University of Toledo head football coach Tom Amstutz announced that he will step down as head football coach at the end of this season and will assume a position with the University as the director of special projects in the Alumni Relations Office beginning in January.
The Rockets have four more games left to play this season, including Wednesday night’s contest at Akron. The season finale is Nov. 28 vs. Bowling Green at the Glass Bowl.
"I felt the time was right for me to announce that I will be passing the torch at the end of the season and moving on to some new challenges," said Amstutz, 53, a UT alumnus who has spent almost 33 years at UT as a player, assistant coach and head coach. "I love the University of Toledo and have enjoyed my eight seasons as head football coach. I now look forward to continue serving UT in my new capacity in the Alumni Office.
"I enjoyed every aspect of being a head coach. I will remember sharing great victories with the players, singing the UT fight song and passing around championship trophies with them. But I also remember encouraging them after tough losses, telling them I still believed in them and was still proud of them."
UT Athletic Director Mike O’Brien praised Amstutz’s accomplishments as a coach and as a mentor.
"Tom Amstutz has been one of the most successful football coaches in the history of Toledo football, and he leaves behind a legacy of tremendous accomplishments on the field," said O’Brien. "But Tom has been more than just a football coach to our players. He genuinely cares about them as individuals and is committed to their development as young men.”
Amstutz has compiled a 57-38 record in his eight seasons as head coach, winning Mid-American Conference championships in 2001 and 2004, and MAC West Division crowns in 2002 and 2005. He led his team to four bowl appearances, including victories in the 2001 Motor City Bowl and the 2005 GMAC Bowl.
Even though Amstutz is leaving, continuing on at Toledo will be 6-0, 265 pound offensive lineman Jeff Chambers (Oak Harbor), who is a freshman with the Rockets this season.
Another local football talent competing nearby in the Mid-American Conference is Bowling Green long snapper Craig Rutherford (Eastwood), who has already earned two letters with the Falcons and is working on number three.
Rutherford played in 10 games last year serving as the team's long snapper on field goal and extra-point attempts. As a freshman, he played in one game against Buffalo when the starting long snapper was injured.
The son of veteran Eastwood coach Jerry Rutherford, the 5-11, 204 pound junior from Pemberville joined the BGSU football team (4-5, 2-3 MAC) as they began a search for their first winning streak in Athens, Ohio, for a showdown with the Ohio University Bobcats (2-7, 1-4 MAC) Saturday.
Another college football hopeful is Mount Union quarterback Hank Taylor (Cardinal Stritch/Anthony Wayne). The 6-3, 185 Taylor is on the freshman team’s roster at Mount Union this season.
Mount Union College's varsity team remains ranked No. 1 in the nation in this week's American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Top 25 Coaches Poll. Mount Union, 8-0 overall this season, received 39 of the 40 first place votes in the poll.
Senior Zach Floro (Woodmore), a 6-3, 165 pound punter, and 6-3, 290 pound junior offensive/defensive lineman Jordan Wolpert (Gibsonburg) are playing for Defiance College this season. Defiance was 2-6 overall and 2-3 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference and was gunning for its third-straight win when it hosted Mount St. Joseph (5-3, 3-3 HCAC) Saturday. The game will be the final home contest for DC in the 2008 campaign.