Treadwell 'living the dream' at Miami Print E-mail
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Former Miami walk-on Don Treadwell helped Jim Tressel win a national championship and also coordinated one of the Big Ten's top offenses during his career as an assistant coach. He now takes over the reins at his alma mater. Photo by Mike Smith.
WEST CHESTER , OH - Miami University is nationally known as the Cradle of Coaches. But its football program also has a tradition of outstanding contributions from walk-on players.  There was evidence of both Monday as former walk-on Don Treadwell, who became a four-year starter at MU, was introduced as the Miami football programs 34th head coach.

Today, I stand as one of those men who lived their dream of being the head football coach at his alma mater Miami University , Treadwell said shortly after his introduction.
The former wide receiver recalled coming to Miami and experiencing considerable trepidation when he saw the size and skills of veteran scholarship player on the squad. His walk-on roommate apparently noticed, as well, because he left after two days, Treadwell said, adding, The high school I came from, you never saw (guys) that size.
Treadwell, a former Oberlin High School quarterback, stuck it out, even after being moved to wide receiver, and quickly found his way into Coach Tom Reeds lineup. Treadwell started all four years (1978-1981) and earned First Team All Mid-American Conference honors as a junior. He had 73 career catches for 1,540 yards, averaging a school-record 21.1 yards per catch.
We went to college together at Miami , Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said recently. He was very fast, and I couldnt cover him. He recruits players who play as well as he did. 
By 1986, the former RedHawks team captain (senior year) had joined the coaching ranks. His first stop was at Youngstown State, where he worked for six seasons under current Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel. Treadwell was in his second year as offensive coordinator when the Penguins won an NCAA 1-AA National Championship.
Nine stops and 15 years later, Treadwell followed Mark Dantonio from Cincinnati to Michigan State . In his time with the Spartans, Treadwell developed one of the Big Ten Conferences most balanced and productive offenses.
His pedigree, mentors, extensive responsibilities, cumulative experiences in five major conferences and values distinguish him as a great teacher, Miami Director of Athletics Brad Bates said.
Bates noted the RedHawks recent success only bolstered interest in the Miami head coaching spot, and Treadwell emerged from a very impressive field of candidates. 
From our research, Bates said, we ultimately (consulted) 24 athletic directors, four conference commissioners, three executive directors, 31 FBS coaches, five NFL head coaches, 12 Miami alums who are leaders in the industry, 117 assistant coaches and many members of our Cradle of Coaches and we came down to one extraordinary man.
Everyone we talked to had the most respect for him and his capabilities, Miami President David Hodge told media and guests assembled at the Miami Voice of America Campus.
In addition to the glowing reports on Treadwell, Hodge was also impressed by what he heard from the candidate. Here was a person that understood Miami , Hodge said. I have no doubt that he will be a leader, that he will be a successful coach, (and) that he will reinforce all those values that have made Miami special over all these years.
Because of my awesome experience here at Miami University as a student-athlete, Treadwell said, it will be my goal that every player that wears the Red and White deserves an experience that captures his heart just like the one I (had).
Along the way, Treadwell wants the RedHawks to capture championships and establish a culture of success on the field. Some significant steps in that direction occurred this past season as the unheralded team that won a single game in 2009 recorded 10 victories, won a MAC title and brought home the bowl trophy.
My vision our football program, Treadwell said, is to take the current success and the momentum that we have and to elevate our expectations as a football team, so that as we move forward, winning championships and being part of an exciting football team is a way of life.
In addition to his opening statement, Treadwell also took questions from the media. Among the topics discussed Monday were:
Were moving at a pretty good pace, Treadwell said when asked about forming a new staff. Having coached for (a while), not only did I have an A list ready, I (also) had a full B list. So, if anything, I had a challenge to try to decide whom to bring aboard. 
While the RedHawks have benefitted from the previous staffs connections in places like Texas and Louisiana , Treadwell indicated Ohio and neighboring states are a prime target.
When you look across the country, the State of Ohio is easily in the top three or top four every year, he said. Not only myself but many members of our staff also have extensive recruiting experience in this great state of Ohio . We will make Ohio our home state as it should be and we can branch out into the various areas certainly the connecting states in the Midwest and maybe some (other) highlighted areas, as well.
Miami found out about the departure of former Head Coach Michael Haywood Dec. 15, and the search for a new coach began immediately. It ultimately took 16 days to complete the process. Asked how it impacted recruiting, Treadwell first complimented the previous staff for laying a foundation. Were not playing catch-up as many staffs would, because the young men who have been committed have already been (on visits) to Miami University . So, if anything, it will be more time spent with me going out to see the commitments, and all of them have been very excited.
Even as he prepares to land a crop of football recruits for next months National Signing Day (Feb. 3), Treadwell is intent on bringing a much larger group into the fold. We look forward to a great opportunity to move forward with the student body, Treadwell said. My staff and I cant wait to get out with you (students) and share the excitement that we have and the passion for this university. We need you as a student body to help us create the momentum of a true home field advantage. 
In the parlance of flexible scheduling, Treadwell might have characterized the 2011 RedHawks offensive scheme as TBD (To Be Determined).
I think you kind of evaluate what you have (with your players), said Treadwell, adding that he and his staff have coached in a variety of systems, including the option, spread and pro systems.  I think you make a decision about what you have, and then you make a decision (about scheme) from there to highlight those talents.

Treadwell knows what it is like to lose a coach, and recounted an experience from his time at Miami. My position coach left, he recalled. I was heartbroken, but because of the love of the Miami football family, you weather that (and) you continue to grow stronger.
Who was that position coach? A guy named Jim Tressel.

While Treadwell and staff are working the recruiting trail hard, Miamis 34th head coach also remembers his earliest days in Red and White the days when he was a walk-on. The community there, as far as our football team, really embraced me, he said. They didnt hold the fact that I was a walk-on against me, and that was so memorable.
Football walk-on tryouts for the coming year are scheduled for March 16 at Yager Stadium. Candidates will bring their skills and determination. Treadwell will provide respect.

Looking ahead, Treadwell made a promise to the alumni and fans around the country. As you watch Miami football, you will see a team that plays with passion, discipline and great expectations.


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