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Football player named Second-Team Academic All-America

Toledo senior wide receiver Cody Thompson has been named to the Google Cloud Academic All-America Second Team by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

He is Toledo’s first Academic All-American since Dan Molls earned First-Team honors in 2012.

Thompson, who earned Academic All-District honors in 2017, graduated last December with a 3.66 GPA in marketing. He is pursuing his master’s degree in recreation and leisure and holds a 3.83 graduate GPA.

Thompson has 43 receptions for 592 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, earning first-team All-Mid-American Conference honors for the second time in his career. He is Toledo’s all-time leader in career TD receptions (30) and ranks second all-time in receiving yards (3,257).

The native of Huron, Ohio, was a first-team All-MAC selection in 2016, catching 64 passes for a then school-record 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has been on the official watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the top receiver in the country, in each of the past two seasons.

This season, Thompson also was a candidate for the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year, the Wuerffel Trophy, the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award, and the NCAA Senior CLASS Award.

Thompson will play his final game as a Rocket when Toledo takes on Florida International University in the 2018 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl Friday, Dec. 21.

Rockets vault into top 10 of Collegeinsider.com top 25 poll

Toledo moved into the Top-10 of the collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll released Monday evening after extending its winning streak to five games last week.

UT was ranked No. 16 in last week’s poll before rising seven places in the weekly ranking.

Toledo is ranked No. 9 in the Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll.

The Rockets’ home victories over North Alabama (80-59) Nov. 28 and Cleveland State (80-67) Dec. 1 improved UT’s win-loss mark to 7-1 this season.

The last time Toledo posted wins in seven of its first eight contests was when it registered a 12-0 start in the 2013-14 campaign. In addition, UT’s .875 winning percentage is tied for 15th best in the nation.

The Rockets’ highest ranking ever in the Mid-Major poll is No. 2 on Dec. 30, 2013.

Toledo will conclude its three-game homestand Wednesday, Dec. 5, against Detroit Mercy. UT will visit Marshall Saturday, Dec. 8, before playing its next four contests in Savage Arena.

Toledo led MAC in football attendance in 2018

The University of Toledo finished No. 1 in the Mid-American Conference in home football attendance for the second consecutive season with an average of 21,352 fans per game in 2018, well above the MAC average of 15,532.

The Rockets totaled 149,462 fans in seven home games. The season-high mark was 28,117 vs. Miami (Fla.) Sept. 15.

The Rockets averaged more than 21,000 fans per game in 2018; this included a capacity crowd of 28,117 vs. Miami (Fla.) Sept. 15.

Seating capacity for the Glass Bowl is 26,038. Toledo averaged 20,745 fans in 2017, also tops in the MAC.

The Rockets also sold 11,830 season tickets in 2018, a 13.8 percent increase from the 10,388 season tickets sold in 2017.

“We are very thankful for the Toledo community for another year of great support for our football program,” said Dave Nottke, deputy director of athletics. “In addition to experiencing another successful season on the field, our fans were able to enjoy all the fun and excitement of game day at the Glass Bowl. Our pre-game Stadium Drive Live concerts, in-game promotions, halftime entertainment and great traditions like the UT Marching Band make Rocket football one of the best college football atmospheres in the country.”

Toledo’s 2019 schedule will feature six home games, including a Sept. 28 matchup with Brigham Young University. The Rockets also will host Northern Illinois and Western Michigan among their four conference home games.

UT LGBTQA+ Alumni Affiliate to hold brunch fundraiser Dec. 9

The University of Toledo LGBTQA+ Alumni Affiliate will hold a brunch Sunday, Dec. 9, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Packo’s at the Park, 7 S. Superior St.

The brunch is a fundraiser to help support activities and events for the LGBTQA+ Alumni Affiliate.

The cost to attend is $15 per person for ages 11 and older, while children 10 and younger are $5.99 each. Packo’s will donate 20 percent of the proceeds to the new alumni affiliate.

“Proceeds will benefit the LGBTQA+ Alumni Affiliate,” Samantha Marchal, assistant director of alumni engagement, said. “With the help of a board of volunteers, the affiliate funds help to create scholarships, programming, educational opportunities, and social activities for UT alumni and students.”

Register for the event on the UT Alumni Association website.

Friends are welcome to attend the next LGBTQA+ Alumni Affiliate meeting Monday, Jan. 28, at 6 p.m., in Tucker Hall Room 0152.

