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The Cradle of Coaches

The Cradle of Coaches is a set of eleven bronze statues of Miami University Alumni that became successful football coaches upon graduation. The statues were commissioned in 2009 by Daniel von Voorhis, Miami alumnus and grandson of Thomas. P. van Voorhis, an influential instructor who taught many cradle coaches in the classroom. The sculptures were crafted via the lost wax process by Kristen Visbal, the artist responsible for the creation of the Alexander Hamilton sculpture that stands proudly in downtown Hamilton, Ohio. The statues depict the coaches as life-sized plus twenty percent. The proportion of the bronze pieces monumentalize the coaches, marking their legacies as literally being larger than life. Each sculpture is depicted in intense realism, each feature of each individual coach has been captured in the height of their coaching careers. Each statue appears to be an actual person in frozen in action; Some coaches, like Parseghian and Cozza are seen squatting, while others like Bo Schembechler appear to be shouting directions to players on the field.

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The first statue at the Yager Stadium South Gate entrance is of Thomas van Voorhis, grandfather of Daniel T. Van Voorhis, the statues’ donor. Van Voorhis was an educator, coach, and athletic administrator that led many of the members of the cradle of coaches to success. Once you pass through the gates of the Cradle of Coaches Plaza, you are faced with nine more statues, these of the coaches that went on to contribute to the alleged Miami Plan to Infiltrate Football, bringing success to the teams they went on to coach after their football careers at Miami University. The south most statue is of Earl Henry “Red” Blaik (1897-1999).  Blaik played all four years of his college career as right end and went on to become the head coach of Dartmouth and later the head coach of West Point. At West Point, Blaik led the Army Mules to two national championships, five undefeated seasons, and a thirty-two-game winning streak. Next is Paul Eugene Brown (1908-1991).  Paul Brown became the youngest coach in Big Ten history, and eventually led Ohio State to their first national championship. John Pont (1927-2008) became the head coach of Northwestern University in 1956, becoming the youngest head coach at the time at the age of 27. Ara Raoul Parseghian (1923-2007) played and lettered in baseball, basketball, and football at Miami University. After college, Parseghian took Notre Dame to two National Championship wins and became a play-by-play announcer for ABC after he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Carmen Louis “Carm” Cozza (1930-) Coached at Yale, bringing them to ten Ivy League Championships, securing his spot in the College Football Hall of Fame. John Harbaugh (1962-) coached the Baltimore Ravens after his time at Miami University, driving them to win the 2013 Superbowl with the motto “The team, the team, the team.”  Wilbur Charles “Weeb” Eubank (1907-1998) brought both the Baltimore Colts and the New York Jets to World Championships, making him the National Football League Coach of the Year in 1958. Glenn Edward “Bo” Schembechler (1929-2006) came back to Miami University to coach after he graduated. Afterwards, Schembechler moved on to Michigan University where his team won thirteen Big Ten Championships, and he won Big Ten Coach of the Year six times. Paul Franklin Dietzel (1924-2013) held three head coach positions after graduating from Miami University. He started off at Louisiana State University, leading them to their first national championship in 1958. Then he Coached at Army and then South Carolina University. In 1958 he won College Football Coach of the Year by the widest margin in college football history.

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Statue of Daniel Von Voorhis at the Entrance to The Cradle of Coaches Plaza

 

The array of successful coaches at the South Entrance of the football stadium serves as inspiration and motivation to current players and coaches alike. The tall bronze figures watch over each game and serve as a reminder of our potential for success.