Miami has fired coach Al Golden midway through his fifth season and one day after the Hurricanes endured the worst loss in the program’s 90-year history.
Golden went 32-25 with the Hurricanes and 17-18 in Atlantic Coast Conference play, his entire stint marred by an NCAA investigation and subsequent fallout caused by things that happened before he arrived in Coral Gables. His last game with Miami was a 58-0 loss to then-No. 6 Clemson, a result that had fans booing from the stands and calling for his departure — as many had for some time.
Miami (4-3, 1-2 ACC) plays at Duke on Saturday night. Larry Scott will take over as Miami’s interim head coach. The Hurricanes are scheduled to resume practice Tuesday.
“Coach Golden has led our program through some very difficult times and he has done so with class, integrity and a true desire to see our students succeed on the field, in the classroom and in the community,” Miami Athletic Director Blake James said. “However, we have a proud tradition of excellence at Miami, not just in football but in all sports, and we want to compete for ACC and national championships.
“I simply believe that now is the time to bring the Hurricane Family together and rally behind our young men.”
Golden did not return a call seeking comment.
Golden, who played for Joe Paterno at Penn State, is 59-59 in parts of 10 seasons as a head coach. He helped revitalize Temple’s program in his first opportunity as a head coach, then replaced Randy Shannon at Miami. The Hurricanes climbed to No. 7 in the AP Top 25 for a stretch in 2013, but have not finished a season in the national rankings since the 2009 campaign.
Golden talked after Saturday’s loss about the season now being a five-game playoff for Miami, which still has a mathematical — if not necessarily the most realistic — chance of winning the ACC’s Coastal Division, which was the rallying cry for this team.
“We have to move on,” Golden said after that game, adding that he took total responsibility for the outcome. “This was terrible. We cannot let it beat us tomorrow, or the next day, or next week. We have to move on quickly.”
Miami is moving on.
Golden will simply be moving.
The decision was agonizing to many in the athletic department who appreciated what Golden did and how he didn’t leave the Hurricanes during the NCAA scandal, but whatever credit he earned from that chapter apparently ran out.
“Anybody that’s in coaching realizes that you’re always just a step away,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said Sunday.
Golden was hired in December 2010. Before he coached a single game with the Hurricanes, Miami was hit with a massive NCAA investigation sparked by the actions of a former booster who was associated with the school long before Golden’s arrival. The school forfeited two bowl trips because of that probe as well as what would have been a trip to the 2013 ACC championship game.
O’Leary retires after 0-8 start at Central Florida
After one of the worst starts in program history, George O’Leary is retiring as Central Florida’s football coach, effective immediately, the school announced. It comes a day after the Knights dropped to 0-8 with a 59-10 loss to Houston, the worst home defeat in school history. Quarterbacks coach Danny Barrett has been named interim coach. O’Leary agreed to a contract extension in 2014 on the heels of a program-best 12-win season and Fiesta Bowl victory.
“In an effort to allow UCF to accelerate its search for my successor and clarify the facts regarding my future plans, I am retiring effective immediately,” O’Leary said.
The 69-year-old coach leaves UCF with an 81-68 record. He went 0-11 in his first season at UCF in 2004, but took the Knights to their first-ever bowl appearance in 2005. It was the first of seven bowl berths under O’Leary.
Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema said that running back Rawleigh Williams had successful neck surgery after the Razorbacks four-overtime win over Auburn on Saturday. Williams was injured during a run in the third quarter of the 54-46 win, after which he was taken from the field on a stretcher. He had his facemask grabbed on the play before taking another hit from an Auburn player. Bielema said that Williams is expected to make a full recovery, but no timetable has been set for his return to football. ... In a late Saturday game, Colorado snapped a 14-game losing streak in the Pac-12 with a 17-13 victory over the Beavers. Colorado’s last league win was on Nov. 16, 2013, when the Buffaloes beat Cal, 41-24, in Boulder. The victory over the Beavers also snapped a 13-game losing streak on the road against conference foes, with the last coming on Sept. 22, 2012, at Washington State, 35-34.