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Interim head football coach named, search launched

University of Toledo Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien announced that Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Jon Heacock will serve as the Rockets’ interim head football coach, replacing Matt Campbell who was named the new head coach at Iowa State University today.

O’Brien said that a national search for Campbell’s permanent replacement will begin immediately.

“We wish Matt and his family the very best in their future life at Iowa State,” O’Brien said. “Matt did an outstanding job in his seven years with the Rockets, four as the head coach. His leadership of the student-athletes on our football team has been exemplary, and he leaves our football program in very good shape for our next head coach.



“We will begin our search for a new head coach immediately. There is no timetable for the hiring, but obviously with recruiting coming up, we want to move quickly. In the meantime, we are pleased that Jon Heacock will be leading our team on an interim basis. Jon has done a great job guiding our defense the past two years, and we look forward to his leadership as we prepare for a bowl game.”

O’Brien added that Campbell indicated that the current Toledo assistant coaches will be available to coach the Rockets for their bowl game. Toledo’s bowl assignment will be announced Sunday, Dec. 6.

Campbell, who turns 36 years old today, was 35-15 in four seasons as head coach of the Rockets, 24-8 in Mid-American Conference play. The Rockets were 9-2 this season, and were ranked as high as No. 19 by the Associated Press at one point this year.

Campbell also served as the Rockets’ offensive coordinator from 2009 to 2011 under former head coach Tim Beckman. Campbell took over as head coach after Beckman assumed the head coaching position at Illinois. Campbell’s first game as head coach was a 42-41 victory over Air Force in the 2011 Military Bowl. Campbell also led UT to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in 2012 and to the GoDaddy Bowl last season. The Rockets triumphed in the GoDaddy Bowl, 63-44, over Arkansas State.

Heacock, a 31-year veteran of the college football coaching ranks, has helped shape Toledo’s defense into one of the best in the Mid-American Conference. The Rockets rank No. 1 in the MAC scoring defense (21.1 points per game) and second in rushing defense (115.5 yards per game) this season. In 2014, the Rockets were No. 1 in the MAC in rushing defense (116.2 yards per game) after ranking fifth in that category (170.4) in 2013, as well as ranking seventh in scoring defense (28.6 points per game), the season prior to Heacock’s arrival.

A former graduate assistant at UT under Dan Simrell in 1983, Heacock returned to Toledo in 2014 after spending one season as the defensive backs coach at Purdue. Prior to that, he was the defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach at Kent State in 2011 and 2012.

Prior to joining KSU in 2011, Heacock spent nine seasons as the head coach at Youngstown State, which included a 2006 run to the national semifinals in the Football Championship Subdivision. He was named the Gateway Conference Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2006, and ended his tenure with a 60-44 overall record. He also was named the American Football Coaches Association’s Division I-AA Region Four Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2006, and was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award.

In addition to serving as the head coach at YSU, Heacock served as the Penguins’ defensive coordinator under Jim Tressel for six years (1992 to 1996, 2000) and defensive backs coach for an additional year (1991), which included Division I-AA national championships in 1991, 1993 and 1994. In between his stints on the YSU staff, Heacock served as the defensive coordinator at Indiana from 1997 to 1999.

A native of Beloit, Ohio, Heacock graduated from West Branch High School in 1979. He played college football at Muskingum College, graduating in 1983 with a degree in health and physical education.

Heacock, 55, and his wife Trescia, a registered nurse, have two children, son Jace and daughter Adelyn.

Rockets back in Top 25, move up to No. 24 in AP Poll

After a two-week absence, the Toledo Rockets are back in the Top 25. Following a 44-28 victory over Bowling Green Nov. 17, the Rockets moved up to No. 24 in the latest Associated Press media poll with 123 points, one spot ahead of Temple and one behind Mississippi State.

Toledo also received 69 points in the latest USA Today coaches poll, good for an unofficial ranking of No. 27.

