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AKRON, Ohio – A gathering of more than 300 fans, current and former members of The University of Akron men's soccer team and school officials came together to thank Caleb Porter for seven historic seasons as head coach of the Zips Wednesday night.
The two-hour reception, which featured speeches by UA President Dr. Luis M. Proenza, Director of Athletics Tom Wistrcill, Akron senior defender Chad Barson and Porter, was held on the FirstMerit Foundation Club Level of InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field.
Porter, who led the Zips to the school's first team national championship in any sport in 2010, will officially become the head coach of the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer later this month.
As part of the program, Porter was presented an Honorary Alumnus Award from Dr. Proenza and a framed Zips jersey from Wistrcill. Another highlight of the evening was a six-minute video, which included personal thank you's from a number of university administrators and former players who could not be present.
A number of members from the Zips' national championship team made the trip back to campus for the event, including Anthony Ampaipitawkong, Michael Nanchoff, Darlington Nagbe, Kofi Sarkodie and many others. Steve Zakuani, who was the first Akron player recruited by Porter to be drafted into MLS, was also in attendance.
Since 2006, Porter posted the highest winning percentage in the country with a career record of 123-18-17 (.832). He was named the National Coach of the Year in 2009 after guiding the Zips to their first of back-to-back national championship game apearances.
Porter, a six-time Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year, secured a MAC Regular Season Championship each season at UA and five MAC Tournament titles overall while taking the Zips to the NCAA's Round of 16 or better five consecutive seasons from 2008-12.
Jared Embick, who has served on the Akron staff since 2007, was named Porter's successor last October and will inherit a program that has advanced to the NCAA's Round of 16 or better in each of the last five seasons.