A new generation of college sports enthusiasts often recognizes Miami as that famous football team from South Florida fondly known as the “U”. But there’s another esteemed Miami Center of “Higher Education” in the tiny town of Oxford, Ohio that deserves equal if not more attention in the sports world. For the “RedHawks” of Miami University hold the honorable distinction of producing an impressive number of student alumni who went on to become highly successful coaches in college and professional sports from 1959 to the present. Know then that during our recent road trip tour to the the main Miami campus next to Yager Football Stadium I took particular interest in the “Cradle of Coaches Memorial.” For these hallowed grounds contained an impressive line of life size statues of nine, former football legends with alumni roots to Miami U.
So what exactly did I learn about these iconic football heroes honored in solid bronze who have passed through Miami University over the years that morning? Each of them went on to produce champions wherever they went whether it happened to be a powerhouse high school or college football team, an N.F.L. Super Bowl winner, or a dynamic teacher producing excellence in the classroom. While thus striving to motivate individuals to perform at their maximum level of achievement, I also concluded that each of them never lost sight of a “team first” perspective whether they were winning or losing the battle. I noted with fascination as well that that the depth of Miami University’s leadership influence on today’s game of football still remains strong when considering that Sean McVay, last year’s winning Super Bowl coach and a past Miami University graduate will soon be honored at Miami University as the tenth recipient of the Cradle of Coaches” statue honor. In likewise manner, know that Ohio’s Miami U. holds the amazing distinction of exhibiting three Super Bowl-winning head coaches among its alumni.
As a former professor, I’m naturally curious to know more about the quality of teaching and learning that exists on college campuses. So perhaps on future visits to Oxford, I can examine more fully how the Miami University classroom experience inspired each of these men to excel in athletic coaching. In the meantime, I’m fortunate to discover that each of them seemed openly candid in actual quotes about their deep seated philosophies that drove them to success in their subsequent coaching experiences. I thus end this blog with some random thoughts expressed by six of them in the captioned photographs below for your critical attention.