Team preview: Miami-Ohio

Blue Ribbon Yearbook previews the 2006-07 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: October 29, 2006, 12:09 AM ET
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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

COACH AND PROGRAM

At 64, Miami coach Charlie Coles isn't showing any signs of slowing down.

"I've seen people coaching and having fun and, all at once, it hits them, 'I'm an old person.' It hasn't hit me yet," Coles said. "I have no idea when any of this will stop."

Coles' bosses at Miami hope it won't stop for a while, and in fact he's signed through the 2008-09 season. Cole has been good at his job for a long time. His 267 wins (165 MAC wins) rank third in Mid-American Conference history. Coles has twice been voted MAC Coach of the Year, three times Michigan High School Coach of the Year, and guided three NCAA Tournament teams and coached the likes of Wally Szczerbiak (Miami) and Dan Majerle (Central Michigan).

Coles is obviously still having fun.

"My energy level is good," Coles said. "I still get up early in the morning and exercise. I still enjoy being around young people."

When he does stop, it'll most likely be for family time. "I can't describe the feeling of having grandkids," he said. "I really love spending time with them. That would be my reasoning. It breaks my heart to go two or three days without seeing them."

Coles feels lucky to still be sitting on the sidelines, having almost died in 1998 from cardiac arrest in Kalamazoo, Mich., during a MAC Tournament game. Rebounding from such a scare, Coles has continued to lead a winning tradition in Oxford.

And Coles does it his way. Before last season, the RedHawks finished last in the league in scoring, and last season, they finished 11th. But their league record in that span was 58-32. But don't call Miami a slow-down team.

"We are getting up and down the floor, but our shot selection isn't what I would call strict, but it is more select," Coles said. "A lot of teams say 'We're getting ready to play Miami, we have to be patient.' They look at the shot clock and think they have to be more patient themselves and we get the blame for it. But seriously, I have always felt that, in order to beat teams, you have to have a style of play that is to your advantage."

In 2006, Miami ranked first in the MAC in scoring defense (60.1), field-goal percentage defense (41.3) and defensive rebounds (23.48). Whatever works.

For the third straight year, Miami has graduated a first-team All-MAC player in point guard William Hatcher. Each time, other players have stepped up to carry the load. Exit Juby Johnson, and the RedHawks win the 2005 MAC regular season. Exit Danny Horace and Chet Mason and Miami goes 18-11 (14-4 MAC). So with Hatcher gone, what will Miami do?

An iron man over his last two seasons, Hatcher (14.2 ppg) played 30 minutes total as a freshman but developed into a clutch, go-to player.


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