What Is A Zip?

The Origin of the “Zips” Nickname

The University of Akron ‘ZIPS’ is one of the more unique nicknames in college sports today. With the Zips’ more recent athletic success, it is not uncommon for a U of A sports fan to get an inquisitive look usually followed by the question, “Excuse me, but what exactly is a ‘Zip’?”.

The original nickname was the ‘Zippers’ named after a rubber shoe popular in the early 1900′s made by the BF Goodrich Company. With Akron being the rubber capital of the world, it seemed fitting to use a nickname with a local flair. The name was determined by a campus-wide contest conducted by the college newspaper. Some of the names submitted by the students and alumni included the Golden Blue Devils, Tip Toppers, Rubbernecks, Hillbilies, Kangaroos, and Cheveliers. The winner was Margaret Hamlin who received a prize of $10.

When the zipper replaced the button-fly in a common pair of pants, it became apparent that the University should reconsider the nickname. In 1950, athletic director Kenneth ‘Red’ Cochrane officially shortened the nickname to the ‘Zips’.

OK, so what about Zippy?

zippy-transp“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 campus wide 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.

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portions from www.gozips.com