Rocket football logoThe Rockets were ranked in the Top 25 for five weeks this season from Oct. 4-Nov.1, rising as high as No. 19 in the AP poll and No. 20 in the coaches poll before a loss to Northern Illinois Nov. 3 knocked them out of the Top 25.

Toledo (9-1, 6-1 Mid-American Conference) will host Western Michigan (6-5, 5-2 MAC) Friday, Nov. 27, with a chance to earn at least a share of the MAC West Division crown. The game will start at noon in the Glass Bowl. For tickets, click here.

Distinguished University Professor featured on business skills DVD from The Great Courses

Dr. Clinton O. Longenecker, Stranahan Distinguished University Professor and director of the Center for Leadership and Organizational Excellence in the UT College of Business and Innovation, is one of five business professors from top U.S. business schools featured in the recently released Critical Business Skills for Success Lecture Series published by The Great Courses.

For 25 years, The Great Courses has been producing audios, videos, CDs and DVDs featuring the world’s best professors on topics in the fields of science, mathematics, history, fine arts, music, religion, philosophy, literature, finance and more.



Ryan Davis, a recruiter from The Great Courses, said, “The Great Courses selects only the top 1 percent of professors in the world to share their knowledge with our worldwide customer base of adult learners.”

“Everyone wants to know: What does it take to reach success in business, the kind of success that lasts? It all comes down to a solid grasp of the fundamentals of business — the same kind that are taught to MBA students in many of the world’s most prestigious business schools, including our own,” Longenecker said.

The comprehensive Great Courses five-part, 60-lecture course, Critical Business Skills for Success, is designed to give people this kind of integrated, accessible introduction. Each of the Critical Business Skills for Success course’s five parts is a detailed look at a particular skill: strategy, operations, finance and accounting, organizational behavior, and marketing.

Longenecker’s sections focus on organizational behavior and high performance leadership.

“The Great Courses Series has an exceptional following among lifelong learners as they draw talent from the best schools from around the world,” Longenecker said. “Their lecture series are developed with amazing professors from universities such as Harvard, Michigan, Yale, Duke, Ohio State, UCLA, Emory and others. To have The University of Toledo included in these circles in a series with worldwide distribution is a wonderful thing.”

He added, “I also think that the ideas shared in Great Courses programs are more powerful than ideas being included in a book, primarily because of the reach and the powerful learning associated with great and dynamic lectures and with these topics being available on DVDs, CDs, streaming.”

The lectures were recorded late last year, and the Critical Business Skills Series was released worldwide in the spring.

“This kind of well-rounded business education is useful to anyone who works in a company of any size,” said Longenecker, who was named by The Economist as one of the top 15 business professors in the world. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master of business administration degree from UT in 1977 and 1978, respectively.

The CD and DVD versions include 60 lectures, a 496-page printed course guidebook, and a downloadable PDF of the course guidebook. The program is available at GreatCourses.com.

Law professor elected vice chair of American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution

UT Law Professor Benjamin G. Davis was elected vice chair of the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution at the organization’s annual meeting in August in Chicago.

The Section of Dispute Resolution, established in 1993, has more than 18,000 members and is a global leader in dispute resolution. As number three in command, Davis will help to manage and develop the section’s work.



“Enhancing peaceful means of dispute resolution at the local, state, national and international levels is what the section and its members do in their remarkable work,” Davis said. “I am deeply honored to have this opportunity to help dispute resolution progress and to bring back that experience to my students.”

Davis has spoken on dispute resolution issues around the world and is published widely across a number of academic disciplines. He led the creation of fast-track international commercial arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce. He has been an early innovator in the development of online dispute resolution, creating an international law student moot court in online negotiation, online mediation, online arbitration and online litigation from 2000 to 2005, and a symposium on the topic of online dispute resolution published in The University of Toledo Law Review in 2006. He is a fellow of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts.

