It was a brutal season for the Miami-Ohio Redhawks. They finished 11-21 on the season, and announced that their head coach, John Cooper, would not be returning. The woes continued in the off-season, with the Weather’s brothers, a huge percentage of their offense, announcing that they were transferring. According to this article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Michael Weathers wasn’t impressed with the culture at Miami.
"I really love how Coach Anderson really illustrated that they play hard, play tough and play with character," Weathers said. "That's a huge thing because coming from an environment where the team didn't do so well and care about losing, but at Arkansas you have a winning culture and winning environment. That's what I would like to do."
The RedHawks went out and hired Jack Owens, a Purdue assistant, to run their program. The Boilermakers racked up 53 wins over the last two seasons. While a member of the coaching staff at Purdue, they made the NCAAs 7 out of the last 9 seasons and averaged a little over 23 wins per season.
Hiring a winner is the best way to turn around a culture of losing.
When Owens rounded out his staff, he added three guys that were with him at Purdue. Ryne Smith was named director of basketball operations. A former player and student-assistant at Purdue, he was in High School basketball the last few seasons.
Assistant coach Kenneth Lowe was a defensive minded player at Purdue before playing overseas, and when he came back, he was a video coordinator for his Alma mater.
J.R. Reynolds was also named an assistant coach, and spent time at Purdue as a graduate assistant before heading to Eastern Illinois.
Owens added experience when he named Jeff Rutter as an assistant. He spent time at Iowa State, where they earned a pair of NCAA births, and also spent time and North Dakota State and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. He was most recently at Drake, where he was first an assistant before filling the role of interim head coach the final half of last season.
It appears that the culture is, in fact, changing. On the first day of the national signing period, the RedHawks were able to land 6’5 guard Jalen Adaway. The athletic Adaway averaged 15.7 points and 8 rebounds as a senior, and was rewarded for his effort by being named to the Large-school All-State Team by the Indy Star.
He was a big reason why his high school won their first conference title in 40 years.
If I were a RedHawks basketball fan, there would be legit reasons why I would be optimistic for the future.