University of Akron football: Coach Tom Arth passes on NFL

George M. Thomas
Akron Beacon Journal
University of Akron football coach Tom Arth passed on an opportunity to join the NFL on the staff of the Los Angeles Chargers, now led by his friend Brandon Staley, to remain with the Zips. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

University of Akron football coach Tom Arth is passing on the NFL.

The former quarterback, who played at John Carroll University and Cleveland’s St. Ignatius High School, arrived at UA in December of 2018 with an NFL background, having played with Peyton Manning while both were with the Indianapolis Colts.

He held head coaching positions at John Carroll and Tennessee-Chattanooga before UA hired him. 

He’s maintained his NFL ties and the Los Angeles Chargers hired Brandon Staley, one of his best friends and his former defensive coordinator at John Carroll, as their new head coach. Staley's hiring thrust Arth into the running for a position on Staley's staff with the Chargers.

“This is where my heart is," Arth said of his decision to stay with the Zips. "There are so many things that draw you to an opportunity like that, but in my heart I keep getting pulled back here.

“I believe so strongly in our program. I believe so strongly in what we’re doing and what we’re capable of accomplishing. I want to be a part of that.”

Arth said he had a couple of sleepless nights over the decision.

“But I don’t want to live my life and wonder what could have been,” he said of why he decided to stay. “I feel like I need to do this for myself and I want to do it for all the people who say it can’t be done and that’s a great motivation of mine.”

Arth said he’s never really run from a challenge.

“I’ve never really been wired that way …,” he said. “I value myself as a leader before I am a coach. I want to be the best leader that I can be. To me, being here and continuing to work toward our goals within this program is the right thing to do”

He considered a number of factors before making his decision, including his family, which includes his and his wife’s parents, all of whom supported his decision, he said. 

Ultimately it came down to feeling he had a responsibility to his team, coaching staff and the university.

“My heart is with making the biggest impact on the lives of the people around me,” he said.

Ultimately, Arth will have to win. Those tough times he alluded to have come in the form of a 1-17 record in his two seasons at UA.

COVID-19 proved disruptive to his and the coaching staff’s offseason program last winter and through the summer as the pandemic forced a herky-jerky season that lacked any semblance of normalcy.

But as vaccinations and other procedures hopefully mitigate the disease’s spread, expectations for the Zips will increase.

Reach George M. Thomas at gthomas@thebeaconjournal.com