“Our goal is to encourage a spirit of unity, and we are happy to be that tie between LGBTQA+ alumni and their alma mater,” Marchal said. “This event is just one of many opportunities to strengthen that tie, and we hope to meet many of our alumni and friends on December 9.”

To stay up-to-date on LGBTQA+ news and events, join the LGBTQA+ Alumni Affiliate on Facebook.

Attorney appointed to UT Board of Trustees

A partner in the national law firm BakerHostetler has been appointed to The University of Toledo Board of Trustees.

Daniel J. Guttman, who focuses his practice in employment litigation and labor relations, was named by Ohio Gov. John Kasich to a term ending July 1, 2021. He will complete the remaining years of the trustee position vacated by F. Patrick “Pat” D’Eramo.

Guttman

“I appreciate this opportunity to serve The University of Toledo and contribute to the positive momentum of an institution that plays such an important role in the Toledo community and state of Ohio,” Guttman said.

Guttman has been an attorney with BakerHostetler since 1997 and serves as the business development leader of the firm’s Columbus office. He represents private and public entities in a variety of litigation, internal investigation, risk management, organization governance and traditional labor matters. Guttman serves as the chief labor negotiator for the state of Ohio. His clients range from Fortune 500 companies to entrepreneurs to sophisticated political subdivisions. His experience in higher education includes serving on the National Council of Advisors to the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

He is named in “Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” in the area of labor and employment and in “The Best Lawyers in America” for litigation — labor and employment.

“As a well-respected partner in a very prestigious law firm, Dan will provide valuable strategic counsel on the issues affecting public higher education,” said Mary Ellen Pisanelli, chair of the UT Board of Trustees. “We look forward to the diverse perspective his expertise will add to the board.”

Murray Guttman, the new trustee’s father, was inducted into The University of Toledo Varsity ‘T’ Hall of Fame in 2002. A member of the class of 1957, he was a two-sport star in basketball and baseball serving as the captain of both teams during his senior year. Dan’s mother, Joanne Massey Guttman, worked for 10 years as a staff member in the UT Mathematics Department.

Dan Guttman received his JD from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in Bloomington.

New director named for LaunchPad Incubation

A new director of the LaunchPad Incubation Program has been named to continue The University of Toledo’s support of technology commercialization and regional economic development.

Brian Genide, a UT graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, brings more than 15 years of experience in business development and entrepreneurship to the University’s incubation program.

Genide

He comes to UT most recently from ProMedica Innovations, where he worked as a venture partner for the NextTech Ohio Entrepreneurial Services Provider project assisting scientists and physicians in developing innovations into commercial ventures that are prepared to raise capital for company expansion.

“UT is an important contributor to the region’s growth and development with a strong reputation for its support for Toledo’s economic development,” Genide said. “I am excited to join the University to lead its LaunchPad Incubation Program that assists innovative and high-tech companies in our community.”

“Brian’s experience working with bioscience and medical device companies is a great asset to UT and greater Toledo,” said Dr. Frank Calzonetti, UT vice president for research and chair of the board of NextTech Ohio. “I am excited to bring Brian to UT to join a very successful technology transfer and business commercialization team. UT is committed to supporting technology-based startups in northwest Ohio, and Brian brings the experience and connections to continue our success in this area.”

Genide’s career also includes serving as the CEO of Gottfried Medical, where he oversaw a staff of 40 that had annual revenues in excess of $3 million. He brings additional experience from business development positions at Rocket Ventures, Siemens Medical, Abbot Vascular Devices and SonoSite.

As director of LaunchPad Incubation, Genide will work with existing tenants in UT’s Nitschke Commercialization Center and its Laboratory Incubation Center, as well as recruit new companies, both from UT and the community, into the incubation program.

Genide also will serve as UT’s lead on the NextTech Ohio ESP program. The program, managed by JumpStart of Cleveland, includes collaborators ProMedica Innovations, Mercy Health Toledo and Bowling Green State University.

Rocket named MAC Football Special Teams Player of the Year

Eight Rockets earned 10 All-Mid-American Conference selections, including three first-team nods, and junior wide receiver Diontae Johnson also was named the Special Teams Player of the Year.

For the second straight season, Johnson earned all-conference honors and did so at three different positions: wide receiver (first-team), punt returner (first-team) and kickoff returner (second-team).

Senior wide receiver Cody Thompson also was named a first-team selection.

