Carmen Cozza '52: A standout athlete, Carmen Cozza played football under Woody Hayes and Ara Parseghian and baseball for Woody Willis. He played three different positions in football--quarterback, halfback and safety. His record of four pass interceptions in a single game, was the second highest in Miami's record at the time. He was a member of Miami's 1950 football team, which won the Mid-American Conference title and defeated Arizona State in the Salad Bowl. He ran the football 29 times for 133 yards and one touchdown. A pitcher and outfielder, he had a career batting average of .388 and an ERA of 1.50. He threw a no-hit shutout his senior year. Cozza was captain of the baseball team in 1952. Following graduation in 1952, he played two and one-half years of minor league baseball with the farm clubs of the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox. After several years of high school coaching at Gilmour Academy and Collinwood, he returned to Miami as freshman football coach under John Pont. The Green Bay Packers signed on Cozza in 1955. He eventually moved to varsity backfield coach in 1961. He moved to Yale with Pont in 1963 and took over as head football coach in 1965 when Pont went to Indiana. In five years he guided Yale to a record of 30 wins, 14 defeats and one tie and won three Ivy League championships. Cozza record for 11 years as head coach at Yale was 69-29-1. He was honored as Ivy League Coach of the Year. Carmen Cozza was inducted in to Miami's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1970.
Wayne Embry '58: At Miami, Wayne Embry became a two-time honorable mention All-America selection in 1954-58. As a two-time all-Mid-American Conference center, Embry led the Redskins to conference championships and NCAA Tournament appearances in 1957 and 1958. He lead the MAC in scoring and rebounding in his last two season and still holds several school records, including best career rebounding average (15.5). He ranks amoung Miami University leaders in the all-time scoring list with 1,401 points and rebounding list with 1,117. He holds both Miami and MAC records for most rebounds in a game 34) and season (488). During his career, he was one of only 10 players in MAC history to total more than 1,000 career points and rebounds. He was selected to the Helms Athletic Foundation All-America third team as a senior. Embry is one of only four players in Miami's history to have his jersey (#23) retired. Embry played 10 professional seasons with the Cincinnati Royals, Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks. He earned a NBA championship with the Celtics (1968) and was named to five NBA All-Star teams. While Embry enjoyed a solid playing career, his overall impact on basketball uniquely covers both on- and off-court activities. In 1971, Embry became the NBA's first African American team general manager with the Bucks, a position he held until 1979. From 1986 to 1994, he served as vice president and general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and in 1994, he became the NBA's first African American team president with the Cavaliers. In Cleveland, Embry has overseen and attendance increase from 9,533 to 16,942 per game. In Cleveland's first 16 years, the Cavaliers averaged 31 wins and four playoff appearances. The last12 years under Embry, the Cavs had averaged 45 wins and had nine playoff appearances. For his efforts, The Sporting News named him NBA Executive of the Year in 1992 and 1998 and Sports Illustrated names him Executive of the Year in 1998.
Jim Gordon '31: An outstanding track performer, Jim Gordon was the first Miamian to participate in the Olympics. He was a finalist in the 400-meters in the Olympic Games held in Los Angeles in 1932. Gordon led Miami to three consecutive Buckeye Conference track championships from 1929-31. He was the top point producer on the team, participating in the 100-, 220- and 400-yard dashes, mile relay and low hurdles. He was undefeated and Buckeye Conference champion for three years in his specialty, the 440. His best time in the 440 came in the final American trails for the Olympics when he was clocked in :47.8. He lettered three years as an end in football under Coach Chester Pittser and was a teammate of Paul Brown. He caught two touchdown passes from Brown in a game against Wittenberg in 1928. Following graduation from Miami in 1931, Gordon coached eight years at Cleveland West Tech High School and two years at Lehigh University. He received his master's degree from Ohio State in 1935. Gordon returned to Miami in 1946 as an assistant in track, football and basketball. He became Athletic Manager in 1948. In 1950 he assumed the position as Chairman of Men's Health and Physical Education Department. He is the author of a textbook entitled Track and Field: Changing Concepts and Modern Techniques. Speaking of his book, which is dedicated to George Rider, Gordon said: "I felt the need to document Miami's track history and to help preserve on record Miami's track tradition."
Virgil E. Perry '24: Selected as one of Miami's all-time "Gridiron Greats," Virgil Perry was an outstanding fullback who played without headgear in the early 1920's. A member of Miami's 1921 team, which went undefeated and captured the Ohio Conference championship, Perry followed by winning All-Ohio honors in 1922. He was captain of the 1923 football team. A sportswriter once remarked: "Perry is a deadly tackler, an elusive runner, an accurate passer and excellent line plunger." Perry also excelled in track where he was a champion broad jumper. Holder of the Ohio Intercollegiate Athletic Association broad jump record during that time, Perry finished third in the NCAA meet in Chicago in 1923 with a leap of 23 feet, four inches. He was also a member of Miami's championship sprint relay team in 1924. Perry also participated in intramural wrestling and boxing and was president of the "M" Association in 1924. Inducted into Miami's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1970.
Chester M. Pittser: Considered by many to be one of the men responsible for helping to start the "Cradle of Coaches," Chester Pittser coached Miami football for eight years and baseball for seven seasons. His football teams from 1924-31 compiled a record of 41 victories, 25 defeats and two ties. He coached Paul Brown, Weeb Ewbank and Tom Sharkey--all Miami Hall of Fame members. Pittser's baseball teams captured three Buckeye Conference titles and shared tow in compiling a record of 77 wins and 21 losses. An all-league fullback and pitcher at Colorado School of Mines, Pittser graduated from the University of Illinois in 1924. He received his master's degree from Columbia University in 1931. Before coming to Miami, Pittser coached football and basketball for two years at Montana School of Mines. After leaving Miami, he coached football, basketball and baseball at Montclair State College.
Tom Sharkey '26: A former co-holder of the world record in the 100-yard dash (:09.6), Tom Sharkey was an outstanding track and football performer and also participated in basketball and boxing before graduating in 1926. Undefeated in dual meets during his collegiate career, he captured 13 Ohio Buckeye and Big Six Conference titles in the 100- and 220-yard dashes. He won the Ohio AAU 220-yard dash in 1925 and followed by winning the National AAU 220 in 1926. He held Miami's 220-yard dash record of :21.1 at the time. Captain of the 1925 football team, he earned three letters as a halfback and was selected as one of Miami's all-time "Gridiron Greats." He was selected to the all-Ohio team as the end of his senior year. A scholar athlete, he served as president of the "M" Association. He has also served as president of the Miami University Alumni Association (1937-38). A past president of the American Diabetes Association, Dr. Sharkey received his M.D. Degree from the University of Cincinnati and was in internal medicine in Dayton.