This one came as a bit of a surprise.
Al Golden? The Temple coach?
Golden made a name for himself at Temple, transforming one of the country’s worst programs into a contender in the Mid-American Conference. That’s beyond respectable. It’s Coach of the Year worthy. Last year, Temple played in a bowl game for the first time in 30 years. It was the first winning season the program had seen since 1990. And much like former Miami coach Randy Shannon, Golden enhanced his resume by his dedication to community service and academics. According to Temple, Golden led the program through “the greatest academic turnaround in the NCAA APR Reform Era.”
There's no question Miami hired a winner, but can he win at Miami?
The initial reaction is yes -- it would seem that if you can win at Temple you can win anywhere. But Temple does not face Frank Beamer’s staff on an annual basis. It does not have to recruit against Jimbo Fisher’s (and now Will Muschamp’s) staff. And it is not expected to win national titles.
Golden, who will be taking his first head-coaching job in a BCS conference, will face different challenges than he did in inner-city Philadelphia, but his ideals and core principles shouldn’t change. He was hired in large part because of them. Miami AD Kirby Hocutt was looking for a candidate who could continue the program's academic success AND contend for championships. Not an easy gig -- anywhere. Miami took its time hiring a person who wanted to coach at Miami -- not exactly everyone’s dream job these days. Golden, a former defensive coordinator at Virginia, knows the ACC. He was in the mix for the Virginia job and was a strong fit for it.
Now he has to beat Virginia. Regularly.
That was something his predecessor couldn't do.
Only time will tell if Golden's results in the ACC -- and nationally -- will be much different.