Cradle of Coaches
The Cradle of Coaches is a nickname given to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio for producing star football coaches including Earl Blaik, Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Bill Arnsparger, George Little, Weeb Ewbank, Sid Gillman, Ara Parseghian, Bo Schembechler, John Pont, Carmen Cozza, Bill Mallory, Jim Tressel, Joe Novak, Ron Zook, Dick Crum, Paul Dietzel, Bill Narduzzi, Randy Walker, John Harbaugh, [Norbert “Nobby” Wirkowski]], Gary Moeller, Larry Smith, Dick Tomey, Terry Hoeppner, and Sean McVay.
Miami has also produced notable basketball coaches Darrell Hedric, Randy Ayers, Herb Sendek, Thad Matta and Sean Miller. Hedric, currently a scout for the Toronto Raptors, is an Ohio and Cincinnati Basketball Hall of Famer and holds the record for Miami victories. Ayers was a four-year starter for Miami, leading the team to back-to-back NCAA appearances in 1977 and 1978, and later served as a head coach for Ohio State and assistant coach in the National Basketball Association. Sendek began his head coaching career at Miami and led the RedHawks to the postseason in each of his three seasons. Matta, formerly the head coach at Ohio State, was an assistant under Sendek for one memorable year that included a regular season MAC championship and NCAA tournament appearance, and also for one year under then-head coach Charlie Coles.
Baseball Hall of Fame manager Walter Alston is also a graduate of Miami. Legendary University of Tennessee basketball coach Ray Mears is a graduate of Miami. Additionally, hockey coach George Gwozdecky served as head coach at Miami prior to leaving for Denver, where he won two national championships.
The Cradle of Coaches also was the subject of sports documentary film that aired on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel (Ohio) in 2015. The film captured the story of John Harbaugh's induction as well as perspective from other members.
Official members of "The Cradle"
|Induction year||Name||Sport (current coaching position)||Miami class of|
|1992||Weeb Ewbank *||Football||1928|
|1992||Bob Kurz †||Football||1958|
|1998||Carmen Cozza||Football, baseball||1952|
|2001||George Rider||Football, baseball, basketball, track, cross country|
|2002||Peggy Bradley-Doppes||Volleyball (UNC Wilmington Director of Athletics)|
|2002||Denny Marcin||Football (New York Jets)||1964|
|2002||Nick Mourouzis||Football (DePauw)||1959|
|2004||Carol Clark Johnson|
|2004||Ron Niekamp||Basketball (Findlay)||1972|
|2006||George Gwozdecky||Ice Hockey (University of Denver)|
|2006||Danny Hall||Baseball (Georgia Tech)|
|2017||Sean McVay||Football (Los Angeles Rams)||2008|
* Weeb Ewbank played football, basketball and baseball at Miami, and coached the basketball team before becoming an established football coach.
† Bob Kurz wrote "Miami of Ohio - The Cradle of Coaches" book
Super Bowl winning former head coach John Harbaugh was inducted in their Hall of Fame in 2014.
The Mother of Coaches
The McGuffey Reader, the Mother of Fraternities, The Miami Triad (Beta Theta Pi, Phi Delta Theta, Sigma Chi)..all these were attributed to Miami University (founded in 1809) in Oxford, Ohio.
In the fall of 1959, Bob Kurz, Sports Information Director and a recent graduate (1958)recounted that several Miami graduates were making history on the football field. Louisiana State University under Paul Dietzel, ’48, was listed as number 1 in the country.
Northwestern University under Ara Parseghian, ’48 was number 2; Earl (Red) Blaik ’18 was leading Army to an undefeated season while Paul Brown ’30 was guiding the Cleveland Browns and Weeb Eubank ’28 was leading the Baltimore Colts. Both pro teams were on top of their divisions.
It was a short leap from the ‘mother’ moniker to a cradle: The next day Kurz wrote the phrase that has become synonymous with Miami University football, Miami of Ohio, the Cradle of Coaches. His book on the history of Miami's coaches was written in 1983.
Recently the nickname has been applied by journalists to the entire state. Ohio-linked coaches are involved with football programs in the Southeastern Conference, including national championship coaches Les Miles at LSU; Cincinnati alum Urban Meyer, formerly at Florida and currently at Ohio State; and Kent State alum Nick Saban at Alabama. National championship coach Bob Stoops from Oklahoma is a native, former USC head coach Pete Carroll was an Ohio State assistant, and Youngstown State alum Mark Mangino was named the 2007 National Coach of the Year as the head coach of Kansas before returning to YSU as an assistant in 2013. Jim Harbaugh of the University of Michigan, Bo Pelini of Nebraska and Gary Pinkel of Missouri are also native Ohioans, and in 2008 the natives of the state accounted for 15% of the college head football coaches, while only having 4% of the population, and 15 of the last 20 teams to play for the college football national championship had head coaches with Ohio connections.
The Cradle of Coaches sculpture group
A sculptural group called The Cradle of Coaches, by sculptor Kristen Visbal, was erected at Miami University between 2009 and 2011, with one addition in 2014. It consists of ten 120% lifesize statues of Earl Blaik, Paul Brown, Carm Cozza, Paul Dietzel, Weeb Ewbank, John Harbaugh, Ara Parseghian, John Pont, Glenn Schembechler, and Thomas Van Voorhis.
- Twitter (January 1, 2015). "Time Warner Cable Sports Channel will have an hour long documentary on the Cradle of Coaches". Miami University. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
- Associated Press (February 26, 2013). "Miami (OH) to honor John Harbaugh". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- Darren Everson. "Why Ohio Makes the Best Coaches". Wall Street Journal, December 25, 2008. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
- "Cradle of Coaches". Kristen Visbal. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
- Cradle of Coaches Archive, Miami University Libraries