(S. M. Degnan – Miami Herald) – The Hurricanes have their man. Temple coach Al Golden, 41, considered one of the rising young stars in his field, accepted the job Sunday as football coach at the University of Miami. His deal: five years at an undisclosed salary.
“Nobody has more energy, excitement, enthusiasm in this country than Coach Golden,” UM athletic director Kirby Hocutt said Sunday. “What he has done at Temple University is short of miraculous. He has taken a program that was at the bottom point of the football world and has built them to a respectable program and is going to do great things here at the University of Miami.”
Golden, who will be introduced at a news conference Monday night, resurrected a Temple program that for years was the doormat of the Big East, before the Big East kicked it out of the conference for not being competitive enough. He replaces former UM coach Randy Shannon, fired Nov. 27 after a 28-22 record in four seasons and a 7-5 regular-season record in 2010.
Hocutt said Golden was the only candidate offered the job. He beat out three other finalists: Connecticut coach Randy Edsall, Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville and Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman. Golden earned about $550,000 annually at Temple but is expected to make up to $2 million a year at UM, according to the Associated Press.
A native of Colts Neck, N.J., Golden brought the Owls, now in the Mid-American Conference, from a 1-11 season in 2006 to 9-4 by 2009 and 8-4 this season, including a win over Fiesta Bowl-bound UConn. Before Golden arrived at Temple, the Owls had two winning seasons since 1980. Though his career record as a head coach is 27-34, Golden is 17-6 over his last 23 regular-season games.
“He has learned, he’s grown, he’s developed, he’s ready for that next step,” Hocutt said of Golden, who became the second-youngest head coach in Division I-A when he took the Temple job at age 36 in December 2005. “He’s ready to come to a program that competes for and wins national championships.”
Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw no doubt is sorry Golden is leaving, but heaped praise on his coach.
“Al Golden did not just win games at Temple, but he built a football program and he did it the right way,” Bradshaw said. “He engineered one of the most remarkable turnarounds in Division I history . . . and did it in a way that will last long after his departure.”
Admired for his passion, intelligence and tireless work ethic, Golden is thought of as an aggressive and energetic personality — and extremely talented recruiter. A disciplinarian, he is big on academic achievement and community service, two attributes for which Shannon was known.
The Owls had an Academic Performance Rate score of 858 four years ago. That number has risen to 926. He also has brought the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate from a low of 47 percent to the current 56 percent.
“The pressure was enormous for [Kirby Hocutt] to come up with a good guy,” said CBS Sports national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “. . . Miami needed a good recruiter and could have really suffered, but they hit a home run. Al Golden, he’s as good as Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Pete Carroll, Mack Brown and Jim Tressel, who I consider the top five recruiters in the country. He just never had the platform like he will at Miami . . .”
Golden played for Joe Paterno as a tight end at Penn State and has been often mentioned as a future candidate to replace Paterno when he retires. Temple lost to Penn State this season 22-13 on Sept. 25.
“We talked about that,” Hocutt said, when asked if he was concerned that Golden might leave early if he were offered the Penn State job. “There’s no doubt in my mind that he will be the head coach at the University of Miami long-term. Ask him the question [Monday] and hear his response. Al Golden is very loyal. He wants to be at [UM]. He wants to build this program back to the pinnacle of college football.”
Jeff Stoutland, UM’s interim head coach for the Sun Bowl, said Sunday that he’s known Golden for a long time.
“He’s a good coach,” Stoutland said. “He’s organized and an excellent recruiter.”
“He’s an excellent communicator, very organized and detail oriented and he’s inspirational,” Hocutt said. “He will inspire this football program to greatness.”
Miami Herald sportswriters Manny Navarro and Michelle Kaufman contributed to this report.
Source: Miami Herald