Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Miami basketball preview


Coles' passion still burns

By Ian Duthie
Enquirer contributor

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Roster/Breakdown
Miami recruiting
Schedule
Date Opponent Time
November
Thurs. 8 Branch West (exh) 7 p.m.
Sat. 17 at UNC Wilmington 7 p.m.
Mon. 19 George Mason 7 p.m.
Wed. 28 Xavier 7 p.m.
December
Sat. 1 Wright State 3 p.m.
Mon. 3 at Evansville 7 p.m.
Sat. 8 Notre Dame 3 p.m.
Sun. 16 at Southern Cal TBA
Thurs. 20 vs. Boston College-& 5 p.m.
Fri. 21 vs. Georgia or Ark. St.-& TBA
Sat. 22 vs. Iona, H.Cross,or Hawaii-&TBA
Sat. 29 at Dayton 8 p.m.
January
Wed. 2 at Wstern Michigan 7 p.m.
Sat. 5 at Central Mich 3:30 p.m.
Wed. 9 Marshall 7 p.m.
Sat. 12 Akron 3 p.m.
Wed. 16 Eastern Michigan 7 p.m.
Sat. 19 at Ohio TBA
Tues. 22 at Northern Illinois 8 p.m.
Sat. 26 Ball State 3 p.m.
February
Sat. 2 at Bowling Green 1 p.m.
Wed. 6 at Buffalo 7 p.m.
Sat. 9 Toledo 4:30 p.m.
Mon. 11 Ohio 7 p.m.
Thurs. 14 at Marshall TBA
Sat. 16 at Kent State 7 p.m.
Wed. 20 Bowling Green 7 p.m.
Sat. 23 at Ball State 1 p.m.
Mon. 25 Buffalo 7 p.m.
March
Sat. 2 Kent State 3 p.m.
Mon. 4 MAC Tourn., 1st rd. TBA
Thurs. 7 MAC quarters TBA
Fri. 8 MAC semifinals TBA
Sat. 9 MAC final 7 p.m.
Home games bold.
&-At Hawaii Rainbow Classic
        OXFORD - Ever since he was 8 years old, Miami coach Charlie Coles knew he wanted to teach. From his early days in Yellow Springs, Ohio, Coles remembers teaching kids in his neighborhood the fundamentals of basketball.

     After averaging 42.1 points as a senior, he earned a scholarship at Miami, where he became a two-time second-team All-Mid-American Conference pick. Still, he knew he was at Miami to learn how to coach while earning his bachelor's in physical education.

     ''I had some nice (coaches) who cared about me,'' Coles said. ''You want to be a part of that. If I had any doubts at all when I came to Miami about coaching, which I didn't, it strengthened my belief that this is what I want to do.''

     He credits his coach, Richard Shrider, for teaching him the essentials of coaching, but he also sought out then-Miami football coach Bo Schembechler. Coles was so enthralled with the future Michigan legend's teaching ability, Coles took Schembechler's football theory class and never missed a football practice when his own practices didn't conflict.

     ''Bo knew when to be tough and when to be funny,'' Coles said. ''I learned a lot from him about the dedication it took to be a successful coach. You knew not to skip his class.''

     After 34 years of coaching basketball in high school and college, it's easy to see Coles' unbridled passion for the game with his ever-present grin and his light-hearted laugh. His enthusiasm makes it apparent the game hasn't bypassed him and that he wants to continue coaching for years.

     ''I am like a kid; I live for the day,'' Coles, 59, said. ''If you have been playing a game all your life, coaching a game, I guess sometimes you think, boy, I don't really have to grow up. I probably have never grown up.''

     Coles is preparing for his sixth season at Miami. In his first five, he has a 94-60 record, leading Miami to the NCAA Tournament twice, including the 1998 Sweet 16. He has taken the RedHawks to a record five straight appearances in the MAC title game.

     Despite his success as a coach, Coles most treasures helping his players off the court.

     ''What Charlie does for young people is phenomenal,'' says Jermaine Henderson, Coles' former player and current Miami assistant coach. ''He gives kids direction that otherwise wouldn't. I hope he coaches forever because what he does for kids outside of basketball is a rarity.''

     In February 1998 came a frightening moment for Coles, his family and his players. While coaching his team in a conference tournament game, he collapsed on the sideline, suffering a cardiac arrest. He survived, but he was confined to a hospital bed for more than a week.

     For Coles, there was never a question of whether he would return. But in his mind, it came down to what his wife, Delores - whom he married while a senior at Miami - and his two children, Chris and Mary, thought.

     ''The vote was overwhelming that they wanted me to return to coaching,'' Coles said. ''They know I don't have much of a life without basketball.''

     Basketball better get used to this wisecracking coach with a sense of humor that never lets him get too high or too low after a game. Coles and his family have made Oxford their permanent home. He says he has no desire to leave his alma mater until he's told to go (his contract runs through 2004). His wife grew up in Oxford, and he feels fortunate to have his two children close. Both have settled their families in Oxford.

       



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