November 27, 2011
It was Saturday when Rob Ianello got the phone call: After two dismal seasons and an ugly loss in Friday's season finale, he was no longer the head coach at Akron.
The timing couldn't have been worse — he was traveling to Eastern New York with his wife and children to attend the funeral of his mother, Rita, who died Tuesday — but the news couldn't have been much of a surprise.
"Ultimately, we need to win more games," Akron athletic director Tom Wistrcill said Saturday night during a news conference to announce the decision. "It's not all about winning. There are lots of things that go in it.
"Certainly, we didn't feel the program was headed in the direction we wanted it to. Winning was a factor in the decision."
Ianello was 2-22 in his two seasons with the Zips and this year ended with a 66-19 beatdown at the hands of Western Michigan on Friday. The Zips only win this season came against FCS opponent Virginia Military Institute and its only other win was against Buffalo in last year's season finale.
Ianello is owed $300,000 per year through 2014, though Wistrcill said the two sides are still negotiating terms. According to the Akron Beacon Journal, a provision in Ianello's contract allows the university to negotiate a settlement for at least half of his base salary for the final three years.
Ianello came to Akron after spending five seasons as the wide receivers coach at Notre Dame. Coaches from that particular Notre Dame regime haven't exactly fared well since leaving the Irish. Offensive coordinator Mike Haywood won a MAC title at Miami-Ohio and landed the Pitt job before being arrested on domestic violence charges on New Years Eve and promptly fired from Pitt. Former defensive coordinator Corwin Brown was charged with three felonies, including holding his wife hostage with a handgun, and shot himself in the torso during a seven-hour standoff with police in August.
"Disappointed because we had high hopes for him. I think he is a good football coach. I think we have good football coaches on our staff," Wistrcill said. "It's disappointing because you want to see it work.
"It has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with our student-athletes because I want to see them succeed and they weren't succeeding."