CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Al Golden’s first speech as Miami’s football coach revolved around winning.
Golden was introduced to the Hurricanes’ community on Monday evening, and when the 41-year-old delivered his opening remarks with a new ‘U’ lapel pin flanking the left side of his blazer, he wasted no time before saying the program always has – and still will – be measured by championships.
“The football program, it’s time we put it all together,” Golden said.
It was part of a busy first day for Golden, who accepted a five-year contract on Sunday, his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.
After he and his wife arrived on a mid-afternoon flight, Golden met university president Donna Shalala, along with his new players – most of whom hadn’t heard of the former Temple coach before the Hurricanes hired him.
Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt says Golden was the top choice as soon as their first interview in New York ended early last week. Hocutt and Golden subsequently met in Philadelphia, then had several phone conversations, all culminating in a deal.
“He is the right fit at the right time to lead us back to the pinnacle of the college football world,” Hocutt said moments before Golden took the dais.
Temple went 3-31 in the three seasons before Golden arrived; the Owls were 1-11 in his first season there, then won 26 games over the past four years.
The 41-year-old Golden played at Penn State under Paterno, spent a brief time in the NFL with the New England Patriots, then began his coaching career. He knows the Atlantic Coast Conference, having spent time as an assistant at both Virginia and Boston College, and was once the youngest defensive coordinator in major college football.
Golden takes over in much the same manner in which the man he replaces, Randy Shannon, did four years ago – with the Hurricanes seeking a return to national relevance.
Miami hasn’t played in the Bowl Championship Series since the 2003 season, and has lost 16 of its last 21 games going back to 2005 against ranked opponents. The Hurricanes thought moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference seven years ago would enhance their chances to remain among the nation’s elite; they have yet to even win the league title.
“Win championships. That’s my job,” Golden said as the room broke into applause.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press