Many clamored for it and finally on Sunday night, the deed was done. After months of speculation, criticism and banners flying in the sky, Al Golden was fired.
The former Miami headman went just 32-25 and failed to pick up a signature win in his five years in Coral Gables. After the team suffered the program’s worst defeat ever in a 58-0 loss to Clemson, it was clear that Golden needed to go.
Golden should be commended for leading this football team through one of its most difficult periods. On the football field, though, the results just weren’t there. Golden never beat Florida State, went 17-18 in a lackluster ACC and never beat a team that finished the year ranked in the top 25.
After going 6-7, including a disappointing 24-21 loss to South Carolina in the Independence Bowl last season, many expected Golden to get the hook. Miami’s decision makers kept the staff together, though, giving them one more year to try to get it right. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
Golden was pretty much put into a no-win situation considering his past results, the expectations and the talent that was returning. Last year’s team had seven players drafted and another six sign with NFL teams as undrafted free agents.
Despite the tough spot Golden found himself in coming into the year, Saturday’s loss was the final straw. There are no excuses for a 58-0 loss, no matter who the opponent is. The team didn’t show up, the crowd was gone after the first half and Clemson didn’t even bother going into the locker room at halftime. The only word to describe it is embarrassing.
When the news of Golden’s dismissal came out on Sunday night, the Miami Twitter scene exploded at the announcement. While the right move was made, the next few months are extremely important to this program going forward.
Interim Head Coach Larry Scott by all reports seems to be well respected, and Canes fans will hope their former tight ends coach can incite an immediate turnaround, like former tight ends coach and current interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Dan Campbell.
While it remains to be seen whether Scott is the man in the long term, for the moment, attention turns to the players. Coaching was clearly an issue, but the players have to be held accountable as well, and the spotlight will hit them now that the scapegoat has been removed.
After the season, the possibilities of coaches who could take over are endless, but it is essential that the university make the correct hire. That’s an obvious statement and is easier said than done, but the program has to right the wrongs of the last five years.
Whether it is a former Miami guy or a younger up-and-coming coach, the Canes need to allow the ones who made this team great back into the program. With Golden, former players were banned from the sidelines, removing the connection of all the tradition and legacy from the current players.
The coaching situation will settle itself in the coming months, and Hurricanes fans will be all over it as we move closer to the end of the season. The most important part of this process though may be what takes place in what’s left of the 2015 season.
The remaining games won’t have much meaning nationally or to rankings, but that’s not the point. The culture needs to change with this program before a new coach gets here, and that needs to start this Saturday at Duke.
The deed Miami fans have been waiting for for months has finally happened. The page can now be turned and the future has more potential than it did 24 hours ago, but what happens next could lay the foundation to bringing the program back to greatness.
While a new coach will likely come in with a new philosophy, new staff and new attitude, the Miami program rebuild begins now.