Apologies to Queen for co-opting their song title.
Temple University head football coach Al Golden, who always appears close to the top of the list of potential Paterno replacements (whenever he happens to retire), has been hired by the University of Miami as their new head coach. Golden will succeed Randy Shannon, who apparently displeased the powers that be with a 7-5 season and a trip to the Sun Bowl to take on Notre Dame.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll be the head coach at the University of Miami long-term.” — Kirby Hocutt, AD, University of Miami
Picky, picky! What is it with these instant gratification types who think that a 7-5 season and a minor bowl is the end of the world? Being beaten by South Florida is no crime, either. Maybe they just wanted a change and had some lame excuses handy.
Anyhow, Golden, a former Penn State tight end and assistant coach, made himself quite visible to the rest of Division I-A by remaking the Owls, a perennial cellar dweller, into a MAC contender. Having won nine games last year and eight this year, it had to be upsetting to Golden and his team that they received no Bowl invitations. Why? Just because they’re Temple. (C’mon, sanctimonious bowl people! Bill Cosby played for the Owls and Tex Cobb went to school there!)
Meanwhile, back at Penn State, Golden exits the pool of potential head coach hires. Not that Paterno is leaving or anything — of course, rumors abound — but Golden was always mentioned in the same breath with the Penn State head coaching job, should it ever open up. He was a fan favorite because of his Penn State roots.
It will be interesting to see how he rebuilds the program at Miami, especially observing the type of so-called student athletes he recruits. I have a feeling that the administration and the boosters would place winning first and academics a strong 17th on their list of priorities. Another issue might arise if Golden requires players to be clean-cut and respectful, a couple of traits that have never been emphasized by the Hurricanes, where trash talking has been honed to a razor’s edge.
Temple now obviously has an opening for a head coach. My feeling is that if Joe Paterno had time, he would recommend his son Jay for the job and hope that after five years of so head coaching experience, Jay would qualify as his replacement. However, Joe doesn’t have that much time. He is a short-timer. His assistants are looking elsewhere. Would Tom Bradley be interested in Temple? Probably not, because he’s a Western Pennsylvania sort of guy who would feel like a foreigner in Philly. How about McQueary? Time will tell.
As you know, the University of Pittsburgh is also looking for a head coach. Two Division I-A head coaching openings in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania makes for some interesting speculation, particularly when coupled with the omnipresent buzz about a possible third high-profile opening about halfway between the other two.
So, let us wish Al Golden luck at Miami. All of this should be fun to watch.