Admittedly, Al Golden seemed like a great hire back in 2011, after his Temple Owls had just collected a combined 17 wins in 2009 and 2010 under his leadership.
Poor six and seven win seasons in the first two years were overshadowed by probation and controversy that was not in any way his fault. Things improved somewhat in year three as the games won nine games, but were blown out in the Russell Athletic Bowl to the soon-to-be ACC Cardinals.
Things got ugly in 2014. After a 6-3 start, the 'Canes lost a hard fought 26-30 game to FSU, and from that point forward seemed to quit. They closed the regular season with bad losses to Virginia and Pittsburgh, falling to 6-6. Many expected Al Golden to be replaced at that point, but he was not and his Hurricanes lost to a poor South Carolina team in their bowl game and finished 6-7.
Finally, this season after losses to Cincinnati and Florida State warmed up the hot seat, Miami seemed to give up after falling behind against the Tigers. With players seemingly more focused on trash talking than playing football, the 0-58 historic loss to the Clemson Tigers was surely one of the most embarrassing in Miami football history. With Al Golden's record at Miami sitting at just 32-25, he was finally dismissed.
This comes as welcome news to most Miami fans. In fact, I jokingly received "thank you" texts from Miami fans, thankful that the loss was bad enough to finally get them a new coach, and hopefully back on the right track. Apparently, they needed to hit rock bottom before they could start to re-ascend. Although the job has some significant drawbacks (off-campus stadium, spurious fan support, history of NCAA issues, etc.), they can offer money, prestige, excellent recruiting grounds, and a beautiful place to live.
I will only speak for myself, but I'm glad Miami is finally moving on and hopeful that they can join Louisville as another quality team in the ACC behind Clemson and Florida State. I don't feel badly for head coaches who are dismissed like I would a typical salaried employee, because they are generally paid a significant buy-out. Because Miami is a private institution specific information is not readily available, however I'm confident he'll be just fine.
There are quite a few interesting candidates I'll throw out for everybody to discuss in the comment section below, some of which are nicely outlined by SOTU's Jerry Steinberg.
- Greg Schiano (Successful as the Miami DC in 1999 and 2001 before accepting the HC position at Rutgers)
- Rob Chudzinski (A former Miami QB from the 80s, he briefly coached the Cleveland Browns and is currently an assistant for the Colts)
- Mario Cristobal (Won two national championships at Miami as a player, was a head coach at FIU, and is now enjoying great success coaching the offensive line at Bama)
- Butch Davis (His name may be too sullied by the scandals at UNC, but I know there would be a lot of Miami fans ecstatic to have him back)
Mark Richt (Richt was a QB at Miami in the late 70s/early 80s and while I don't think he would leave, if his Dawgs lose to UF, GT, and find a way to slip up in another, maybe it's not up to him)
- Lane Kiffin (Admittedly unlikely, it just feel right to have Lane Kiffin in Miami though, doesn't it?)