Joining the two receivers as All-MAC honorees were offensive lineman Bryce Harris (second team), tight end Reggie Gilliam (second team), wide receiver Jon’Vea Johnson (third team), kicker Jameson Vest (third team), defensive end Tuzar Skipper (third team) and safety Josh Teachey (third team).

Diontae Johnson has become arguably the most dangerous return man in the league. He leads the MAC with an average punt return of 18.3 yards, and he is second in kickoff return average at 25.8 yards per attempt. He is the only player in the conference to return a punt and kickoff for a touchdown this season. As a receiver, he is tied for the team lead with 43 receptions, leads UT with 663 receiving yards, and has seven touchdown catches.

For his career, Diontae Johnson has averaged 23.4 yards per kickoff return, which would put him third all-time in UT history, and he is just the second Rocket ever to have at least two punt return TDs and two kickoff return TDs (Lance Moore, 2001-2004). He is the fourth player in program history to be named the top special teams player in the MAC, joining Jeremiah Detmer (2013), Eric Page (2010) and Jason Robbins (2005).

Joining Diontae Johnson on the MAC’s first team is Thompson, who also was a first-team selection in 2016, is tied for the team lead with 43 receptions totaling 592 yards, and leads the Rockets with 10 touchdown catches. He has spent this season climbing in the Toledo record book, where he ranks atop the career touchdown reception list with 30. Thompson is second all-time with 3,257 receiving yards and second in yards per reception (18.5). Off the field, he earned Academic All-District honors for the second straight season.

Harris was named a second-team recipient, his first All-MAC honor. The Rockets’ starting center, Harris has helped pave the way for an offense that ranks second in the MAC in scoring (41.1), total offense (448.5) and rushing (223.6).

Gilliam joined Harris on the second team, and it is also the first all-conference honor of his career. Gilliam has been Toledo’s starting tight end for much of the season and ranks third on the team with three touchdown receptions. He has been an absolute force on special teams, where he leads the country in blocked kicks (four).

Jon’Vea Johnson was one of four Rockets to earn third-team All-MAC distinctions. He ranks second on the team with 611 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, and third with 29 receptions. He leads Toledo in average yards per catch (21.1), a figure that ranks fifth in the country. This is his second All-MAC award; he was a second-team honoree in 2016.

Vest is an All-MAC recipient for the second straight season, landing on the third team. He leads the MAC in scoring (8.6 points per game) and has cemented himself in Toledo football lore, breaking the school records for career field goals made (71) and extra points made (227). He is 14 for 19 on field goals this season, including 4 of 5 from 40 yards or longer.

Skipper was one of two UT defensive players to be placed on the All-MAC squad. A first-time honoree, Skipper has tallied 52 tackles this season and leads Toledo with 8.5 sacks, which rank third in the MAC. His 10.5 tackles for loss rank second on the team, and he leads the Rockets with four QB hurries and two fumble recoveries.

Teachey rounds out Toledo’s All-MAC selections with his first career all-conference accolade. He is fourth on the team with 54 tackles and is among the tops in the conference with 11 pass breakups. He leads the Rockets’ defensive backs with four tackles for loss.

Success story: UT alum, Grypmat inventor to speak Nov. 29

An alumnus of both The University of Toledo and its LaunchPad Incubation Program, whose invention called the Grypmat is on the cover of Time magazine’s “Best Inventions of 2018” issue, is returning to his alma mater to inspire future entrepreneurs.

Tom Burden, who graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology, will speak at a free, public event Thursday, Nov. 29, at 6 p.m. in the Launchpad Incubator Space on the second floor of Nitschke Technology Commercialization Complex at 1510 N. Westwood Ave. Networking will start at 5:30 p.m.

The UT Engineering Leadership Institute is hosting the discussion titled “Idea to Invention of the Year.”

“Tom’s success with the Grypmat is incredible,” UT Vice President for Research Frank Calzonetti said. “We are proud of what he has accomplished as an entrepreneur, but not surprised. He won UT’s Pitch & Pour competition while he was a student here, and he also returned last year to serve as a judge for the annual business pitch contest.”

Burden was recently listed in Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30, and the Grypmat was named one of Time magazine’s Best Inventions of the Year.

He plans to discuss his experience taking his product idea to market, including how he landed a deal on ABC’s “Shark Tank” and built a team.

“The University of Toledo and the city of Toledo have many opportunities that I used to make my way to where I am now,” Burden said. “I am passionate about education, helping future generations of entrepreneurs, and giving back to the people who supported me.”

