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Thursday, December 23, 2004

Is This League the Cradle of Coaches?

For those of you who are too young to have heard of the legend or too young to remember, Miami U. (to those in the midwest, the real Miami U., and not the poseur located in South Florida) was the cradle of coaches. This small school produced a bunch of top-notch football coaches, all of whom had the distinction of serving as assistant or head coaches at the Ohio school. Among the names: Notre Dame's Ara Parseighan, Woody Hayes, Paul Brown, Bo Schembechler, Sid Gillman, Carm Cozza and John Pont. That's a pretty good legacy, isn't it?

Well, for a small conference (and one that doesn't emphasize athletics), the Ivy League has produced its fair share of coaches, as illustrated by that high-powered public relations machine, the Ivy League. If you're an Ivy savant, you'll want to click the link and scour it to assess each and every person.

To needle both Penn and Princeton alums, I'll note that much smaller Princeton has more than twice as many people referenced than Penn, which has the Ivies' largest undergrad population. The significance of this, you ask? Penn alums will say (somewhat in jest) that this list proves that Princeton is really a jock school that places an unusual if not altogether untoward emphasis on athletics. Princeton alums would retort (again in jest) that all Penn alums care about is going to work on Wall Street to make money and further boast of the advantages that the Wharton School of Business conveys, contend that their school broadens more minds with its emphasis on a true liberal arts education (while Wharton narrows them), and that Princeton is producing more teachers, even if they happen to be coaches, than its much larger rival.

Many a truth is said in jest, but all this list really demonstrates is who is a head or assistant coach somewhere. Nothing more, nothing less, except if you look closely look at all of the opportunities women student athletes at these schools have. Okay, so Joe Paterno is really the only "famous" Ivy alum who is a head coach at a college or in the pros (in contrast, Bill Bellichik of the Patriots is an alumnus of Wesleyan University in Connecticut, an outstanding liberal arts college that is part of New England's Little Three). But the sheer number of alums who are in coaching says something about the well-roundedness of the conference.

Still, in the overall scheme of things, there's very little, if anything, that can top Miami U's list. Paul Brown? Woody Hayes? Bo Schembechler? Ara Parseighan?

It doesn't get much better than that.

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