Before teaching, Davis worked in Paris for 17 years. Most of that time was as American legal counsel of the International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration. There, he directly or indirectly supervised more than 5,000 international commercial arbitrations and mediations, and developed training programs on international trade topics for professionals around the world.

Davis also recently was appointed to serve on the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security.

He received a bachelor of arts degree from Harvard College and is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School.

Football player named semifinalist for Wuerffel Trophy

Senior tight end Alex Zmolik is one of eight national semifinalists for the 2015 Wuerffel Trophy.

The Wuerffel Trophy, known as college football’s premier award for community service, is presented annually by the All Sports Association in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Named after Danny Wuerffel, the 1996 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback from the University of Florida, the award is given to the Football Bowl Subdivision player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.



Zmolik is a three-year starter for the Rockets. He has five receptions for 48 yards this season. He had 16 receptions in 2014, including a career-best six catches in Toledo’s 63-44 victory in the GoDaddy Bowl.

Zmolik, who earned Academic All-MAC honors in 2014, is a marketing major with a 3.40 grade point average. He is the Rockets’ team leader for Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Athletes in Action activities. He also volunteers at the Boys & Girls Club of Toledo a few times each month.

During this past spring break, Zmolik traveled to Nicaragua, where he volunteered for a mission trip, one of numerous such trips he has made in his lifetime.

He is also a nominee for the All State Good Works Team.

The other 2015 Wuerffel Trophy semifinalists, listed alphabetically by university: Spencer Drango, Baylor University, senior, offensive line
; Ross Martin, Duke University, senior, kicker; Nate Sudfeld, Indiana University, senior, quarterback; 
Landon Foster, University of Kentucky, senior, punter; 
Garrett Adcock, University of New Mexico, junior, offensive line
; Corey Robinson, University of Notre Dame, junior, wide receiver; and Ty Darlington, University of Oklahoma, senior, offensive line

Voting for the Wuerffel Trophy is performed by a National Selection Committee that includes college football television and print media, industry notables, former head coaches and prior Wuerffel Trophy recipients.

Three finalists will be announced Tuesday, Nov. 24, and the formal announcement of the 2015 Wuerffel Trophy recipient will be made Tuesday, Dec. 8, at the National Football Foundation’s press conference in New York City. The presentation of the trophy will take place at the 47th Annual All Sports Association Awards Banquet Feb. 12 in Fort Walton Beach.

Faculty member participates in White House Summit to enhance high school experience

A UT faculty member participated in the first White House Summit on Next Generation Schools last week to share the University’s work with area high school students to improve their scientific inquiry skills.

Dr. Beth Schlemper, associate professor in the UT Department of Geography and Planning, was invited to the event to speak about a National Science Foundation-funded project that engages students in using geospatial technology to understand their communities and prepare for careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Dr. Beth Schlemper posed for a photo in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is next to the White House.

Dr. Beth Schlemper posed for a photo in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is next to the White House.

“If students can understand and apply the lessons to their own communities, they can see how they can use it in potential careers,” Schlemper said. “Geospatial technology is a fast-growing field, and introducing students to it in high school gives them an opportunity to think about careers spanning business, government and nonprofit sectors where neighborhood and community planning skills are essential.”

That type of authentic learning project was appealing to the White House staff, said Schlemper, who was one of a number of educators, students, philanthropists and entrepreneurs invited to Washington for the first-ever event to share their efforts to reinvent the high school experience to better empower students to seize opportunities in today’s economy, and prepare students for success in college and career.

Specifically, Schlemper was part of a group of presenters from institutions that support high schools tasked with discussing and making recommendations on the most important elements of redesigning high schools, how to scale up successful models, and how to build evidence to give policymakers the data needed to make changes.

“It was great to see so many government officials, as well as philanthropists and entrepreneurs, who are supportive of efforts underway to enhance high school education,” Schlemper said. “I like seeing we are not doing this alone and there are opportunities to collaborate. That was one of the greatest benefits of getting all of us together. We can see successful projects and how they have scaled them up to make a broader impact to inspire the work that we are doing.”