The Grypmat, which Burden designed as a solution to mechanics frustrated by their tools sliding off aircraft while they work, is a flexible, non-slip tool mat made of a unique polymer-silicone blend that helps grip tools and keep them in place at extreme angles of up to 70 degrees.

The product is popular with aircraft, boat and car mechanics. Burden also said he is working with NASA for its use on spaceships.

Bowl ticket orders may be placed through Dec. 14

See you at the 2018 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl! The University of Toledo announced ticket information for the game, which will be played Friday, Dec. 21, at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time at Thomas A. Robinson Stadium in Nassau.

The Rockets (7-5, 5-3 Mid-American Conference) will play Florida International University (8-4, 6-2 Conference USA). The game will be televised on ESPN.

All tickets are $50. Ticket orders are being taken online at the UT Rockets bowl website, by phone or in person at the UT Athletic Ticket Office in Savage Arena.

Tickets may be picked up at the UT Athletic Ticket Office beginning Thursday, Dec. 6. Tickets also will be for sale at the ticket window beginning Tuesday, Dec. 4. Tickets can be purchased through UT through Friday, Dec. 14, at 5 p.m.

In addition, the UT Alumni Engagement Office will sponsor a pregame reception Friday, Dec. 21, from 10 a.m. to noon at the stadium. The menu will feature an island-theme and be served in the shade of a tent. The cost is $35 per person and includes two drink tickets.

The Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl has a number of hotel partners, with some limited-time special rates available. Rocket fans are encouraged to work directly with these hotels to make reservations or to check with their travel agent or online booking agent to secure packages.

For more information, including the list of hotels, go to the UT Alumni Association website or call 1.800.235.6766 or 419.530.2586 (ALUM).

Information on how to order bowl tickets is listed below. For questions, call the UT Athletic Ticket Office at 419.530.GOLD (4653).

How to order:

• Online: Fans may order tickets online on the UT Rockets bowl website (online fees apply).

• UT Ticket Office: Tickets will be available for purchase in person Tuesday, Dec. 4, at the UT Ticket Office in the Sullivan Athletic Complex, which is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Telephone: Fans may order by telephone through the UT Ticket Office with a Visa, MasterCard, Discover Card or American Express by calling 419.530.GOLD (4653). All tickets will be held in Will Call. Ticket orders will be assessed a $6 per order processing fee.

Will Call information:

• UT Ticket Office: Ticket pickup will take place from Thursday, Dec. 6, through Friday, Dec. 14, at 5 p.m.

• Tickets not picked up at the UT Athletic Ticket Office can be picked up at Thomas A. Robinson Stadium on game day beginning at 10 a.m. outside the Western Grandstand (press box) side of the stadium.

• When picking up tickets, you must present your ID and the major credit card used to purchase the tickets.

Rockets accept invitation to play in Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl

The University of Toledo has accepted an invitation to play Florida International University of Conference USA in the 2018 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl at Thomas A. Robinson Stadium in Nassau.

The game will be played Friday, Dec. 21, at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time and will be televised on ESPN.

“We are very excited to accept an invitation to play in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl,” said UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. “We are looking forward to working with the staff at the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl as we participate in their outstanding bowl.

“This will be our first trip to the Bahamas, and we are looking forward to a terrific bowl experience against a very fine FIU team,” he said. “I also want to congratulate Head Coach Jason Candle, his staff and our entire Rocket football team for earning their eighth bowl invitation in the last nine years.”

Candle said the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl will be a well-earned reward for his team.

“The Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl will provide our team with an outstanding bowl experience, as well as the opportunity to play against a very tough FIU team,” Candle said. “We are looking forward to a great matchup. Playing in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl is an excellent reward for our players, coaches, fans, and everyone who has played a part in the success of our program.”

The Rockets (7-5, 5-3 Mid-American Conference) finished tied for second place in the West Division of the MAC. Toledo has a streak of nine consecutive winning seasons and will be attending its eight bowl in the past nine years. UT is 11-6 all-time in bowl games.

FIU (8-4, 6-2 Conference USA) finished tied for second place in the East Division of the conference. The Golden Panthers lead the all-time series over Toledo, 2-1, including a 34-32 win in the 2010 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, the most recent meeting between the two programs.

Rockets fans may purchase tickets for the game form the UT Athletic Ticket Office. Information on placing orders for tickets will be announced later this week.

Fans wishing to purchase rooms at the host resort for the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl, the Atlantis Bahamas, can do so at the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl website.