Will Al Golden Be Dedicated to Miami or Hope to Replace Joe Paterno?
Dream jobs. Everyone has them, most never get to experience them. When the USC head coaching job became available, Lane Kiffin ditched Tennessee to take the gig of his dreams. When the Michigan job became available, Les Miles remained at LSU where they raised his contract value. Now that he’s been hired by Miami to replace Randy Shannon, will Al Golden be dedicated to the U or hope to return to Penn State?
Golden is 41 years old and has coached at Temple the past five years. The name should be familiar for UCLA fans because Golden interviewed for the Bruins’ head coaching job in 2007 which went to Rick Neuheisel. Temple had gone 1-11, 2-9, and 0-11 in the three years preceding Golden’s tenure, and they went 1-11 in his first year on the job. The turnaround under Golden however was swift; the Owls went 4-8, 5-7, 9-4, and then 8-4 this year under Al. In 2009, they reached their first bowl game since 1979 (a loss to UCLA at the Eagle Bank Bowl).
Golden is a defensive specialist who has served as defensive coordinator at Virginia, and linebackers coach at BC and Penn State. He is said to be a tireless recruiter and one of the best in the country (he got players to Temple, right?). Turning around the program at Temple was termed nearly miraculous, but it does not guarantee success at Miami where coaches in the state of Florida and in the ACC are of a much higher quality than the MAC.
Here’s one issue for Miami to keep in mind assuming Golden’s first few years go well: will he use Miami as a springboard or remain in South Florida? Golden played tight end at Penn State from ’87-’91 and was a coach on Joe Paterno’s staff in 2000. He’s been coaching in the Philly area for the past five years and is familiar with that recruiting scene. With Joe Paterno getting older by the day, the job may become available in the next few years and Golden could be a top candidate. At that point the question will be whether he remains dedicated to Miami who gave him his first big job, or if he’ll leave for Penn State.
Based on what we know about his character, I’m guessing he’ll stay at Miami. Best part is this line of speculation assumes Golden will be successful at Miami. I believe he can be.