The only teams Al Golden ever rooted for in his lifetime were Penn State, Boston College, Virginia and Temple in addition to his own Miami Hurricanes, schools representing stops along the way both as a player and a coach.
On Saturday, Miami’s excellent third-year head coach will do some scoreboard-watching and rooting for one team on that list and one team he never had a prior rooting interest. That’s because, after Miami’s 41-31 win at Pittsburgh on Friday, Golden needs both Virginia and North Carolina to come up with wins on Saturday in order to have any hopes for the title in the Coastal Division of the ACC. If Virginia beats Virginia Tech and North Carolina beats Duke, Golden and the Hurricanes will win the division title.
Whatever happens, no one can argue with the job Golden has done since arriving in 2010. Duke’s David Cutcliffe probably will win the league’s Coach of the Year title only because that school has been historically so downtrodden in the sport. Miami, on the other hand, is a storied program with multiple national championships and winning there is expected.
When Golden was at Temple, he was able to revitalize that program after a 30-year slumber due to the magnetism of his personality. When he walked into homes of big-time recruits, his handsome appearance and affable personality was able to sell the mothers first, then the sons.
Golden said he always recruited the entire family and he’s taken the same approach at Miami he’s taken at Temple. The difference is that it’s a lot easier to recruit when one of the stops on the visits is South Beach compared to South Philadelphia and his current recruiting class currently reflects that as it is ranked No. 2 in the nation. Now Golden will have one eye on his ever-present cell phone on Saturday, making calls to recruits, and another on a pair of TVs in his office that will tell him whether or not his team will be a champion.
The odds may be long this year, but all signs are good for The U to return championship form again.
Mike Gibson, an Associated Press Sports Editors’ Association and Keystone Press Association award-winner for Best Sports Story and Best Sports Feature, is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @papreps , “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.