Temple’s Al Golden hired as Miami Hurricanes coach

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Al Golden led a turnaround at Temple. He now has a chance to engineer another at Miami.

Golden was hired as the Hurricanes’ coach Sunday. He replaces Randy Shannon, fired Nov. 27 after Miami completed a 7-5 regular season and fell to 28-22 in his four seasons at his alma mater.

Golden received a five-year contract. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the total value of the deal was expected to be worth up to $2 million annually.

“From the beginning of this process, one candidate stood above the rest as the right fit,” athletic director Kirby Hocutt said in a statement. “We are proud to welcome Al Golden to The U. His desire, leadership, communications skills and preparedness stood above the rest, and he is the right man to meet the championship expectations of this program.”

Golden will arrive in Miami in time for a Monday night news conference.

Hocutt had a list of about 10 names of those under consideration during the process, and Golden became the favorite after interviewing for the job in New York early last week. Hocutt said Golden took the job around 4 p.m. Sunday.

“I’ll tell you, I couldn’t be more excited to have him come and lead this proud football program,” Hocutt said at Miami’s football banquet Sunday night. “There’s nobody with more energy, excitement, enthusiasm in this country than Coach Golden. What he’s done at Temple University is short of miraculous. He’s taken a football program that was at the bottom point of the college football world, has built them to a respectable program, and is going to do great things here at the University of Miami.”

Hocutt said when the process began he would take as much “time as necessary” to find the right coach, and over the weekend, the decision was made to hone in on Golden — who has been a candidate for several other high-level jobs in recent years, including UCLA and Tennessee. He was also believed to be a candidate for the current opening at Pitt.

Golden resigned Sunday afternoon, Temple officials said.

“Al Golden did not just win games at Temple University, but he built a football program, and he did it the right way,” Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw said. “He engineered one of the most remarkable turnarounds in Division I history, and … the turnaround was not only seen on the gridiron, but also in the classroom, with unprecedented academic success.”

Golden’s work at Temple was nothing short of remarkable.

Temple’s departing senior class became the school’s first in nearly 30 years to leave the Owls with a winning record. The Owls went 9-4 last season, losing in what was known as the EagleBank Bowl, then went 8-4 this year — only to be snubbed for a postseason bid.

Temple went 3-31 in the three seasons before Golden arrived; the Owls were 1-11 in his first season there, then won 26 games over the past four years.

The 41-year-old Golden played at Penn State under Joe Paterno, spent a brief time in the NFL with the New England Patriots, then began his coaching career. He knows the Atlantic Coast Conference, having spent time as an assistant at both Virginia and Boston College, and was once the youngest defensive coordinator in major college football.

Golden takes over in much the same manner in which Shannon did four years ago — with the Hurricanes seeking a return to national relevance.

Miami hasn’t played in the Bowl Championship Series since the 2003 season, and has lost 16 of its last 21 games going back to 2005 against ranked opponents. The Hurricanes thought moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference seven years ago would enhance their chances to remain among the nation’s elite; they have yet to even win the league title.

And it was that phrase — “national relevance” — that Hocutt referenced when he announced Shannon’s firing on Nov. 28, one day after Miami completed the regular season.

That’ll be Golden’s primary charge. He’ll meet his new team for the first time Monday afternoon.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll be the head coach at the University of Miami long-term,” Hocutt said. “Ask him the question tomorrow and hear his response, but Al Golden is very loyal and he wants to be at the University of Miami. He wants to build this program back to the pinnacle of college football.”

Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland will serve as the interim coach for Miami’s bowl game against Notre Dame on Dec. 31, but by then, Golden will likely be well into his plans for 2011. The Hurricanes have about 15 scholarships to issue this recruiting season, and some of the high schoolers who committed to Miami under Shannon have since said they’re open to looking at other schools.

Plus, though the schedule won’t be finalized for several more weeks, Golden is likely to face a daunting four-game stretch to open his Miami career. Preliminary drafts of the 2011 schedule show that Miami could open with road matchups against Virginia Tech and North Carolina, followed by home games with Ohio State and Kansas State.

“He has learned, he has grown, he has developed, he is ready for that next step,” Hocutt said. “He is ready to come to a program that can compete and win national championships. He’s an excellent communicator, very organized, detail-oriented, and he’s inspirational. He will inspire this football program to greatness.”