notre Dame, or Ohio State, or Florida, or Auburn and try to convince anyone it's not a better atmosphere than an off-campus site.
The Rose Bowl has its charm, but it's not the same.
Clearly . . . the MAC is not the SEC or Big Ten. But the difference is only in degrees. UA's kids practice as hard, prepare as hard and try as hard as anyone at any Division I (or Division III) school.
The games belong where they will be played in 2009.
If Yankee Stadium can move across the street in the Bronx, any venue can change.
But this does not mean the old place should be erased from memory. It was a good home to the Zips for a long, long time

''There's a lot of mixed emotions,'' Rhoades said. ''We're saying goodbye to an old friend, and we're really excited about moving on campus.''
The Zips ended the Rubber Bowl's tenure in style. They fell behind 10-0 and 17-7 but used a last-minute drive to tie the score 24-24 with 23 seconds left.
Four overtimes later, Zippy was pounding the end zone turf in disappointment after a Buffalo field goal gave the Bulls a three-point win 43-40 in a spirited game that nobody really lost.
''I guess we were ready to say goodbye to the bowl, but the bowl wasn't ready to say goodbye to us,'' Rhoades said as postgame ceremonies began.
Final farewell

The dejected group of UA players lined up like men for the Rubber Bowl's final farewell. The band lined the field opposite the present team, and former UA players streamed from the bleachers onto the field.
A history of the Rubber Bowl was narrated, and Rhoades and Proenza said goodbye, though words could barely sum up 68 years of memories.
The pregame ceremony hearkened back to the Rubber Bowl's opening when the Army was heavily involved. Thursday's activities included the induction of many new members of the Army, a parachute drop that included the delivery of the game ball and a special Color Guard.
When all the festivities ended, folks filed out, warmed on a cool evening by the recollections the venue had provided.
And the students, for the last time, headed for those white buses so they could be shuttled back to campus for the last time.
Thankfully, those buses can be kept in the shed on future game days and nights.

Patrick McManamon can be reached at pmcmanamon@thebeaconjournal.com. Read his blog at http://www.ohiomm.com/blogs/mcmanamon/.
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Old 11-14-2008, 10:59 AM   #2
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Default Re: Farewell to an old friend...

Been through Akron, in route to Medina, many times. My brother in law worked for the ailing Goodyear for 20 years. Just curious, what the heck is a "zip"? I mean my college town was the home of talon 42 who made the levi zippers I believe. But if we were called the "zips" I would've transferred. Just saying....
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: Farewell to an old friend...

Good question. Kent State (our rivals) made up a bunch of shirts that said "What is a Zip?" The Akron students countered with shirts that said "Kent State rhymes with gay".

Origin of the "Zips" nickname

One of the unique nicknames in all of intercollegiate athletics belongs to The University of Akron.

Originally Zippers, athletic director Kenneth Red Cochrane officially shortened the nickname to the Zips in 1950. Twenty-five years earlier a campus-wide contest had been conducted to choose a nickname for the University's athletic teams.

Suggestions submitted by students, faculty, and alumni included Golden Blue Devils, Tip Toppers, Rubbernecks, Hillbillies, Kangaroos, and Cheveliers. The winner, freshman Margaret Hamlin, received a prize of $10 for Zippers - a $6 pair of rubber overshoes and a brand name of the BF Goodrich Company.

Origin of Mascot "Zippy"

"Zippy" the kangaroo was officially declared The University of Akron's mascot on May 1, 1953. Chair of a committee to suggest a mascot, All-American Zip diver Bob Savoy recommended the kangaroo and it was approved by the student council.

At first much resentment and apathy surrounded the decision, which was made without the benefit of a campuswide vote. Defenders of the kangaroo countered with, "it is an animal that is fast, agile and powerful with undying determination - all the necessary qualities of an athlete."

Pete Demming appeared as the first "Zippy" kangaroo at the inaugural Acme-Zip football game in 1954.

Now fully accepted and an integral part of UA's athletics program, "Zippy" is revered by alumni and loved by children.

Zippy won the 2007 Capital One mascot of the year.
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Old 11-24-2008, 01:19 AM   #4
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Default Re: Farewell to an old friend...

Been to the Rubber Bowl a few times when Marshall was a member of the MAC. I actually have seen worse stadums out there. A new staduim can be luxoriuousbut nothing replaces memories.
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Old 11-24-2008, 03:26 AM   #5
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Default Re: Farewell to an old friend...

Originally Posted by revefsreleets View Post

Pete Demming appeared as the first "Zippy" kangaroo at the inaugural Acme-Zip football game in 1954.

When Acme, a kangaroo, and a name of Zippy appear all in a sentence, I am FULLY expecting Wile E. Coyote to be around the corner.

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