Since 1983 Coach Bobby Kramig has been synonymous with RedHawk soccer.
“His dedication sets the example,” Assistant Coach Nate Lee said. “We talk to the girls about what it means to be an athlete at Miami University and more specifically to be in Miami soccer. I think it carries more weight because Bobby is Miami soccer.”
Kramig has ushered in international talent for his soccer pitch and produced well-rounded adults who now call him mentor while blowing the whistle for men’s and women’s soccer squads. His practices are tough and he can be intimidating, but his methods simply produce.
Aside from the numerous Mid-American Conference tournament titles, memorable upsets over national soccer powers and fervent fidelity to Liverpool F.C., Kramig is a family man who keeps his job and vuvuzela out of the house.
“When I came to Miami I wasn’t really thinking about making a career here,” Kramig said. “I wasn’t thinking about how long I would stay. It was 1983 and we were starting a new men’s team. My wife and I just thought we would get it up and operating and take a look at how things are going and look at our options from there. As time went on I had a family of my own and settled in and Oxford is just a great place to live. We really like it here and wanted to raise our family here. We decided it couldn’t get any better than this.”
After a Title IX ruling eliminated the men’s soccer team, the coach stuck around and the program didn’t skip a beat.
“Its not a gender-specific thing,” Kramig said. “The most rewarding part of this job is having the opportunity to work with these kids, get to know these kids and get to see how they develop not only as athletes, but as people.”
Kramig pulled double-duty for two years, coaching both men’s and women’s soccer and spent his fall racking up sky miles.
“I can remember the men’s team having a tournament in North Carolina Thursday and the women’s team having a game here in Oxford and having to jump on a plane Saturday morning and fly back down Sunday morning to catch the men in the tournament,” Kramig said. “Sometimes this job presents unique challenges but you have to do your best to rise up to the challenge.”
After the final season of the men’s team, Kramig and his staff made sure to lend a hand to the men that suited up that year by helping them transfer or graduate while keeping the game in their lives. The captain of his final men’s team in 1998 is now the assistant coach. Lee now gets to see another side of his former coach.
“Back then I was intimidated by Coach Kramig and I always just wanted to please him and he definitely made me nervous my freshman and sophomore years,” Lee said. “Now I see certainly a different side of him. It’s definitely different on the other side of things, more of a professional relationship/friendship. One thing that the girls find funny is that I still call him coach after all of these years.”
Lee said the coach goes out of his way to help out his former players and family still today.
“When the season ended he took most of the seniors, anyone who really wanted to, to a national coaches convention,” Lee said. “Across all careers he is able to put people in touch. He takes care of his family and extended family above and beyond the call of duty. His daughter goes to school in Cincinnati, so everyday he has to drive her to school at 5 a.m. and he always beats us in the office. He’s already been awake for three hours.”
Since 1997, Kramig’s women’s teams have gone 132-109-18. He also started a youth soccer program in the Oxford area known as the “M” League in which his student athletes act as coaches. Today more than a dozen former RedHawks are coaching after getting their start in the “M” League.
“I think he is a living legend,” Lee said. “He’s approaching his 30th year here and has been the only coach of the women’s soccer team. He has created a vast alumni network. I think his legacy will stand the test of time here.”
Kramig and his wife Karen have been married for 26 years and reside in Oxford.