The University of Miami has fielded great players in the past, having won 5 national championships, from Ray Lewis to Ed Reed to Frank Gore. Lost in the jubilation of these triumphs are the coaches. Many are forgotten memories, but if you were to assemble the greatest coaching staff from Miami’s former and current coaches since the 1980s, you’d have the following list. We’re tossing out the NCAA rule for how many coaches a team can hire. This is fantasy sports coaching edition at its finest.
In part one, I’ll be discussing who I’d pick for my fantasy offensive staff. Part two will cover the defensive side of the ball. Watch out for part three, where I talk about special teams, recruiting coordinator, and my pick for head football coach. Part 3 will be a little controversial.
Offensive Coordinator - Mark Richt
Coach Richt is the perfect offensive coordinator. Currently, CMR calls the plays offensively as head coach for the Canes, and we’ve seen Miami’s run game improve year to year since Al Golden’s last season. CMR also called the plays at Florida State in the 90s winning a national championship as coordinator for Bobby Bowden. CMR’s offenses at Georgia were also outstanding. The Nick Chubb and Sony Michel combo that almost propelled Georgia to the national championship last year is of CMR’s doing. Current super stars in the NFL, like Matthew Stafford and Todd Gurley, honed their football craft under CMR. In a loaded field of excellent offensive coaches to have worked at Miami, CMR is the best pick to be offensive coordinator in this fantasy dream scenario.
Quarterbacks - Rob Chudzinski
Chud is renowned among Miami fans. He was the Canes offensive coordinator from 2001 to 2003. In 2004, Chud left Miami to become an NFL coach over 13 years for the Browns, Panthers, Colts, and Chargers. You could argue that things went sour for former Canes coach Larry Coker because Coker couldn’t find a suitable offensive coordinator upon Chud leaving the U. Chud would be a perfect quarterbacks coach because of what he accomplished with Ken Dorsey. Dorsey was a two-time Heisman candidate with a career 38 and 2 record. In terms of wins and losses, that’s about as good as it gets in Miami lore.
Running Backs - Don Soldinger
Soldinger was an assistant coach during the days of Jimmy Johnson, Butch Davis, and Larry Coker. Although Soldinger started off as a defensive assistant, he moved to the offensive side for Butch. Soldinger coached the best running backs in school history. To name a few, Clinton Portis, Frank Gore, Edgerrin James, and James Jackson. He also mentored Willis McGahee to Miami’s all-time season for running backs. McGahee was a Heisman candidate and owns school records for most rushing touchdowns and rushing yards in a single season.
Tight Ends - Larry Coker
We remember Coach Coker as the former Canes head coach who inherited the best Miami squads of all time. Those 2001 and 2002 Canes personified greatness and should have won back to back national titles. And although Coker fizzled out toward the end, he was undoubtedly a great offensive assistant. For God’s sake, Coker coached Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas at Oklahoma State. He also mentored Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson, and Jeremy Shockey at the U. Could he at least coach our tight ends to greatness? I think so.
Wide Receivers - Brad Bratkowski
Coach Brad is still in his prime even after 37 years as an NFL and CF assistant coach. He’s been an offensive coordinator for Weber State, Wyoming, Seattle Seahawks, and Cincinatti Bengals. Bratkowski is currently the wide receivers coach for the Tennessee Titans. What we often forget with regards to Bratkowski that he was the offensive coordinator at Miami from 1989 to 1991. Miami won national championships in 1989 and 1991. He coached Gino Torretta to a Heisman Trophy. With respects to coaching our wide receivers, Bratkowski has considerable experience tutoring wide receivers at various programs in addition to the NFL Titans. He held the same position for the Seahawks and the Steelers. He is overwhelmingly qualified to coach wide receivers at the college level.
Offensive Line - Art Kehoe
It’s hard not to pick Coach Kehoe for this fantasy list if anything because there aren’t a lot of options to choose from. Kehoe coached at Miami for 27 years, mostly in charge of the offensive line. He’s coached players like Bryant McKinney and Vernon Carey. He’s a legend among Canes fans, even if it seems that he bottomed out while coaching for Al Golden. A distant second fantasy alternative could be Mario Cristobal. I love Cristobal’s energy and recruiting acumen. With regards to accomplishments, however, Art Kehoe is the obvious pick.
Stay tuned for part two early next week, when I will pick the best of the best to be on my fantasy defensive coach team.
Who did I forget about in terms of previous offensive coaches at Miami? Please chime in at your convenience.