Dan Kukla

You don’t need a calendar or a giant dropping ball to know it’s a new year.

The wave diets, work-out programs and hip-hop abs is sweeping the nation, leaving a trail of post-holiday regret in its wake. Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions.

Here in Oxford, Miami coaches are no exception. Several RedHawk teams made one or more holiday mistakes over the break. Below is a breakdown of New Year’s resolutions I am assigning the coaches of these squads to help shed those Christmas calories.

Mike Haywood-Head Football Coach

With the signing of Notre Dame’s former offensive coordinator, the Miami gridders already checked off the top priority on their list before 2009 even began. After a season that saw the RedHawks win only one game against Division I-A schools, it’s hard to come up with just one resolution for Miami’s new general. Overall, however, I think the most pressing issue for this team is discipline. From unnecessary penalties, to sloppy turnovers to a general lack of motivation or effort, the men in Red and White need to be whipped back into winning form. Miami committed the third most penalties in the MAC and ranked second to last in turnover margin. Coach Haywood’s New Year’s resolution: establish a locker room culture of discipline and respect.

Charlie Coles-Head Men’s Basketball Coach

Annoyingly effective defense and slow tempo offense. This pretty much sums up Miami’s style of play over the past 13 years under Coach Coles. Even this season, with the deepest and most athletic basketball team Oxford has seen in quite some time, this principle holds true. Kenny Hayes and Antonio Ballard are both on the shelf right now but when they come back I’d like to see Coles let the boys loose a bit. With a healthy roster, the ‘Hawks legitimately play three deep at point guard, feature a dynamic duo of sharp shooters behind the arc and have the athleticism to both run the floor and convert acrobatic plays. This attack holds all the ingredients for an up-tempo, high-scoring offense. Sure, such a transition gives the opponents more possessions and requires more minutes from the bench. The RedHawks, however, will be deeper and better defensively than most of their competition now that MAC play has started. Personally, I think more playing time for freshmen Kramer Soderberg and Julian Mavunga helps rather than hurts this team both in the short and long term. Coach Coles’ New Year’s resolution: utilize the talent on his team by implementing an up-tempo offense.

Enrico Blasi-Head Ice Hockey Coach

I already know what Rico’s actual resolution for ’09 is: “get better every day.” If you’ve ever been around him for more than five minutes that you should be quite familiar with this, his favorite tag line. Before the team’s New Year’s hangover that left them 0-4 and out scored 16-5 during break, I had already written this segment of my column. Here’s a brief excerpt: “Other than the occasional bump in the road, Miami typically rips through its regular season schedule with ease. It’s now time to take the next step. It’s time to win in the postseason. Coach Blasi’s New Year’s resolution: Break Miami’s tradition of post-season frustration and take the RedHawks to the Frozen Four.” However, bring into consideration recent events (Miami’s 0-4 start to ’09), all I can hear now is for Indianapolis Colts coach screaming “Playoffs!? Don’t talk about playoffs! Playoffs!? Are you kidding me!? I just want to win a game! Playoffs!?” Coach Blasi’s New Year’s resolution: win a game.

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