OXFORD, Ohio – Miami University Director of Athletics David Sayler set the tone early on at Wednesday afternoon’s introductory press conference for new head football coach Chuck Martin.
“It’s great when a plan comes together,” Sayler said. “As hard as it was to make a change in the middle of the year, it was done to get a head start and close this thing up as quickly as possible after the season was done. Someone that’s been a sitting head coach and someone that has experience at the Division I level were the two key factors in the process. We found someone who checked those boxes and then some. From the belief in the academic mission and the things they believe in personally, it was perfect when I first met Chuck.”
Looking at Martin’s full resume, it became increasingly easy to see why he is the 36th head coach in MU history.
“A couple things to point out, 74-7 in six years as a head coach at Grand Valley State,” Sayler said. “That’s pretty strong leadership from a head coach. More than two decades of coaching experience and called plays on both sides of the ball. In seven of the last 13 years, he has coached in a national championship game. He has never failed.”
With the introductions out of the way, Martin took the stand for his first words with the public. The newest RedHawk head coach wasted little time letting everyone know his priorities as he settles into his office.
“We’re going to bring the right people in here that fit what the university is about,” Martin said. “We’ll roll up our sleeves and have a blue collar football team. We’re going to out prepare and outwork teams. We won’t cut any corners to get there, we’ll do it the right way and build this program to last. It’s going to be something that we all can be proud of.”
As to how he intends to turn around a program that has fallen on some tough times, Martin was quick to mention the recruiting hotbed that the state of Ohio is.
“We want to get a lot of really good players,” a smirking Martin cracked. “We’re in the top state in the Midwest as far as football talent and passion for the game goes. I want players that love to play the game. Is he a person that wants to play in a championship and be in that moment, that’s the type of student-athletes we want in the program.”
A disciplinarian at heart, one of the more pointed moments of the conference came when Martin talked about the role models he had under his roof growing up.
“My dad taught me at a young age if you’re going to do something, do it to the best of your abilities,” Martin said. “Everything I do now is based on those teachings. My brother instilled his competitiveness in me. I was a class clown type growing up, but he taught me that opportunities can pass you by if you don’t do things at a high level.”
Still, coaching is an always changing profession and Martin was quick to point out the sideline bosses who mentored him along the way.
“I’ve been blessed,” Martin said. “Dan Runkle helped me get started as a graduate assistant at Mankato State. I also learned a lot under Doug Neibuhr both at Wittenberg and Millikin. They were unbelievable people to learn from in my first six years in the business. I probably learned the most about football from Rick Rasnick at Eastern Michigan. Brian Kelly changed my life in coaching when he hired me at Grand Valley State. I had a great time working there, he is one of the most successful coaches in America and he has won at all levels.”
When fans look at the most successful coaches in their sports, one common trait is never backing down to challenges. In Chuck Martin, Miami has found someone who not only embraces the challenges of a higher learning institution, but sees it as an advantage when convincing talented athletes to choose Miami for an education.
“I think the academics are an advantage in recruiting and it makes my job easier,” Martin said. “I convince kids that we’re going to win conference championships and go to bowl games. If you aren’t at a school like Miami, you have to sell the other things. A Miami degree is a great thing to have and so is access to Miami’s network.”
As for rebuilding the tradition of Miami football, Martin spoke plainly about what needs to be done in his mind. His achievements are vast on his resume and he embraces moving Miami forward.
“Sometimes it takes a day to build a mountain, sometimes it takes longer,” Martin said. “If you keep chipping away and you can accomplish great things. If we stick to the process and get the right people involved in our program, we’ll get to where we want to be.”