Schlemper, along with UT faculty members Dr. Kevin Czajkowski and Dr. Sujata Shetty of the Department of Geography and Planning and Dr. Victoria Stewart of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, earlier this year received a $581,000 grant through the National Science Foundation’s Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers, or ITEST, program for their geospatial curriculum project. They held a workshop with Scott High School students in the summer where the teens came up with topics to study, collected geographic information, and produced maps for civic action to address these issues. A similar workshop is being planned for summer 2016. As part of the research project, the team also will create a book and online curriculum for more teachers and students to incorporate similar field experiences into their classes.

Prior to the White House Summit on Next Generation Schools Nov. 10, Schlemper also participated in the National Science Foundation’s Next Generation STEM Learning for All Nov. 9.

Rockets blast by Falcons, 44-28, to win Battle of I-75

The Toledo Rockets fired up the offense and defense to put away the Bowling Green Falcons, 44-28, at Doyt Perry Stadium Tuesday night to retain the Battle of I-75 Trophy for the sixth straight season.

Junior running back Kareem Hunt ran for two touchdowns in Toledo's victory over Bowling Green.

Junior running back Kareem Hunt ran for two touchdowns in Toledo’s victory over Bowling Green.

It was all UT in the first quarter as the Rockets put 17 points on the scoreboard and never looked back in a game that was carried by ESPN2.

Senior cornerback Cheatham Norrils picked off BGSU quarterback Matt Johnson’s tipped pass to set up Toledo’s first score.

UT needed just four plays to go 27 yards to get into the end zone. Junior running back Kareem Hunt carried the ball five yards for his eighth touchdown of the season. Freshman placekicker James Vest added the extra point to make it 7-0.

After Toledo’s defense forced the Falcons to punt after three plays, the Rockets needed just three plays to go 67 yards to score again.

Senior wide receiver Alonzo Russell caught a 15-yard touchdown pass to help the Rockets retain the Battle of I-75 Trophy.

Senior wide receiver Alonzo Russell caught a 15-yard touchdown pass to help the Rockets retain the Battle of I-75 Trophy.

Hunt was off to the races with a 42-yard run that put UT deep into BG territory. Sophomore running back Terry Swanson then scampered 20 yards for a touchdown. Vest’s extra point was good to make it 14-0 less than five minutes into the game.

A 20-yard field goal by Vest made it 17-0 with 3:10 left in the opening stanza.

After BG quarterback Johnson’s 46-yard touchdown run was called back by a holding penalty, UT senior linebacker Chase Murdock forced a Falcon fumble, which was recovered by senior defensive end Trent Voss.

Senior quarterback Phillip Ely then threw a 47-yard strike to senior wide receiver Alonzo Russell to put the Rockets on the Falcons’ five-yard line. While that catch extended Russell’s streak to 48 games in a row with a reception, the Falcons were able to stop UT, which settled for a 22-yard field goal by Vest to push the lead to 20-0 at 14:19 mark in the second quarter.

Less than two minutes later, the Falcons found the end zone after a nine-play, 65-yard drive to make it 20-7.

The Rockets answered with a field goal after Ely’s 16-yard pass to junior tight end Mike Roberts and 26-yard completion to junior wide receiver Corey Jones. Vest came on to boot the ball 35 yards through the uprights to make it 23-7 midway through the second quarter.

Junior defensive end John Stepec then sacked BGSU’s quarterback and the Falcons punted; Corey Jones returned the ball 23 yards and a late hit gave UT another 15 yards. A three-play, 39-yard drive was capped by Hunt’s 11-yard TD run, his second score of the night. Vest’s extra point put the Rockets up 30-7.

Defensive end Trent Voss and the Toledo defense came up big in the victory. The Toledo tough D forced five Falcon turnovers.

