Article: OPINION: Al Golden must be fired
A summary of Al Golden’s disastrous fourth season at Miami
The Miami Hurricanes finished with a losing record for just the third time since 1980, closing the year with an embarrassing four-game losing streak that included Golden’s fourth consecutive loss to arch rival Florida State and subsequent double-digit defeats to substandard ACC Coastal opponents that had sub-.500 records before getting a crack at a Golden-coached team.
Contrary to the intelligence-insulting PR spin from woefully incompetent athletic director Blake James, the team is regressing rapidly despite having brought in three consecutive Top 15 recruiting classes and having several upperclassmen projected as Top 100 picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. James’ clearly disingenuous rhetoric about how he witnessed a lot of progress that didn’t show up in the win and loss column was yet another slap in the face to passionate fans, alums, and former players who are witnessing those in positions of power actively sink this once-dominant program further into irrelevance by retaining Golden for an unearned fifth year.
- Golden has lost 11 of his last 19 games, including nine losses by double digits and seven losses against unranked opponents.
- Golden’s record at Miami, 28-22, is identical to his predecessor Randy Shannon’s during his four-year tenure. Shannon, who went 2-2 against Florida State, was deservedly fired within hours after finishing 7-5 in 2010. Golden is still employed after a four-game losing streak dropped Miami to 6-7 in 2014.
- Golden’s record at Miami is worse than Will Muschamp’s at Florida, despite facing far easier opposition. Muschamp, who did have an 11-win season and Sugar Bowl appearance in 2012, was deservedly fired by an in-state rival that cares about winning.
- Golden’s career head-coaching record currently stands at 55-56.
- Golden’s defense allowed 32.5 points per game in six regular season losses.
- Golden’s defense ranked 105th in fourth quarter points allowed per game.
- Golden has been outscored 188-84 in the second halves of Miami’s last 11 losses.
- Golden is 3-26 against teams that finish with fewer than five losses in a season. Two of those wins came this season in home games against teams that were overmatched talent-wise (Duke and Cincinnati).
Using “The Cloud” as a crutch to excuse Golden’s ineptitude is thoroughly pathetic and unacceptable
The USC Trojans had just 65 scholarship players available as a result of NCAA sanctions during Steve Sarkisian’s first year as their head coach. And yet they were a horribly defensed Hail Mary against Arizona State away from winning the very strong Pac-12 South this season.
Unlike Miami’s slow-paced offense that shortens the game to mask deficiencies on both sides of the ball, USC’s fast break, up-tempo style showcases their elite talent at the skill positions and appeals to one of the strongest recruiting bases in the country. Coming off a nine-win season and preparing to close out their first full recruiting class since 2011, the Trojans are overcoming adversity admirably and appear primed to reestablish themselves as a national title contender in the not-so-distant future.
While Miami’s head coach and administrators have constantly rattled off tired cloud-related excuses in a desperate attempt to mask their ineptitude, USC made a point not to bring up sanctions or feel sorry for themselves publicly as they dealt with far more severe circumstances. USC’s punishment from the NCAA included 10 scholarship losses per season over a three-year span, with a roster cap of 75. Miami’s slap on the wrist resulted in losing just nine total scholarships over three years, with a roster cap of 82.
As for the Canes, they have recruited more effectively than every other team in the ACC aside from Florida State over the last three years. However, it’s worth repeating that they tied for last in the Coastal and have frequently been defeated soundly by teams with nowhere near as much talent on their roster ever since Golden arrived. Golden is not a great recruiter by any means, but his teams routinely underachieve at a staggering rate relative to our talent level.
Our sanctions were announced over 14 months ago and the cloud is long gone. Other programs dealing with more serious sanctions are progressing nicely and continuing to move forward while ours continues to use “the cloud” as a crutch for Golden’s ineptitude.
Incompetence, apathy, intentional self-sabotage, or all of the above?
James felt the need to offer his unwavering pronouncement of support for Golden immediately following the embarrassing 31-13 loss at Louisville in the season opener.
"We are going to be a better team at the end of this year than we were at the start of this year,” James said. “We're going to be a better team at the end of this year than we were last year, and we're going to continue to get better each year."
The Hurricanes went from 9-4 in 2013 to 6-7 in 2014. A team with a True Freshman All-American at quarterback, one of the top running backs in school history accumulating 2,073 yards from scrimmage, one of the most explosive deep threats in the country, a projected first- or second-round left tackle, a Mackey Award finalist, and a Butkus Award finalist finished 6-7. A team with FAU and Arkansas State on its schedule that enjoys the benefit of playing in the weakest power-conference subdivision in the country ended up with a sub-.500 record in a head coach’s fourth year on the job.
And yet, despite all that, James said late last night following our loss to South Carolina in the Duck Commander Independence Bowl, “I think there was a lot of progress made this year, unfortunately it wasn't in the win and loss column.”
Any administration that even remotely cares about its football program would have fired Al Golden immediately following the season-ending loss to Pittsburgh, at the absolute latest. Even though James is a powerless Donna Shalala puppet who should be sent packing along with Golden, it’s appalling to see an athletic director contradict himself in such a conspicuous way with his pathetically feigned remarks about progress.
What must be done eventually should be done immediately
This administration appears unwilling to admit its mistake, preferring instead to kick the proverbial can down the road and delay the inevitable by waiting to fire Golden until after next season to save a few million dollars off his buyout in the short term. Their stubbornness, incompetence, and complacency will result in a wasted season under a lame duck coach, cause irreparable damage to recruiting for 2015 as well as 2016, and further the perception that they are blatantly sabotaging UM football and actively contributing to its demise with their indifference.
Not to mention that the short-term financial benefit of waiting an additional year to fire Golden will likely be offset by the imminent response from donors, season-ticket holders, and fans refusing to continue to pour money into a program that clearly isn’t committed to winning.
Not to sound hyperbolically overdramatic, but perhaps the most troubling aspect of this dire predicament for passionate supporters of Miami football is that we have yet to reach rock bottom if Golden is retained. We’re all going to find out what rock bottom feels like in roughly 12 months when the next recruiting class will likely be devoid of premier talent, half of Brad Kaaya’s college career will have been wasted under Golden, and the administration will be left with no choice but to do eventually what should have been done immediately.
Fire Al Golden now and save Miami football.