Posted by Terrence Dalton
The Rotary Club of Akron had the pleasure of listening to Charles Guthrie at our Tuesday, August 2nd meeting.  Mr. Guthrie is the Athletic Director for the University of Akron.  He has held this position since July 1, 2021.  
Guthrie comes to Akron from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he served as director of athletics since late 2017. At Green Bay, Guthrie led a department of coaches, staff and more that 240 student-athletes competing in 14 NCAA Division I athletic programs as a member of the Horizon League Conference.  At Green Bay, his responsibilities included strategic, operational and financial planning; extensive external relations and fundraising programs in coordination with University Advancement; compliance and academic achievement; staff and coach development; and relationship building with campus and community constituents.
Mr. Guthrie began his presentation identifying many of the great things that are occurring at the University.  During his brief tenure at the University, he has been charged with recruiting six new coaches. 
One of his first hires was Joe Moorhead, who is returning to the University after several years coaching at other universities.   Mr. Guthrie stated that Coach Moorhead was rated as the #1 hire by ESPN for football coaches in 2021.
Mr. Guthrie is also looking forward to great things with the University’s basketball team.  Six of seven players will be returning for this year after experiencing a MAC championship this past year. Three of the returning players are pursuing their MBA.
Soccer has several returning players and have recruited some very talented new players.
He is looking for a new Track coach. The past coach retired after many years at the University of Akron.  The University has been refurbishing the track field and is encouraging Akron residents to take advantage of running on the track as a community attraction.
With the return of Baseball at the University, Mr. Guthrie has recruited a new baseball coach from OSU who has 12 years coaching experience.
Mr. Guthrie has also recruited a softball coach from Arizona State.
The University is replacing the artificial turf at InfoCision stadium after thirteen years of use.  He encouraged Rotarians to come to the stadium and root on the Zips this Fall.
In addition to Mr. Guthrie’s commitment to athletics, he is also adamant about his athletes excelling academically.  While he was pleased to see the overall average GPA is 3.0 for the athletes, he intends to work on raising that overall GPA.
Mr. Guthrie also discussed the challenges coaches are experiencing with the NCAA decision that athletes can ask to be paid as athletes.  He is hoping changes can be made that allow athletes to be able to “sell themselves” as an athlete for activities outside of their actual playing time.  His concern is the ability of small schools to retain athletes who wish to pursue the money route and “go where the money is.”
Mr. Guthrie answered many questions during the Q & A portion of his presentation.  I encourage readers to listen to his presentation.  My written comments can’t match the enthusiasm exhibited in Mr. Guthrie’s presentation.  The University and the Akron community are fortunate to have an individual like Mr. Guthrie as the Athletic Director at the University of Akron.