Entering his second football season at Miami, Head Coach Michael Haywood is looking to recreate the winning tradition that so many coaches before him have had. In his 22 seasons of coaching football, Haywood has had the privilege of working with coaches such as Nick Saban, Charlie Weis, Mack Brown and Lou Holtz, but he is proud to be the head coach at Miami.
“My fondest coaching memory was when (Athletic Director) Brad Bates called me at 5 a.m. when I was in Hawaii and offered me the head coaching job at Miami,” Haywood said. “(Miami) is an institution with outstanding academics and a storied football tradition.”
After lettering four years at Notre Dame first as a wide receiver and then as a cornerback, Haywood got into coaching when he was contacted to become a graduate assistant at Minnesota in 1988 and then became an assistant coach at Army the following year.
Haywood has used his past experiences and his knowledge of the game to start rebuilding Miami into a powerhouse school in the Mid-American Conference once again.
“I try to change the quality of life of the students,” Haywood said. “We need to (carry) ourselves like champions, we need to eat nutritious foods like champions, we need to lift like champions, we need to perform in the classroom and become good students like champions and we need to become an expert at our position like a champion.”
Haywood’s leadership has helped to reshape the Red and White both on and off the field.
“I think that the strongest part of our team is that we have become closer together this offseason,” senior offensive lineman Bob Gulley said. “(Coach Haywood) has enforced effort, toughness and attitude in the team, which has really helped us prepare for the season.”
Although the RedHawks have a relatively young squad taking the field this season, there are some key seniors such as Gulley and senior safety Jordan Gafford, both of whom are captains for Miami, who will help to lead the Red and White this season. For Gafford, it is his second straight season as a captain, and he will be the main defensive leader for the RedHawks.
“Gafford brings experience and knowledge to this team,” Haywood said. “He uses his Christian ways to help give direction and guidance to the other guys and has really made an impact on this team.”
In addition to Gafford and Gulley, redshirt sophomore quarterback Zac Dysert and sophomore defensive lineman Austin Brown were also named captains for the 2010 season. Brown has quickly become one of the RedHawks’ top defensive players in only his second season at Miami, while all eyes will be on Dysert after a breakthrough season last year.
With just over a week until the ‘Hawks’ season opener, players and coaches alike are anxious to get back on the field.
“I am looking forward to competing against 12 different opponents this year,” Haywood said. “But I also enjoy being a dad, which is the best part of my day.”