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Bottom of the ninth, two outs in Oxford

Cliff's Notes

By Charlie Clifford
On May 5, 2014

What a town. Oxford may not be 'The' ideal sports town for an aspiring sports broadcaster, but who says any town can't be fun?

I am guessing you do not still have the bowl victory over Middle Tennessee State on your TiVo from 2010. Maybe you did not tune in for the broadcast of the near upset of John Wall's 2009 No. 4 Kentucky squad. You weren't at Yager Stadium at all last season. And that goes for all of you.

Let's face it, not every school can mirror an Ohio State athletically. However, former Miami RedHawks are out there in the professional sports world doing big things. I tried to catch up with as many of them as I could in the last year. As you enjoy your final trashcans and beer towers of the year, here are some of the highlights ...

Adam Eaton - Chicago White Sox Outfielder ('10): Eaton is one of the gutsiest outfielders currently in the major leagues. At 5-foot-8, 185-pounds, he is no doubt pound-for-pound one of the toughest players around. He took his wife, former Miami softball star Katie Osburn Eaton, to Smokin' Ox for their first date. He officially debunks the myth that first dates need to be overpriced at Kona. He drives a 430-horsepower white-hot Chevy Corvette. His typical afternoon on the South Side of Chicago consists of running full speed into the centerfield wall and hitting baseballs further than any 5-foot-8 person on Earth. While you were Uptown stumbling around the last four years he managed to become an all-star at every level in the minor leagues and reach the majors in just 28 months after graduation. Not bad for a 19th round draft pick. The Miami baseball team worships him. Senior Pitcher Chuck Zubrod sums it up best, "The guy is a boss." If you aren't rooting for him already, please start. I can promise you it will not be boring.

Ron Zook - Former Florida/Illinois head coach ('75): "Just Win Baby!" Many Miami teams have said that over the years, but Zook's Miami Redskins teams of 1973, '74 and '75 did it the most. Zook came to school as a walk-on. A record of 32-1-1 and three consecutive Tangerine Bowl victories is what Zook rolled out of Oxford with. Zook's most impressive coaching feat is taking the irrelevant Illinois Illini to a Rose Bowl in 2008.

On his Miami Redskin teams: "We by no means had the most talented roster," Zook said. "But what we did have was a group of high-character guys whom cared about nothing other than winning."

John Buccigross - ESPN (Non Alumni): And we have our first exception to the list. Honorary degree from the College of Arts and Saucy Mitts is awarded to the Bucci-Mane. For those of you who watch SportsCenter, he is the ambassador of College Hockey in the States. An absolute beautician that happened to be in town for the inaugural NCHC hockey contest against North Dakota. The man loves Oxford. He also believes the hockey program here is turning out some great talent to the pros. Did not get former RedHawk Reilly Smith ('12) on the phone, but anyone who has been paying attention to the Boston Bruins 2014 postseason run, knows what Buccigross is talking about. Overall a great guy who made time for some punk college journalist who "accidentally" bumped into him at the Goggin will call window.

Zac Dysert - Denver Broncos Quaterback ('13): Dysert skipped career fair at Millet and still ended up with the coolest job. Who would have thought?! After graduating last year, Miami's all-time passing leader opted not to head to "The Big Four" but rather for work under "No. 18:" Peyton Manning. The seventh round draft pick brought his blue collar, Ada, Ohio work ethic to Denver and impressed general manager John Elway enough to make the Broncos one of the few NFL teams to carry three quarterbacks on the active roster. Student assistant coach Joey Bowen calls Zac, "The most humble player I have been around since I joined the staff. He took care and respected everyone from his coaches to the equipment guy." Dysert claims the biggest thing he misses about Oxford is the late night food. He's simply a great, small town Ohio guy who is going to get a chance to do big things on Sunday's in the future.

John Harbaugh - Baltimore Ravens Head Coach ('84): "Nothing has changed about CJ's since I left," said Harbaugh.

The man speaks the truth. No more evident than in his Cradle of Coaches Induction - turned pump up speech two weeks ago in Oxford. Any person that can flawlessly bundle religion, college, a superbowl victory and CJ's into one interview is a dream interviewee. What a guy. He is a proud ambassador of Miami football and comes from now what is the most prominent football coaching family in America. His induction ceremony is something people around here will be talking about for a long time. More importantly, he is a face to the new era of Miami football.

My conclusion is that if a 2014 Miami graduate works even half as hard as any of these alumni above, odds are that individual is going to reap great success in the "real world." Thanks to sports editor Tom Downey for keeping the train moving, it's been a blast!

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