Before I give my opinion on who should the University of Miami hire to lead its football program back to the promised land, before I go into why Miami should allocate its resources to said football program, let me make one thing clear.
Al Golden had to go.
I mean I could go on about Golden’s mediocre record during his tenure at Miami (32-25), his loyalty to his embattled defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio, and his failings of cultivating the talent he recruited. I would rather start with the 58-0 embarrassment against Clemson.
Losing by 58 points was bad enough, but losing by that amount AT HOME was several times worse. That’ a tell-tale sign that Golden’s players flat out quit. Hell, a Clemson player had the same sentiment, saying that the Canes “laid down” and quit.
All of that falls on the coaching staff, which failed repeatedly at not only putting its players in position to succeed but also getting them ready to play every single week. Nobody associated with a program like Miami should ever have to hear that its players laid down.
And yes, I know Golden took over the program and shepherded it through a brutal NCAA investigation for which he bore no responsibility. And yes, he got much-needed facilities upgrades, from revamped practice fields to new locker rooms, and an upgraded academics center. And yes, he stayed loyal to the school when he could have bailed during the aforementioned NCAA investigation.
However, we all know that what matters in the end in sports is wins and losses.
Frankly, Golden simply didn’t win enough games to justify keeping his job. And a 58-point shellacking at home certainly did not help his cause. Let’s be real about one more thing, Miami is lost its luster as “The U” under Golden’s watch.
So now this begs the question: who should Miami tab to lead its football program back to prominence?
There are a number of names that have been brandied about. Mario Cristobal. Lane Kiffin. Rich Rodriguez. And my personal favorite, Butch Davis.
Here is my short list of future Canes coaches:
Dana Holgorsen. His offensive system would score big with South Florida recruits. His “light-em up” offense would capitalize on the speed that is prevalent in South Florida. He already recruits South Florida hard, and if he could get players to come to Morgantown, WV, he should not have a problem keeping those players in the area. Plus it helps that Holgorsen has a bit of swag about him.
Greg Schiano. Here is a guy who a no bull-crap, hard-nosed coach who will get the best out of his players. First of all, Schiano was a defensive coordinator under Davis in the early 90s, making him well-connected to the South Florida recruiting scene. Schiano also won big at Rutgers, which was an afterthought before he arrived. And guess where most of his recruits came from? South Florida. Put it this way, it’s not like Schiano would be an outsider to the Canes’ culture.
Charlie Strong. He would be my choice to coach Miami. Like Schiano, Strong is a no B.S. kind of guy who would instill discipline and toughness in that Miami locker room. Players love playing for Strong, as evidenced from the reaction of Texas upsetting Oklahoma a few weeks ago. Like the other two candidates on my list, Strong recruits South Florida hard. He led Louisville to prominence largely due to those South Florida recruits. One of those recruits was Teddy Bridgewater.
Even though I am strongly behind Strong coaching the Canes next season, I would not be too upset with Schiano taking the helm. In fact, I wouldn’t be upset at all. Both would do a great job in turning the Miami football program around.
Whoever the next coach is, one thing is for sure: he needs to bring back “The U”. Period.