American Football Database
American Football Database

The Cradle of Coaches is a nickname given to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio for its history of producing successful sports coaches, especially in football. Bob Kurz, a former Miami sports communications worker, popularized the term in a 1983 book, though the school's association with the nickname goes as far back as 1971. Miami frequently inducts former coaches into the Cradle of Coaching Association for their feats as alumni.


The program's largest cohort are football coaches 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, 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. University of Tennessee basketball coach Ray Mears is also a graduate of Miami.

Baseball Hall of Fame manager Walter Alston is also 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.[1] The film captured the story of John Harbaugh's induction as well as perspective from other members.

Cradle of Coaches Association Inductees

Induction year Name Sport (current coaching position) Miami class of
1992 Weeb Ewbank Football 1928
1992 Bob Kurz Football 1958
1992 Bill Narduzzi Football 1959
1992 John Pont Football 1952
1993 Paul Brown Football 1930
1993 Mel Knowlton Football 1937
1993 Ara Parseghian Football 1949
1994 Bill Arnsparger Football 1950
1994 Paul Dietzel Football 1948
1994 Jack Llewellyn Football
1995 Jack Faulkner Football
1995 Joe Codiano Football
1995 Bill Mallory Football 1957
1996 John Brickels Football
1996 Hal Paul
1996 Dick Shrider Basketball
1997 Jerry Hanlon Football 1956
1997 John McVay Football
1997 Frank Shands
1998 Carmen Cozza Football, baseball 1952
1998 Marvin Moorehead
1998 Ernie Plank Football 1950
2001 Dick Crum Football
2001 Darrell Hedric Basketball 1955
2001 Lou Kaczmarek Football 1950
2001 Rich Voiers Basketball 1957
2001 Walter Alston Baseball 1935
2001 Earl Blaik Football 1918
2001 Leann Davidge Tennis
2001 Woody Hayes Football
2001 Raymond Ray
2001 George Rider Football, baseball, basketball, track, cross country
2001 William Rohr Basketball
2002 Peggy Bradley-Doppes Volleyball (UNC Wilmington Director of Athletics)
2002 Denny Marcin Football (New York Jets) 1964
2002 Nick Mourouzis Football (DePauw) 1959
2002 Jim Rose Basketball 1951
2002 Marvin McCollum Basketball 1948
2002 Ron Zook Football 1976
2004 Rodger Cromer
2004 Carol Clark Johnson
2004 Clarence McDade
2004 Ron Niekamp Basketball (Findlay) 1972
2004 Bo Schembechler Football 1951
2006 George Dales
2006 George Gwozdecky Ice Hockey (University of Denver)
2006 Danny Hall Baseball (Georgia Tech)
2006 Bob Kappes
2006 Stephen Strome
2006 Randall Whitehead
2008 Terry Hoeppner Football
2008 Randy Walker Football
2011 Jerry Angelo Football
2011 Elaine Hieber
2011 Dave Jennings Swimming
2011 Rob Patrick
2011 Gary Quisno
2011 Pam Wettig
2014 John Harbaugh Football (Baltimore Ravens) 1984
2016 Todd Spohn Diving 1986
2017 Sean McVay Football (Los Angeles Rams) 2008

Super Bowl winning former head coach John Harbaugh was inducted in their Hall of Fame in 2014.[2]

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.

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.[3]

See also


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