The normal retirement age in the United States is around 65. Most people are ready to end their working life at this age, if not earlier. They can look forward to vacations in Florida, cruises to Alaska, and following their favorite soap opera. Americans over the age of 55 start counting down the days, months, and weeks until they retire, as that magical time of retirement approaches.
Not Charlie Coles.
Charlie Coles, at 70 years old, is the second oldest coach in Division I basketball. He was born on February 6, 1942, a few months after Pearl Harbor was attacked to jump-start the United States' involvement in World War II. Coles was a standout at Bryan High School in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he averaged a stunning 42.1 points per game. He parlayed his high school success into a promising career at Miami University, where he averaged double digits in scoring every year and was a member of the 1964-1965 MAC Co-Champion squad.
Coles started out coaching high school but came back to the MAC in 1985, taking over as the Central Michigan coach. After six years there, he moved back to his alma mater as an assistant in 1992. In 1996, he was named head coach and has been there ever since. He's known all-around for the red sweater he wears during games and his eccentric press conferences. Surprisingly, he's loved all over the conference. Most MAC fans of other schools hate Miami, but love Charlie Coles. It's an interesting dynamic that doesn't happen that often within a conference.
While at Miami, Coles has been a notorious over-scheduler. This year he has played at Ohio State and at Vanderbilt. Last year's trips were to Duke, Ohio State again, and Kansas. The year before they went to Kentucky, New Mexico, and Colorado. While all of these were losses, Coles thinking is that it builds character. They normally enter conference play with a below-.500 record, but that tough non-conference schedule helps them in Mid-American Conference play. Miami has usually been a strong player in the Eastern division race in the past few years, even winning the conference in 2007. But this year, things aren't going well. Coles even said after this game that "We don't have a good team this year." The Redhawks entered this game at 8-15 on the year, and just 4-7 in conference.
This game started out as typical MAC East games do: tight. The lead was never more than six in the first half, and Miami freshman Brian Sullivan kept the Redhawks in it by hitting five threes. What really stood out was Akron freshman Demetrius Treadwell outplaying Miami senior and MAC Player of the Year candidate Julian Mavunga. Treadwell had nine points and four rebounds at half, while Mavunga was only able to muster two free throws. With the game tied, the Zips looked to key one of their second-half runs that they have come to know of this year.
And that they did. The Zips used a 11-2 run to open the half and never looked back. The most exciting moment came with 1:15 left when Miami guard Quinten Rollins was called for a technical foul. Coles objected, and started a vehement discussion with the referee as to why the tech was called. The tongue-lashing lasted about 30 seconds, and Coles was not given the T. MAC officials know Coles, and in this situation rightly let him speak his mind. The Zips ended up with a 15-point win, which pushed them to 11-1 in the MAC. Treadwell finished with 13 and 8 while Mavunga totaled 11 and 6. Sullivan cooled off, only scoring one bucket in the second half.
Unfortunately, Coles has heart problems that will probably cause him to retire at the end of the season. He actually had a heart attack during a game in 1998, and his age has caught up to him. It will be sad to see him go, whenever he decides to, because he is really one of the faces of the conference. The man will be greatly missed by those all over the Mid-American Conference landscape.
at AKRON 74, MIAMI (OH.) 59 02/15/2012
MIAMI (OH.) 8-16 (4-8) -- B. Sullivan 6-12 2-2 19; Q. Rollins 4-10 2-3 10; J. Mavunga 2-7 7-7 11; J. Harris 6-8 0-0 14; A. Thomas 1-3 0-0 2; J. Sewell 1-4 0-0 3; D. McGhee 0-2 0-0 0; V. Legarza 0-2 0-0 0; W. Sullivan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-48 11-12 59. AKRON 19-7 (11-1) -- A. Abreu 1-3 6-6 9; C. Gilliam 5-8 3-4 14; Z. Marshall 3-7 3-3 9; N. Cvetinovic 3-7 3-6 9; Q. Diggs 2-3 1-2 6; D. Treadwell 6-8 1-2 13; B. Walsh 2-2 0-0 5; N. Harney 2-9 3-3 7; B. McClanahan 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 25-49 20-26 74.
Three-point goals: MIO 8-23 (J. Mavunga 0-2; A. Thomas 0-2; J. Harris 2-3; Q. Rollins 0-3; J. Sewell 1-4; B. Sullivan 5-9), AKR 4-12 (C. Gilliam 1-2; B. Walsh 1-1; B. McClanahan 0-1; N. Cvetinovic 0-3; Q. Diggs 1-1; A. Abreu 1-2; N. Harney 0-2); Rebounds: MIO 20 (J. Mavunga 6), AKR 33 (D. Treadwell 8); Assists: MIO 15 (J. Mavunga 6), AKR 14 (A. Abreu 6); Total Fouls -- MIO 17, AKR 14; Fouled Out: MIO-None; AKR-None.