One day when his coaching career is over, Al Golden is going to sit down in front of his laptop and type the story of his life.
Like another coach who served at Temple University, he’s already got the title of his book: “Deserve Victory.” When John Chaney coached basketball at the school, one of his favorite phrases was “Winning Is An Attitude” and that turned out to be a best-selling book about Chaney, who found his way into college basketball’s Hall of Fame.
Sometime on Monday, Al Golden appears likely to be named head football coach at Penn State and, even though he was a Nittany Lion football captain, very few Penn State fans know a lot about Al Golden. Temple fans, of which I count myself among the few and proud, do know a lot about him because his life was an open book for his five years of transforming the football program at that school.
Golden carried a binder around with him for all of those five years and on the front cover were the words: “Deserve Victory”. In its pages were detailed notes on how to build a winning football program, from hiring a staff to recruiting to dealing with the fans and the media and minute details on how both spring and summer practices are organized. There was even a part in there on the importance of summer football camps. He took that binder to Miami and improved that program in three years.
As a Temple football fan, I got to know Al Golden during those five years in Philadelphia. While no man is perfect, Penn State could get no better man to lead its football program. His attention to detail is impeccable. When he walks into a recruit’s home, he usually closes the deal and he has coached at two places where the home stadium is usually half-full. That won’t exist at Penn State. At Miami, his current recruiting class is No. 4 in the country.
Does he have flaws? Sure. He’s not a great game day coach, but there are very few of those around anyway. If Penn State announces Al Golden as its next head coach in a press conference on Monday afternoon, it will be getting a very good head coach with a lot of great chapters left to write for “Deserve Victory.”
Take that as gospel from a Temple fan who appreciated his work up close and personal for five good years.
Mike Gibson, a two-time APSE 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.