By Josh Kramer
Despite the absence of an NBA team since 1972, the Cincinnati Tri-State area has been known to have some pretty good basketball over the years. And though some unfortunate events occurred on December 10, 2011 that has mired the national perception of Cincinnati hoops, there is still plenty of good going on in the Tri-State basketball scene. Not to mention the Bearcats are tourney bound, while Xavier currently is sitting firmly on the bubble.
Often though, due to the many great collegiate basketball programs in the area, there is one team that gets overlooked. And I guess it makes sense considering both Cincinnati and Xavier are just a jump and skip away, Kentucky is just a little over an hour south, and Ohio State is just a couple of hours north. But yes, even after the great “Wally World” left the hallowed grounds of Oxford in the spring of 1999, Redhawks basketball continued on.
Over the past 16 years, there has been one mainstay in terms of Miami (OH) basketball. And that would of course be their beloved Head Basketball Coach, Charlie Coles. And despite just three tournament appearances in 16 years, Coles is a major winner. He now has the most wins in Miami history and the most victories in Mid-American Conference play of any coach. Charlie Coles is one of those guys though that has gotten to the point where the numbers do not matter. Which is a definite rarity in this day and age. It is not about wins and losses anymore when you are talking about a person that possesses the character of Charlie Coles. Coles had other priorities such as graduating his players and helping young men mature into respectable grown men. If and when his players made mistakes, which was a rarity, he punished them accordingly. Coles always kept his nose clean. Gave credit to others. And was a true ambassador of the collegiate game. He was a guy much like the man who currently runs the show at Cameron Indoor. A guy who did it the right way.
And though Redhawks basketball has struggled as of late, they have maintained a clean program in this not so clean era of college athletics. Coles always made sure his players were STUDENT-Athletes. With an emphasis on the “Student” part. In today’s College Basketball landscape, defined by big money and a winning at all costs mentality, Coles never gave in even for a second. He maintained his high standards for both himself and his players. And for that, he should be commended. With the retirement of Charlie Coles, Oxford is not only losing a legendary former player and coach, but they are losing a person who made things better at Miami (OH), and also in collegiate sports as a whole.
Not too many people these days can say that they did that.
Charlie Coles was one of the good guys.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.