Al Golden arrived in South Beach last December to assume the role of head coach at a school with championship tradition in a talent heavy state.
Less than a year later, he’s affirming his commitment to the Hurricanes while supporting the Miami administration while at no risk of being fired.
When Yahoo! Sports dropped an investigative bomb on Coral Gables, no one would have blamed Golden if he had turned in his resignation the night the story broke.
The athletic director who hired him (Kirby Hocutt) had already bolted to Texas Tech and now a football program that is as much about wins as it is the aura of the “U,” appears headed for stinging and lasting NCAA sanctions.
The former Penn State linebacker was in the news earlier this week when CBS Sports reported Miami hoped to redo their first-year head coach’s contract, a gesture that certainly makes sense if the Hurricanes intend to keep Golden. His 5-year, $10 million deal simply isn’t worth the storm heading toward South Florida unless those are numbers increase substantially.
Now, if Golden believes he can ultimately win in Coral Gables — he obviously can — once the penalties pass, then that sort of job security won’t follow him should he depart. But if the rising star in the coaching profession wants to compete for the crystal football next season, he may ask his agent to hammer the phone lines of athletic directors around the country.
As a Penn State alum, it’s a near certainty that Golden would crawl to State College for the chance to succeed Joe Paterno. The lovable octogenarian hasn’t indicated any plan to retire though nor is Golden a definite hire for the Nittany Lions.
Ultimately, Golden will wait to see how heavy the NCAA slaps Miami. If Southern California is an example, a mild example at that, then the scholarship reductions probably make Golden’s decision an easy one to exit. However, a lenient NCAA coupled with a long-term commitment from Miami’s athletic department at least allows the Hurricanes a chance at keeping their head coach.
Predicting NCAA punishment?
The biggest wildcard of all.