Football: Cajuns will face 'Cradle of Coaches' in Lending Tree Bowl
Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, Dec. 10, 2019
When UL plays MAC-member Miami of Ohio at the Jan. 6 LendingTree Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, the Ragin’ Cajuns will be facing a team renowned for the impact of its former players and coaches on the coaching industry.
The list of big-name college and NFL head coaches who have fallen from the Miami tree is a long one, so much so the program calls itself the "Cradle of Coaches."
That’s also the title of a book penned by former Miami sports information director Bob Kurz in 1983.
A plaza area at Miami’s football field, Yager stadium, honors many on what really is a mind-blowing list.
Get a load of this:
Paul Brown, who started at quarterback for Miami in the 1920s, was the first head coach and co-founder of the Cleveland Browns.
Brown’s predecessor at QB for Miami was Weeb Ewbank, who later coached Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts before coaching Joe Namath and the New York Jets to a win in Super Bowl III.
Another ex-Miami quarterback: Carm Cozza, the longtime former Yale head coach.
Sid Gillman — an innovator of the game with his downfield passing schemes — coached at Miami before embarking on a long NFL coaching career with the Los Angeles Rams, the Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers and, from 1973-74, the Houston Oilers.
Gillman, Brown and Ewbank all are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel, a Miami assistant coach in 1979 and ’80, is now the university president at Youngstown State, where he also coached.
Another ex-Miami assistant, Gary Moeller, had head coaching stints at Illinois and Michigan and with the Detroit Lions.
Late Youngstown State coach Bill Narduzzi, whose son Pat is now Pitt’s head coach, played at Miami.
So did Ara Parseghian, who also coached at Miami and Northwestern before becoming one of Notre Dame’s famed coaches in 1964.
Current Miami coach Chuck Martin, incidentally, was Notre Dame’s offensive coordinator before taking over the RedHawks in 2014.
Legendary Woody Hayes coached at Miami before becoming Ohio State’s longtime head coach in 1951, while Bo Schembechler — Hayes’ longtime rival — played at Miami and was the RedHawks coach before taking over at Michigan in 1969.
Former LSU head coach and athletic director Paul Dietzel was a center at Miami in 1946 and ’47.
Another ex-Miami center is John McVay, who later coached the New York Giants and was general manager of the San Francisco 49ers.
McVay’s grandson, current Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay, was a receiver at Miami from 2004-07.
Current Super Bowl-winning Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was a RedHawks defensive back in the 1980s.
Red Blaik, who played at Miami from 1915-17, coached both Dartmouth and Army, while John Pont, who both played at and coached Miami, went on to coach Yale, Indiana and Northwestern.
Former Indiana and Colorado head coach Bill Mallory coached Miami to MAC championships in 1973 and ’83, and Dick Crum coached at Miami, winning three MAC titles, before becoming North Carolina’s coach in 1978.
The late Terry Hoeppner left Miami, where he won one MAC championship, to become Indiana’s head coach in 2005.
Randy Walker left Miami to become Northwestern’s head coach in 1999.
Former Florida and Illinois head coach Ron Zook played at Miami, as did ex-Denver Broncos head coach Jack Faulkner and former Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo.
But it’s not just the football world that has been impacted.
If all that is not enough, late longtime Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers manager Walter Alston — a baseball Hall-of-Famer who led his teams to four World Series championships — played both baseball and basketball at Miami.
Former Miami head basketball coach Herb Sendek, now at Santa Clara, went on to North Carolina State and Arizona State.
Ex-Ohio State and Philadelphia 76ers head coach Randy Ayers played basketball at Miami.
And at least three former Miami basketball assistants — Ayers, Thad Matta (Butler, Xavier, Ohio State) and Sean Miller (previously at Xavier and now at Arizona) — went on to take high-profile jobs.