Blue Ribbon Preview: Miami of Ohio

Originally Published: July 15, 2011
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ABOUT

One day, Don Treadwell is coordinating the Michigan State offense, preparing to help the Spartans take on Florida in the Capital One Bowl.

The next day, he lands his first head-coaching job, and it just happens to be at his alma mater.

Not only that, Treadwell inherited a team that was about to cap a historic turnaround season with a victory in the GoDaddy.com Bowl -- a team that was going to return the majority of players who made that turnaround possible.

Last year, Miami became the first college football team to go from double-digit losses (1-11 in 2009) to double-digit wins (10-4) in back-to-back seasons.

Many first-time head coaches get stuck with a downtrodden program that had just fired its coach, and the first order of business is to change the culture.

Instead, Treadwell's task is to keep the fires of a 10-win season burning. These guys have already learned how to win.

"That's a big bonus, there's no doubt about that," said Treadwell, who played at Miami from 1978-1981 and was an assistant coach there from 1992-93. "And we want to build upon that. They recognize that hey, it didn't just happen."

On the other hand, it was not a typical transition. After winning the Mid-American Conference championship in his second year at Miami, coach Mike Haywood bolted for Pittsburgh on Dec. 16, leaving assistant Lance Guidry as interim coach for the bowl game.

Two weeks later, Treadwell was announced as the new head coach. At virtually the same time, Pitt fired Haywood after he was charged with domestic violence.

Treadwell did not retain any of Haywood's assistants. The new staff had to sell the players on new systems, on the heels of a wildly successful season.

That could have been tricky.

"It's been positive," offensive coordinator John Klacik said. "Kids get into a mode where they taste winning and they want to repeat that. They've been very receptive."

Defensive coordinator Pete Resktis said at first, he detected, "a little confusion [among players]. They were kind of pawns in it all. But they also enjoyed success and had hopes that it could continue."

On paper, it certainly appears that it can continue. Miami returns 17-of-22 starters, including two experienced quarterbacks, four offensive linemen and the entire defensive front seven.

THE STAFF

Head Coach: Don Treadwell (Miami-Ohio '82)
Record at school: First year
Career record: First year

Assistants:
• John Klacik (Lock Haven '88) Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
• Pete Rekstis (Youngstown State '91) Def. Coord./Defensive Backs
• Mike Bath (Miami-Ohio '01) Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
• Matt Edwards (Miami-Ohio '02) Defensive Ends
• Charlie Fisher (Springfield '80) Passing Game Coord./Quarterbacks
• Jay Peterson (Miami-Ohio '85) Linebackers
• Nick Siatras (Ohio State '06) Defensive Tackles
• Mark Spencer (Ohio '95) Running Backs
• Zak Willis (Furman '90) Recruiting Coordinator/Special Teams