When the Miami Hurricanes hired Al Golden away from the Temple Owls, many considered it a slam dunk of a hire. The young coach was spirted and had made Temple a better squad. And with the history of the Miami program and his knowledge of it, many thought they would be competing for a national title under him in three years. Well, things did not work out as planned. Golden recently lost embarrassingly to the Clemson Tigers 58-0 and was officially fired Sunday. In his stead, the Hurricanes will have tight ends coach/run game coordinator Larry Scott take over on an interim basis. Over his four plus years at Miami, Golden was 32-35(17-18 in the ACC), 0-5 against rival Florida State, 0-2 in bowl games and 3-11 against ranked opponents. In the end, he just could not get the job done. He brought in some talent, but not to the level that was expected there. And with the talent he got, he just could not get them to perform at a high level all the time. What was once one of the most sought after positions in football is open yet again. But the question there isn’t who they will bring in next but who is interested in the position? While it is yet to be established who Miami wants and who wants the Miami job, there is three coaches that would fit perfectly at Miami to succeed Golden in my opinion.
One candidate that could make it happen at Miami is current Texas head coach Charlie Strong. He is a no-nonsense coach that is trying to revive the Texas program. And although he has struggled mightily for most of his time at Texas, he has always had a good history with the state of Florida. Even when he was at the University of Louisville, he was pulling players right and left out of Florida. For example, he plucked Teddy Bridgewater out of the backyard of Miami. And Teddy was a star at Louisville. Strong has tremendous ties to coaches in Florida and with him at Miami, that would open those floodgates once again. And as he has shown at Louisville once before, he can make it happen when he can get who he needs from Florida. But of course things would not be easy to get Strong to Miami. The one big hurdle for Miami will be the buyout in Texas Strong has. Strong is being paid at Texas $5 million per season. After this season, he would have completed two of the five year deal he signed with Texas and have three years left. That would be $15 million left over from the contract that he would be breaking to sign with the University of Miami. Surely Miami would probably negotiate it down some, but that would still be a hefty price to pay for a coach. Would Miami be so desperate for his services that they would pay a huge buyout for him? Only time will tell what will happen there.
Strong is an interesting name for the Miami job, but so is currently Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. Of course many have had thoughts that he would be back in college shortly and with the history of the University of Miami, Chip could be looking a job that he just could not turn down. Another thing that may make him jump back to the college game is the results of his current team. Kelly had two back-to-back 10 win seasons and a playoff appearance in his first year. But this year, the team has struggled to find consistency. Couple that with the many changes he made as the new general manager of the Eagles and Chip could be looking at a mess when this season ends. The Eagles are 3-4 and still in the running in the NFC East, but that could easily change in a few weeks. And if it happens that the Eagles fall out of the running for the playoffs and winning the division, the Eagles will have missed the playoffs two years straight. Along with missing the playoffs, the fans of the Eagles would be unmerciful in their criticism of Kelly and the job he has done. And with that being said, leaving Philly for a sunny state and a historic program does not seem so bad. Chip would be a hit there in Miami because he has had success at the professional and college ranks. He has produced plenty of professional players at Oregon and he has also been very good at coaching players up at the collegiate ranks. But what is even better than Strong is that he does not require a buyout from his current job. With him being there, the recruits in Florida would have his undivided attention. But the thoughts of Kelly at Miami are null and void should the Eagles turn it around. It would be highly unlikely Kelly would leave should the Eagles make the playoffs again. If he were to make that move after turning this season into a success, then it would surprise a lot of people. But there is still the thought that he will go back to college eventually. You just have to wonder if the time for him to go back is now.
Strong and Kelly are big-name candidates, but there is always a candidate that no one thinks about. Memphis head coach Justin Fuente inherited a Memphis football program that was struggling mightily. And through his first two seasons, he 7-17 as a head coach there. But in the last two seasons, Fuente has turned it around. He has a record of 17-3 in his last 20 games, including a perfect 7-0 record this season. And with the win over Ole Miss recently, his team finally made it into college football’s Top 25. The job he has done isn’t getting unnoticed because there are several programs probably looking his way. And one of those teams that may be looking his way is Miami. With the hire of Fuente, the Miami offense would definitely get a boost. He currently has constructed a Top 10 offense that puts up 48.9 points per game. Of course his defense gives up its fair share of points, but with a good defensive coordinator hire, that could all be resolved there. But the questions come with Fuente and his recruiting. At Memphis, he has gotten many players that people have overlooked. And to his credit, he has coached them up and made them better. But he has never really recruited at a bigtime level throughout his coaching career. And another thing that may bother University of Miami fans is that Fuente is not a big-name coach. The Hurricanes are used to getting guys that are brand names in households or that are connected to the program. Fuente is neither and that could have some questioning what he is even doing there and if he can get the job done.
All three potential candidates have things they could add to the University of Miami. But all three potential candidates could turn a cold shoulder or not even hear from Miami as well. A lot can happen between now and the end of Miami’s season. It should be interesting to see who is the next coach to try and revive The U.