Almost from the time now former head football coach Al Golden stepped on campus, some of the ex-Miami football players complained that he was a bad choice. In fact, it seemed like a vocal majority felt this way.
Leading that charge was Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp, who did not hide his joy when Golden was recently fired. A strong case can be made that the lack of support from the alumni was at least a contributing factor to Golden not achieving the high standards many of those players were demanding.
The next head coach is going to face the same kind of push-back unless something changes in the hiring process and, whoever is hired, the university would be wise to include the players in the process. In fact, Miami should probably put Sapp on the panel and include three or four of the most vocal anti-Golden group. That way, both the alumni and the new coach have as much stock in the success of the team.
If things have changed so much that it is impossible to win in Coral Cables, then the players will know other factors have contributed to the downfall of the program and it is not just the coach’s fault. A lot of those players are from the 1980s and they live in a 1980s’ mentality where they expect the university to compete for national championships again.
All they have to do is take a step back and turn around to see that the stands are empty, and it is hard to recruit players to fill a half-empty stadium anymore. If they put their own coach in and he fails, they will better accept that hard reality. The flip side of this process is that they could spearhead giving him the support he needs.
It is something the university should at least think about before hiring the next football coach.