Thursday, February 5, 2004

National exposure pays off in big way

Miami University

By Mark Schmetzer
Enquirer contributor

Five Miami University football games were nationally televised last season, but RedHawks coach Terry Hoeppner needed to go only as far as Middletown to see the impact.

In fact, Middletown running back Jimmy Calhoun went to Hoeppner to deliver the news.

"Jimmy was about to commit to a Big Ten team, but he saw us on TV on a Saturday," Hoeppner said. "He came over (to Oxford) on Sunday and said, 'Coach, I saw you on TV yesterday. I want to commit.' "

Calhoun was one of 24 high school seniors who signed letters of intent to accept scholarships from Miami Wednesday.

The RedHawks are coming off a 13-1 season that included the Mid-American Conference championship and a GMAC Bowl victory over Louisville.

"The ESPN factor had a tangible effect," Hoeppner said. "You can see the results if you look at the players we recruited and where they're from."

The RedHawks lost five starting linemen and tight end Matt Brandt to graduation. The latest recruiting class includes 13 linemen or tight ends.

Miami, known as the Cradle of Coaches, also recruited two players with coaching connections.

Chris Shula, a linebacker from Florida, is the son of former Bengals coach Dave Shula and grandson of NFL Hall of Fame coach Don Shula.

Georgia's Sean McVay, whose position was not specified, is the grandson of John McVay Sr., who played at Miami and coached Dayton and the New York Giants before serving as San Francisco's general manager in its five Super Bowl wins.

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