Athletic director David Sayler said he had concerns about Don Treadwell’s Miami football program in terms of game-week preparations, planning and recruiting. Certainly there was the record, 0-5 this season and 8-21 in two-plus seasons.
But Treadwell’s firing Sunday was also about something less quantifiable.
“When I looked at our kids, I just saw kind of a hopeless feeling,’ Sayler said Monday. “We were all frustrated. Everybody was. Don was, too.
“But we didn’t seem to have a plan to correct it and fix it that the kids believed in. That’s when I knew I had to step in.”
Offensive coordinator John Klacik also was fired. Treadwell and Klacik both were members of Jim Tressel’s Youngstown State staff in the 1990s.
Quarterback Austin Boucher said players didn’t always feel as if they were put in the best position to win.
“If you have an arsenal and the opportunities, it’s more on the players’ shoulders,” he said. “I think that might have been lacking a little bit from an offensive standpoint.”
Mike Bath, quarterbacks/wide receivers coach, was elevated to interim head coach and offensive coordinator.
Sayler met with Treadwell about noon Sunday to inform him of the decision. He said Treadwell handled it graciously.
“He knows there’s a scoreboard,” Sayler said. “We’re a little different here than the academics side of the house in that there’s a scoreboard and we’re judged and that’s something we have to live up to.
“This is a proud program and it’s lost its edge. And we need to get it back.”
Bath, a former Miami quarterback himself, grew emotional when he spoke of receiving a congratulatory text from Tammy Walker, widow of Randy Walker, Bath’s coach at Miami.
“It’s such a conflict of emotions,” Bath said. “I care about coach Treadwell, and I’m passionate about this place, and it hurts that we’re at the situation we’re at.
“What I’ll guarantee everybody is this: We’re going to put a product on the field that everybody is going to be proud of.”
Bath, a first-time head coach, said he wouldn’t engage in politicking for the job; Sayler said while the administration was solidly behind Bath for the rest of the season, he would engage the help of a search firm for help in identifying and vetting candidates for the permanent job.
“I definitely have a list. You have to in this business,” he said.
Sayler said he values head-coaching experience, and experience at levels lower than Division I.
It’s also the path Sayler followed when he left administrative roles at bigger schools for the AD job at South Dakota. “Like my own background, I tend to believe people that have gotten it done with less are people I admire,” Sayler said. “Sitting in the chair, that’s a big thing for me. When you move over those 18 inches from one seat to the other to become the head ... I know I benefitted from going to the University of South Dakota to be an athletic director before coming here.”