Miami’s Cradle of Coaches


OXFORD — Miami University Athletics will honor seven individuals as it inducts the Cradle of Coaches Class of 2016-17 the weekend of Sept. 9-10.

Comprising this year’s class is Charlie Coles (basketball), Fritz Heisler (football), Paco Labrador (volleyball), Jason Lindsey (cross country/track & field), Phil Lumpkin (basketball), Bud Middaugh (baseball) and Todd Spohn (diving).

Coles enjoyed a coaching career that spanned almost five decades at the high school and collegiate levels, nearly half of which were enjoyed in the Mid-American Conference. He guided Miami for 16 seasons as head coach (1996-2012) becoming Miami men’s basketball’s all-time wins leader with a 263-224 record. Combined with his six seasons as head coach at Central Michigan (1985-91), Coles amassed a MAC record of 218-155, posting more conference wins than any other coach in league history. Over 22 years as a collegiate head coach in the MAC, Coles tied for second among MAC leaders for career coaching wins with a 355-308 record. Coles was twice named MAC Coach of the Year and was the 2011 NABC District 14 Coach of the Year. He also was presented with a Guardian of the Game Pillar Award for Education by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) in 2011. As a MAC head coach, his teams made eight postseason appearances, including advancing to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in 1999.

Heisler coached football at the high school, collegiate and professional ranks, spending the bulk of his coaching career with the Cleveland Browns. A standout guard for Miami, Heisler began his career as an assistant coach at Massilon High School before brief stints in the collegiate ranks at Ohio State University and DePauw University. Heisler was hired by the Cleveland Browns in 1946 to coach the guards on the offensive and defensive lines, beginning a 30-year tenure with the organization. He helped the Browns to four AAFC titles in the 1940s and a trio of NFL Championships in the 1950s.

Labrador, who was an assistant volleyball coach at Miami from 1999-2002, has headed the Wittenberg University program for the last 13 seasons, amassing an impressive 406-62 record. Labrador’s .868 career winning percentage with the Tigers ranks first among all NCAA Division III coaches and second across all divisions. His teams have earned NCAA Tournament berths every season during his tenure, including 11 regional championship match appearances and advancing to three straight national semifinals (2005-2007). In 2011, Labrador led Wittenberg to a national championship, earning AVCA National Coach of the Year honors. He is a two-time region coach of the year and seven-time conference coach of the year recipient. Labrador’s teams have won 12 North Coast Athletic Conference regular-season titles, 12 conference tournament crowns and six region championships.

Lindsey began coaching at Lakota High School in 1977, igniting a career that spanned more than 30 years and included coaching or co-coaching 120 teams at Lakota/Lakota East. Predominantly coaching boys and girls cross country/track and field during his tenure, Lindsey coached two state championship teams and is the only Lakota coach to lead two teams to state titles. A former standout runner at Miami in both cross country and track, Lindsey mentored his Lakota/Lakota East athletes to nine individual state titles between cross country and track and field. Over his career, Lindsey’s cross country and track and field teams won 32 combined Mid Miami League and Greater Miami Conference titles.

Following a stellar playing career at Miami and a stint in the NBA, Lumpkin went on to coach high school basketball for 25 years. He earned his first head coaching post at Seattle Prep, leading the Panthers from 1988-91. In 1992, Lumpkin was named head boys basketball coach at O’Dea High School. During his 18-year career with the Fighting Irish that spanned through the 2007-08 season, Lumpkin led his O’Dea teams to 15 state tournaments. Seven of those teams advanced to the finals with five teams capturing state titles. O’Dea High School has named its basketball court in his honor.

Middaugh amassed an 824-319-1 record as a collegiate head coach between stints at Miami and the University of Michigan, posting a 359-173 record at Miami from 1968-1979. Middaugh’s Miami teams seized three Mid-American Conference titles (1973, 1974, 1979) and earned appearances in four NCAA Playoffs (1973, 1974, 1977, 1979). Under his direction, the 1977 team set a Miami record for most wins in a season with 45. From Miami, Middaugh went on to guide the Michigan program from 1980-89. In 10 seasons with the Wolverines, he posted a 465-146-1 mark and led his team to seven Big Ten titles. He owns the second-most wins in Michigan program history, and his .761 winning percentage leads all Wolverine baseball coaches. Nine teams earned berths in the NCAA Tournament with four of his first five teams advancing to the College World Series.

Spohn has coached diving since 1986 when he wrapped up a stellar diving career of his own at Miami. Spohn guided the Miami University men’s and women’s divers for two decades and was an 11-time MAC Diving Coach of the Year. Nine of his swimmers captured MAC Diver of the Year honors, including eight who swept the diving events. In total, Spohn’s divers captured 18 individual MAC titles under his tutelage. During his tenure he was a part of 13 MAC team championships between the men’s and women’s programs. From Miami, he went on to serve as head coach for the Mission Viejo Natadors from 2006-2011 helping them ascend to fourth place at the Junior Nationals. After a year as interim head coach of the USA Diving National Training Center in 2011, Spohn joined the Santa Clara Diving organization as head coach where he has led a program that has produced three age group national champions and numerous Junior National finalists.

Coles, Heisler and Lumpkin are being inducted posthumously.

The members of the Cradle of Coaches Class of 2016-17 will be honored during an induction dinner on Friday, Sept. 9 at the Armstrong Student Center. There will be a reception from 6-6:30 p.m. with the dinner and induction following at 6:30 p.m. Reservations for the dinner may be made by calling 513-529-7286.

Cost of the dinner is $40 per person and reservations for the induction dinner must be made by Friday, Sept. 2. Space is limited and reservations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. This year’s class will be further recognized at halftime of the Miami vs. Eastern Illinois football game on Saturday, Sept. 10. Game time is set for 3:30 p.m.

R-H Staff

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