Story courtesy of Miami Sports Information
OXFORD, Ohio—After 16 seasons at the helm of the Miami University men’s basketball program, 22 seasons as a collegiate head coach (all in the Mid-American Conference) and nearly half a century as a basketball coach at various levels, Miami University head coach Charlie Coles announced his retirement Monday night, following the RedHawks loss to Toledo in the first round of the MAC Tournament.
Coles finishes his career with a career record of 355-308, posting a 263-224 mark at Miami. With all 22 of his seasons as a head coach coming in the Mid-American Conference—including six at Central Michigan—he amassed a career record in MAC play of 218-156. Coles has more wins than any other coach in Miami history, more MAC wins than any other coach in conference history and tied for second on the MAC’s career wins list.
“Charlie Coles is an iconic figure in the history of Miami University as a student, athlete, server, leader, mentor and coach,” said Miami University Athletics Director Brad Bates. “He symbolizes all that is noble about the profession of coaching and his entire life has been dedicated to using a basketball curriculum to holistically develop young men. He is leaving an indelible mark on our program, our department and our University and the hundreds of people he has inspired, motivated and developed.”
Beyond the numbers, under Coles Miami players have excelled both on and off the court.
While several players have gone on to professional careers, numerous others have gone on to successful careers in their respective fields. During his time at Miami, his squads’ Academic Progress Rates traditionally exceeded the national averages and often led the Mid-American Conference. In 2001, Miami boasted the Anson Mount Scholar-Athlete of the Year in Mike Ensminger.
During Coles' head coaching tenure, the RedHawks have made seven postseason appearances--NCAA 1997, 1999, 2007; NIT 2005, 2006; CBI 2008, 2011--and Coles has mentored 20 players who have garnered 31 All-MAC awards, including 11 first-team honorees. Over the past eight seasons, Miami has had eight players capture a combined nine First-Team All-MAC accolades and is the only MAC men's basketball program to have at least one first-team honoree each of the last eight years.
Additionally, Miami has had two MAC Players of the Year under Coles who both earned All-America honors in Wally Szczerbiak and Michael Bramos, while touting two players who captured MAC Tournament MVP accolades.
Coles captured MAC Coach of the Year honors twice, earning the award in 1987 while guiding the Chippewas and again in 2005 leading the RedHawks. He also was named the District 14 Coach of the Year in 2010-11.
Coles directed his first Miami squad to a 21-9 record and the 1997 NCAA Tournament. He became just the second coach in Miami history to lead his team to the MAC title, 20 or more wins and the NCAA Tournament in his first season. The 21 victories were the most in school history by a first-year coach.
Two seasons later, Coles directed Miami through one of its most magical seasons, which culminated in an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance. Along the way, Miami won its 20th Mid-American Conference regular-season championship en route to a school-record-tying 24 season victories (24-8). Miami also earned its highest national ranking in 20 years, finishing the season with the No. 20 spot in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll. The RedHawks' NCAA wins over Washington and Utah catapulted Miami onto sports pages and publications across the country, including the cover of Sports Illustrated.
With an anytime, anyplace mentality, Coles’ squads annually challenged some of Division I’s perennial giants and often boasted a strength of schedule that was among national leaders.
In addition to his coaching prowess, Coles was a standout player on the basketball floor for the Red & White from 1963-65. A two-time Second-Team All-MAC selection, Coles averaged double figures in scoring all three seasons, including an 18.5 ppg average and a team-leading 50.3 field goal percentage as a junior. He was a member of Miami's co-MAC Championship team as a senior and is one of the program's 1,000-point career scorers, ranking 29th with 1,096 career points.
One of the greatest tributes to his legacy was earning the NABC Guardians of the Game Pillar Award for Education presented by The Hartford at the 2011 Final Four.
A national awareness and education program led by the NABC, the goal of the Guardians of the Game program is to focus attention on the positive aspects of basketball and the role coaches play in the lives of student-athletes, in addition to the contributions coaches make to their communities. The Guardians Awards recognize NABC coaches who exemplify one of the four Guardians of the Game core values: Advocacy, Leadership, Service and Education.
Coles, a long time educator and student of the game, was nominated and selected for the Education pillar which is presented to NABC coaches who are committed to continuing education and the development of their profession in order to be better mentors, teachers, and leaders. The Education award goes to a coach dedicated to their own professional development, as well as that of their colleagues. The Education statuette rewards the coach that best mentors, teaches, and perpetuates the doctrine of the game.
Thought to be the only Division I Coach who continued to teach a class during his tenure, Coles annually conducted a basketball coaching theory class at Miami University. In addition to continually tying to better himself though attending other collegiate practices and watching hours of film in the off-season to study what other successful programs are doing on the court, Coles further embodied the Education pillar with his teaching both on and off the court.
Coles has been inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame (2011), the Greater Cincinnati Basketball Hall of Fame (2008) and the Miami University Hall of Fame (1990) and had his jersey retired by Yellow Springs High School in 2000.