Defensive end Trent Voss and the Toledo defense came up big in the victory. The Toledo tough D forced five Falcon turnovers.

The Falcons scored on a five-yard pass from Johnson thanks to a one-handed grab by Gehrig Dieter to cut the lead to 30-14 just before halftime.

The Rockets got the ball to start the second half, and BG intercepted a pass by Ely to give the Falcons possession on the UT 33-yard line. BGSU cashed in the turnover to draw closer, 30-21, at the 12:25 in the third quarter.

As momentum seemed to be tipping toward the home team, UT senior defensive end Allen Covington forced a fumble by Johnson, and the ball was scooped up by junior defensive back DeJuan Rogers, who ran to the BGSU eight-yard line.

Ely then scored on an eight-yard run to increase the Rockets’ lead, 37-21.

Senior cornerback Cheatham Norrils, who caught two interceptions during the game, hoisted the Battle of I-75 Trophy as the Rockets celebrated their big win.

Senior cornerback Cheatham Norrils, who caught two interceptions during the game, hoisted the Battle of I-75 Trophy as the Rockets celebrated their big win.

But the Falcons flew right back with an 11-yard pass from Johnson to Dieter to keep BGSU close, 37-28, with 8:03 to go in third quarter.

Ely and company then went to work again; the quarterback completed a 12-yard pass to Russell, a 15-yard pass to Corey Jones, and a 15-yard strike back to Russell to push the score to 44-28 with 8:38 left in the game.

BG turned the ball over for the fifth time with about a minute left in the game. Norrils pulled down his second interception of the night to put the game away for the Rockets.

UT improves to 9-1 and still has a shot at winning the West Division of the Mid-American Conference if Northern Illinois loses and the Rockets beat Western Michigan Friday, Nov. 27.

BGSU, now 8-3, already clinched the MAC East Division and will play in the conference championship game next month in Detroit.

For complete coverage, click here.

Toledo football offensive line named semifinalist for Joe Moore Award

The University of Toledo was named one of 20 semifinalists for the 2015 Joe Moore Award, which is given annually to the school with the top offensive line in college football.

Toledo is the only school from the Mid-American Conference to make the list and one of only two schools from a non-Power Five conference (Navy from the American Athletic Conference is the other).

Toledo's offensive line has allowed just two sacks this season in nine games.

Toledo’s offensive line has allowed just two sacks this season in nine games.

The Rockets have allowed just two sacks this season and are second in the MAC in rushing offense, averaging 216.2 yards per game.

The five Joe Moore Award finalists will be named Monday, Nov. 30, and the winner will be announced the week of Dec. 7.

The other schools and their records that earned a spot as semifinalists:
Alabama (9-1), 
Arkansas (6-4), 
Baylor (8-1), 
Clemson (10-0)
, Duke (6-4), 
Florida State (8-2), 
Iowa (10-0)
, LSU (7-2)
, Michigan State (9-1), 
Navy (8-1)
, North Carolina (9-1), 
Notre Dame (9-1), 
Ohio State (10-0)
, Oregon (7-3)
, Pittsburgh (7-3), 
Stanford (8-2)
USC (7-3)
, Utah (8-2)
 and Virginia Tech (5-5).

Faculty member recognized for cancer research

Because Ohio Cancer Research believed in his ideas, a University of Toledo researcher has since earned more than $1.8 million to advance our understanding of the relationship between chromosomal instability and cancer development.

Ohio Cancer Research recently recognized Dr. Song-Tao Liu, UT associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, with its Discover Award for his success in leveraging seed money provided by the organization to obtain federal grants to continue his research.

Dr. Song-Tao Liu received the Ohio Cancer Research Discover Award from Dr. John David Dignam, a past recipient of the honor.

Dr. Song-Tao Liu received the Ohio Cancer Research Discover Award from Dr. John David Dignam, a past recipient of the honor.

