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The future of RedHawk athletics under Sayler


By Win Braswell
On March 1, 2013

Whether it's alumni, donors, professors or students, just about everyone agrees that Miami University athletics need to take a major turn for the better. With the relatively recent hiring of Miami's 16th athletic director, David Sayler, many are hoping for drastic changes, but the reality is that progress takes time. Chances are that no current students will still be here, but with Sayler's track record, things will improve.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Sayler, and discuss his hopes for Miami athletics. He stressed doing better with mid-major competition, before concerning keeping up with the rest of the national powers.

Sayler has left eight different athletics programs in great standing, before arriving in Oxford, most recently the University of South Dakota, where he enthused an apathetic athletic body. Most notably, Sayler put his accounting degree to work in securing South Dakota's largest private donation of $20 million, securing deals for renovated athletic facilities and apparel contracts across the board. He also emphasized the classroom first, as his athletes posted a 3.1 GPA

So what exactly can we expect from Sayler? Miami has the deals and the grades, but the money and facilities do need a boost. With his business savvy, expect Sayler to rake in dollars for renovations to Millett Hall, Yager Stadium and an indoor practice facility. But while shiny, new toys are great for looking at, what Miami needs most is a prideful group of athletes and fans and higher competitiveness and WINS!!!!

Attracting more highly touted recruits is vital to the future of our athletic program. Sayler's plan is a simple one ... pitch a great plan to donors and alumni, bring in money for renovations, attract better recruits, return to the top tier of competition amongst mid-majors, and then the sky is the limit.

While I am admittedly frustrated beyond belief with the overall ineptitude of our sports teams, I am confident in Sayler's ability to turn things around. I am, however, being a realist in regards to how fast Miami's sports teams will be consistently good again.

Expect a four to six year period of transition before anyone jumps on the "We should have made the NCAA Tournament" bandwagon.

Winning takes time and diligence. Every now and then, programs and teams get lucky, striking success from the start of a regime change, but that will not happen here. Miami is all about tradition, and tradition is slow and steady.

This is by no means an excuse for mediocrity, as gradual improvements in the win-loss column need to happen as soon as possible, but the trudge of struggle will go on.

I would like to see a new approach, having our athletics run like a successful business, efficient and profitable, and Sayler is the perfect CEO.

Miami's athletic history is storied and full of great achievements. It's time we act like it, and make the present catch up to the past. Hearing how "it used to be" has gotten old with me. I'd rather say with pride "it's like this." Then maybe, just maybe, students' attitudes will change, and Miami can truly offer a fully, enjoyable university experience.

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