“This is a proud program that’s lost its edge. We need to get it back.”
That wasn’t all David Sayler had to say about firing Don Treadwell as Miami’s football coach, but it said everything.
The Miami athletic director informed Treadwell of the decision around noon on Sunday, fewer than 24 hours after the RedHawks dropped to 0-5 this season and 8-21 overall under Treadwell with a 21-9 loss to Central Michigan.
“He handled it with a class and integrity, which is the way I expected he would handle it,” Sayler, in his first year at Miami, said about Treadwell’s reaction. “I gained even more respect for him as a man.”
Sayler was more concerned about the reaction of the RedHawks’ players, who were told of the move around 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.
“I saw a lot of head-nodding,” he said. “There was a lot of positive energy in that room.”
Fifth-year senior quarterback Austin Boucher admitted that Miami’s offensive players often went into games less than confident about having opportunities to score. The RedHawks went 12 quarters without mustering an offensive touchdown between the second quarter of the opener at Marshall and the third quarter of their fourth game at Illinois.
“Something was lacking,” Boucher said, while pointing out that much of the blame belonged to the players.
Sayler already has names in mind as possible replacements for Treadwell — “I definitely have a list,” he said — but he plans to use a search firm to narrow candidates.
“People who’ve gotten it done with less is something I’ve always admired,” the former University of South Dakota athletic director said. “I’d prefer someone who’s been a head coach, but if we’re blown away by a coordinator, we’ll look at him.”
Meanwhile, former RedHawk quarterback Mike Bath, who set many of the records broken by Ben Roethlisberger and then Zac Dysert, was promoted from quarterbacks-receivers coach to the top job on an interim basis.
Bath fought back tears as he discussed the move during a press conference on Monday.
“I don’t like where we are,” said Bath, who used the word “attack” four times while answering questions. “That said, I have conflicting emotions. I care about this place, but I also care about Coach Treadwell. I’m passionate about this place. This is the Cradle of Coaches, man. This is a program that, in the next seven weeks, you’re going to be proud of.”
Bath wouldn’t say whether he’d be promoting his own candidacy for the job, but Sayler said he will be looking closely at what happens over the next seven weeks.
Offensive coordinator and tight ends coach John Klacik was let go at the same time as Treadwell, and Bath indicated he would fill both roles. Matt Mountjoy has been promoted from graduate assistant to tight ends-running backs coach. Mark Spencer was moved from running backs to wide receivers, and first-year special teams coordinator Andrew Marlatt had safeties added to his job description, with defensive backs coach Ron Carpenter becoming responsible strictly for cornerbacks and adding co-special teams coordinator to his duties.
One immediate task facing Bath and the RedHawks is handling the ticklish situation of Treadwell’s son, Spencer, a third-year sophomore running back who’s started all five of Miami’s games this season.
“He’s one of us,” said Boucher, one of Miami’s four team captains. “He’s our starting running back. As a team, I know we’ll rally around him. It’s a tough time for him. When the time comes, I’ll take him under my arm.”
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