“Song-Tao exemplifies the importance of funding new ideas in cancer research, which is the mission of Ohio Cancer Research. He validates that The University of Toledo has some of the most brilliant cancer researchers in the state of Ohio, but also in the country,” said Thomas Lamb, executive director of Ohio Cancer Research. “His work is essential as he advances the fight against cancer and inspires the next generation of scientists that all things are possible with his commitment, dedication and passion for his work.”

The nonprofit organization is dedicated to the cure and prevention of the many forms of cancer and the reduction of its effects through aggressive basic seed money research, cancer information and awareness.

Liu received $50,000 seed grant money from Ohio Cancer Research in 2008, a year after he joined UT, and has since been able to continue his work with $1.8 million in additional funding from the National Science Foundation and National Cancer Institute.

“The grant from Ohio Cancer Research played an important role in getting our research started. It allowed us to generate preliminary data that led to future federal funding,” Liu said. “But more than that, it boosted the confidence of a new investigator and provided opportunities for students to engage in research.”

Liu conducts basic cancer research looking at the issue at its origin – the regulation of cell division. What are the biological processes that cause the division of cancer cells to get so out of control?

With a focus on solid tumors, such as breast cancer, Liu studies why more than 80 percent of those cancer cells have an abnormal number of chromosomes — deviation from the 46, or 23 pairs, in a normal cell. More often the cancer cells have too many chromosomes and the problem is then amplified as those cells divide.

“Cancer has been studied for a long time now and the question remains: Why do we still not have a cure? The reason is most likely chromosomal instability. We are trying to hit a moving target,” Liu said. “Chromosomal instability lets cancer cells develop drug resistance or move elsewhere in the body. We need to understand how the control of cell division works in normal cells and how the control gets lost in cancer cells.”

Liu’s research has identified a gene that is abnormally high in certain breast cancers, and he is zeroing in on the mechanisms the gene plays in cell division in an effort to identify an enzyme inhibitor that could be potentially used for cancer prevention and treatment.

“I am really excited for Song-Tao. The pilot grant he received from Ohio Cancer Research in 2008 was instrumental in getting some of his projects off the ground, and the Discover Award is recognition of Song-Tao’s success in turning that seed money into a nationally recognized program with significant federal funding,” said Dr. Douglas Leaman, professor and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. “To me, this award also highlights the importance of investing in junior faculty, and so I am equally grateful to Ohio Cancer Research and their commitment to supporting the work of young researchers throughout Ohio as they work to advance our understanding of cancer in all its forms.”

Liu and 17 other UT researchers have received a total $816,649 from Ohio Cancer Research funding that has generated $15,663,689 in external research funding to the University.

UT and BGSU presidents wager on rivalry

University of Toledo President Sharon L. Gaber and Bowling Green State University President Mary Ellen Mazey will have more than bragging rights on the line when the Falcons and the Rockets take the football field for the Battle of I-75 Tuesday, Nov. 17.

This year, the losing team’s president will serve up some humble pie to the winner.





Friends and former Auburn University colleagues, Gaber and Mazey decided to make this year’s contest a little more interesting: The losing team’s president will serve lunch to the winning president, Student Government president and Graduate Student Association president in the winning president’s office — while wearing the winning school’s T-shirt.

“Mary Ellen is a good friend of mine, and it is wonderful to be able to work with her to collaborate and advance education and research in northwest Ohio,” Gaber said. “I look forward to seeing her at the game and in my office for lunch.”

“While we’re fierce rivals on the athletic fields and courts, UT and BGSU have a long history of academic collaboration benefiting the region,” Mazey said. “It’s great to have Sharon in northwest Ohio. I’ve picked out a great BGSU T-shirt for her to wear to lunch.”

Through nine games, the Rockets are 8-1 and 5-1 in the Mid-American Conference West Division. In 10 games, the Falcons are 8-2 and 6-0 in the MAC.