First-year Miami coach Al Golden was a three-year (1989-91) letter-winner and two-year starter at tight end for Penn State. He earned his undergraduate degree in pre-law from Penn State in 1991, and is still emotionally connected to the university and the program. Golden said on today's ACC teleconference he was "disheartened and sad" to hear about pending retirement of coach Joe Paterno and the allegations against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
"Clearly thoughts and prayers go out for the young people, the victims in this case, and certainly my prayers go out to coach, too," Golden said. "It's tough. I don't know much about it ... we're in the middle of Florida State week, but I'm just disheartened by the whole thing and saddened by it and keeping everybody in my thoughts and prayers from a distance."
Golden's contract situation and future at Miami has already come into question once this season, though he repeatedly reaffirmed his commitment to the program. The speculation is bound to continue, though, now that the end of Paterno's career is officially in sight. It's hard not to link the two. As a junior in 1990, Golden played a key role in Penn State's nationally televised 24-21 upset of No. 1-ranked Notre Dame at South Bend. His touchdown reception late in the fourth quarter tied the score at 21 as Penn State rallied from a 21-7 deficit.
Golden was also a team captain during his senior year and helped lead them to a 42-17 win over Tennessee in the 1992 Fiesta Bowl.
When asked about how he plans to counter the distraction of the speculation in recruiting and on the field, Golden said:
"We're going to counter it by playing well and preparing well and clearly we've gotten two commitments in the last 48 hours, and I think there's going to be another one here today or tomorrow," Golden said. "We're excited about what we're building here. I can't worry about what other people are saying. I think you know me well enough to know that I don't worry about the media. I'm just moving the team and our players forward and really trying to enjoy this, the fact we're in the middle of the Miami-Florida State week, to be honest with you."