Ten things Bronco fans probably didn't know about Miami University or their Redhawk roost
10) Miami University was founded in Oxford, Ohio in 1809 and is the 10th oldest public university in the entire United States. The university's first president was a Scottish expat by the name of Robert Hamilton Bishop. Bishop was a Presbyterian minister and professor who envisioned Miami U as the "Yale of the West". For all Bishop's academic strengths, it appears that geography was not his specialty. Of course, since the Broncos are Big East bound next year, I'm afraid I must retire any and all geography jokes for the foreseeable future. We had a good run.
9) Miami University, better known as Miami of Ohio, played it's first football game in 1888. Their first football game was also their first football season as Miami only had one game on the docket...a December tussle in Oxford against Cincinnati. The game ended in a 0-0 tie (basically, a typical Big Ten conference game). The following year, a coachless Miami squad went 4-0 and outscored their hapless opponents 100 to 4. Miami, in fact, competed without a coach for their first 8 years of football until coach C.K. Fauver came along and ruined the free-for-all in 1895. Fauver—who left the school after just one 3-1 season—was no ordinary coach...he also suited up and played for the squad (and quite well, it appears).
"Rah, Rah, Roar?"
8) Most folks don't know that one of college football's greatest coaching rivalries was born at Miami...well, sort of. Legendary Ohio State coach Woody Hayes and legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembechler both got their head coaching feet wet for the first time at Miami before moving on to their more well-known institutions. Hayes holds the edge over Schembechler in win percentage whilst at Miami (73% to 69%), though Schembechler did coach 4 more seasons in Oxford. Hayes also holds the edge over Schembechler in the "punching Charlie Bauman" category with a sparkling 1-0 record.
"I never met a man I didn't like...to punch"
7) Most people think that Ben Roethslisberger is the most accomplished football player to ever come out of Miami University. Those people are correct. Big Ben left Miami after just 3 years, but passed for over 10,000 yards and 80 TDs (a feat Kellen Moore called "cute"). The Roethlisberger-led 2003 squad went 13-1 and finished #10 in the AP poll (their first ranking since 1975). Their lone loss that year was to the Iowa Hawkeyes, who finished #8 in the final AP poll. Roethlisberger has won two Super Bowl rings since being drafted in 2004, but his proudest accomplishment is starting his own signature line of BBQ sauces.
6) Miami's football team has only been known as the "Redhawks" since 1997. Prior to that they were known as the "Redskins"...and going even further back, the team was known as "the Big Reds", "the Reds and Whites", and even "the Miami Boys". Note: do not EVER confuse Miami University with the University of Miami, if you do, Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson and Michael Irvin will personally come over and choke you out. An easy way to keep the two apart is to just refer to the University of Miami as "The U" (again, failure to do so will result in aforementioned choking out) and Miami University as "That other school with the similar sounding name to 'The U'...oh geez why are Melvin Bratton and Bennie Blades scowling at me?"
5) Percentage-wise the worst head coach in Miami history was Arthur K. Smith, who coached the team for just one forgettable season in 1904. Smith's team went 1-5 on the year and were outscored by opponents to the tune of 283-12—their only win coming against Hamilton Athletic Club (an epic 12-6 smackdown). Smith never coached for the school, or any school again. So, who was this guy? Well, to start with—he was just a kid. Smith had lettered in football at Dartmouth in 1901 and 1902 and after graduating in 1903 had been helping out with coaching duties at West Point. That was apparently a good enough pedigree for Miami to give him a shot...a shot they immediately regretted. Reading the school newspaper from 1904 makes you think that Smith might have embellished his resume just a little bit. Not sure there are many coaches out there that have been entrusted with so much with a smaller body of work than Smith...okay...okay...Lane Kiffin.
Well, he did in fact make them play football...so I guess there's no disputing that.
4) Miami's oldest and biggest rival is the University of Cincinnati, whom they've played with few interruptions since 1888. Since the 1890s the two schools have played for the Victory Bell—a bell that used to hang in Miami's Harrison Hall until it was "borrowed" by Cincinnati fans after their annual game. Over the next 40 or so years, the schools swapped the bell after victories, until the 1930s when the bell disappeared (likely stolen by Nicolas Cage, along with the Declaration of Independence). A new replica bell was cast after the original turned back up in 1946 (scratch that...Hitler stole it) and that "new" bell is kept in possession of the winning team every year—with the all-time Cincy victories painted on the black and red side and Miami's victories listed on the red and white side. Currently, Miami holds a slight edge, at 59-50-7.
No dumber than a milk can.
3) Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president of the United States, was a Miami University grad (and quite the party animal). Harrison totally pwned incumbent Grover Cleveland in the 1888 election, but was defeated by Cleveland in 1892. During Harrison's term in office (1889-1893), six states were admitted to the union, including Idaho. He died from influenza in 1901. Oh, and current vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan received his economics and political science degree from Miami U as well...so maybe graduating from Miami is a good omen for Republican politicians—as long as that rascal Grover Cleveland isn't around to spoil things.
2) Miami University is actually home to one of the best-selling authors of all time. William Holmes McGuffey was a professor at the university beginning in 1826, and during that time period, he authored The McGuffey Readers...one of the country's oldest and most widely-used series of textbooks for children. The Readers have sold over 122 million copies—putting it in the realm of The Bible and Webster's Dictionary for overall book sales. McGuffey's secret to success? Teaching kids grammar and spelling with relatable subjects:
1) Miami's student newspaper, The Miami Student, was founded in 1826 and claims to be the oldest university newspaper in the country. Benjamin Harrison was reportedly very good at the Jumble™, and loved Marmaduke comics with all his heart. Dartmouth College disputes Miami's claims of having the oldest university newspaper, claiming theirs was founded in 1799...why you always such a buzzkill, Dartmouth?