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Zach Azzanni
Position: Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers
Zach Azzanni
Courtesy: Associated Press
Release: 01/17/2007

Zach Azzanni’s two seasons at CMU have seen Bryan Anderson and Antonio Brown develop into the most prolific pass-catching tandem in school history.

Both All-Mid-American Conference first team selections in 2008, Anderson (226 receptions) and Brown (195) will enter 2009 ranking first and second, respectively, on CMU’s career receptions list. The duo owns the top four single-season receptions totals in school history and three of the top five single-season receiving yardage totals.

Anderson enters 2009 owning the nation’s longest active streak of consecutive games with a reception. He has at least one catch in all 40 of his career games played. Anderson also enters his senior season with more career receptions and receiving yards than any other active receiver in the Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A).

CMU’s receiving corps was ranked No. 9 nationally by Athlon Sports in its 2009 season preview issue. CMU displayed remarkable depth at the receiver position in 2008. Six different receivers caught a touchdown pass, and five members of the receiving corps caught at least 15 passes. Former walk-on Joe Bockheim had his best season as a senior, posting career highs in receptions (35), receiving yards (491) and touchdowns (5).

The 2008 campaign came on the heels of a 2007 season that saw Anderson and Brown become the top statistical pass-catching combination in any season in school history.

Anderson and Brown combined for 192 receptions, 2,135 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2007. Both were All-MAC second team selections as receivers, while Brown was tabbed as the MAC Freshman of the Year and was a consensus Freshman All-America honoree.

Brown set a single-season school record with 102 receptions, while Anderson established a school record with 10 touchdown catches. Anderson matched a CMU single-game record with three touchdown receptions in the 2007 Motor City Bowl, and his 1,132 receiving yards in 2007 is the second-highest single-season total in school history.

CMU was one of just four teams in the country with a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in 2007.

“Zach is a tireless worker who has a knack for getting the most out of his players,” said head coach Butch Jones. “Our receivers will be fundamentally sound in all aspects of their game.”

Azzanni, a 1999 CMU graduate, had spent the previous six seasons at Bowling Green State University before returning to his alma mater. He coached the Falcons’ wide receivers from 2003-2006, mentoring a group that broke nearly every school receiving record.

Under Azzanni’s tutelage, Charles Sharon closed his career in 2005 as Bowling Green’s all-time leader in receptions (232), receiving yards (3,450) and touchdown receptions (34). In 2004, Azzanni coached a receiving corps that featured four players that posted at least 1,000 receiving yards and was ranked as the No. 3 wide receiver unit in the country by FoxSports.com. BGSU capped the season with a victory in the GMAC Bowl. The Falcons won a MAC West Division title and the Motor City Bowl in 2003, a season in which Cole Magner caught 99 passes for 1,138 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Five of Azzanni’s receivers at BGSU went on to sign professional contracts.

A walk-on at CMU who later earned a scholarship, Azzanni was a freshman on the Chippewas’ 1994 Mid-American Conference championship team. He never missed a game or practice during his playing career.

Azzanni graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sport management in 1999. Following graduation, he spent two seasons (1999-00) as the receivers coach at Valparaiso before moving to BGSU.

Azzanni and his wife, Julia, are the parents of two daughters: 2-year-old Ava and 1-year-old Lyla. Julia is
also a graduate of CMU.