'Canes All-Access: Meet Al Golden

Dec. 13, 2010

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami held a press conference on Monday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. at the Newman Alumni Center announcing the hiring of Al Golden as its new head football coach.

HurricaneSports.com has free video of Golden’s formal introduction, as well as a transcript of the live chat where fans interacted directly with insiders below.

In five seasons as the head coach at Temple, Golden took the Owls to unprecedented heights. Before his arrival, TU had just two winning seasons since 1980 and had only won 22 percent of its games over the previous 30 years.

After taking over the Owls, who went 0-11 the season prior to his arrival, Golden has led his team to a 17-6 record over their last 23 regular season games, including a 2010 defeat of BIG EAST champion and Fiesta Bowl participant Connecticut.

The 41-year-old Golden owns a 27-34 career record, which includes a 9-4 mark in 2009, and an 8-4 mark in 2010. He was able to lead the Owls to two winning seasons, which is exactly half of their total over the 26 years prior.

Continue to visit HurricaneSports.com throughout the week for more coverage on Golden as well as the Hurricanes’ continued preparation for the Sun Bowl.

Golden is the 22nd head football coach in UM history.



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Al Golden

Kirby Hocutt

Freshman QB Stephen Morris

UM Great Michael Irvin

Transcription of Al Golden’s Introductory Press Conference
December 13, 2010

University of Miami Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt
Introductory Comments
Good Evening. It’s great to be here with all of you this evening. Thank you for being here for this exciting and special occasion. We are here in the Newman Alumni Center; what a beautiful new facility here at the University of Miami that we are very proud of.

We are here tonight to celebrate an exciting time and to take the next step in positioning our five-time national championship football program back at the top of the college football world. Before we formally welcome our new head football coach, I want to recognize a few individuals that are with us this evening. First and foremost, I see a group of special young men, members of the University of Miami football team. I appreciate them being here and more importantly, I appreciate how they have handled this time of transition. I appreciate how they represent us in competition, how they represent us in the community and how they represent us in the classroom. I am inspired by them each and every day and I feel honored and privileged to be associated with this program and with these great young men. I appreciate the ones that are here this evening.

I want to say thank you to the group of assistant coaches that are still here leading our program on a day-to-day basis. It’s a group of men for the student-athletes and I want to say a special thank you to coach Jeff Stoutland for accepting the interim head coaching role during this time of transition and as we enter our bowl game against Notre Dame. I appreciate the way they have handled this transition and continuing to be here for the young men on this football team.

On November 20th we had a very special announcement – a monumental announcement. It introduced a very special project for us, the Schwartz Center for Student-Athlete Excellence. It’s a project that will enhance our student-athlete experience and we’ll begin construction approximately a year from now. And I want to recognize and say a very special thank you to the individual who has stepped forward to make that happen, Mr. Ted Schwartz, who flew in from Chicago to be here.

And I want to say a very special thank you to two men that were by my side throughout this process, who provided me guidance, counsel, leadership and were there ultimately to support the decision that we made to move this football program forward. Mr. Paul DiMare, the chair of our athletic advisory committee for the Board of Trustees. Thank you Paul. Paul and I have talked more the last two weeks than me and my wife have talked. And secondly, I want to say a very special thank you to another Board of Trustee member, someone who needs no introduction and knows the game of football as well as anybody in our country and that is Bernie Kosar.

I also want to thank our fans and members of the media for their patience and understanding as we worked through this process. Over the past few weeks, I realize that there have been questions that could not be answered until this evening.

Our process was thorough and necessary as we were diligent and determined to find the right leader for our very proud football program. And once we began to sit down with candidates in New York face-to-face, our new head coach came to the forefront very quickly. Coach Golden was the only individual that this job was offered to. He is the right fit at the right time to lead us back to the pinnacle of the college football world. We are excited to have Kelly, Al’s wife, with us and welcome her officially to the University of Miami family. Kelly, welcome to the University of Miami.

Coach Golden has a game plan to achieve excellence in every category. He is committed to leading and developing young men in life, in athletics and in football. Five years ago he took on one of the greatest challenges in all of college football. He has now accepted one of the greatest opportunities in all of college sports to lead out five-time national championship program back to the top.

It is my distinct honor to welcome and introduce to you out new head football coach at The U, Coach Al Golden.

University of Miami Head Football Coach Al Golden

Opening Comments
It’s a thrill to be here. Thank you to Kirby [Hocutt], President [Donna] Shalala, the search committee, Paul [DiMare], Bernie [Kosar]. I appreciate this tremendous opportunity to be here. I want to take a moment to thank my wife, Kelly, who is my strength off the field and obviously has been there for me every step of the way. I told her five years ago when we took one of the greatest challenges in college football that there would be a day like this. Thank you, Kelly.

I do want to take a moment to thank my parents and my family. My parents celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary yesterday so it’s a very special weekend for our family.

I am honored to be here and I am humbled to be here. This is a tremendous program with tremendous tradition and it’s a tremendous time to be at the University of Miami. It’s one of the most picturesque campuses and one of the greatest institutions in the country. I think the last it was ranked the 47th-ranked university in the country, No. 1 in the state of Florida. It’s got a strong alumni, a committed alumni of 131,000 who just gave more than 1.4 billion dollars just a couple years ago. That right there tells me that it’s got the infrastructure, it’s got the power, it’s got the energy to get the University of Miami back to national prominence.

The football program – it’s time we put it all together. We have had great success in the community, great success academically the last couple years. There is tremendous tradition here – a tradition of winning championships. There is no other standard. As I look around the room and see Don Bailey, Bernie Kosar, Mike Stewart, Randall Hill, Lamar Thomas, and Gerard Daphnis. That is the only standard by which we will be measured. That is their legacy. That is their legacy and ours to uphold.

To our football alumni, to our 47 players in the NFL, to our 275 former players in the NFL – drafted in the NFL – and to all the other alumni, I have two things. First is a promise, the second is a request. A promise that our young men on this team today, right now, will not have a sense of entitlement about the legacy, but will uphold what you have created here and the standard that you set. We will do whatever we have to do to make sure that when they turn on the TV and they see Ray Lewis or any of the other great players, that they understand the work it took in the classroom, in the film room, on the field of play, on the practice field, and that they uphold that legacy. The request that I have – please come back. Please come back. Please be a part of the program. Please be on the sidelines. Please come to practices. Please come in front of the young men so that they understand the standard that you set, the legacy that you created, the hard work that it took to bring this program to national prominence and to be the greatest brand in college football.

To the high school coaches of Florida and South Florida, again I am humbled to be your peer and humbled to be your colleague. We will represent the University of Miami at each one of your high schools. We will make sure that you are treated right. Our doors will always be open. We will want to clinic with you. We will be a great resource for you. We will evaluate your student-athletes and we will make sure that your high school is being represented by the University of Miami and that we have a special group of student-athletes from the great state of Florida and obviously South Florida.

To the current members of the team, I had a great opportunity to meet with all of them and it was a tremendous opportunity. We visited for about an hour and I will not share with you the things that were said in the meeting because I think it’s important that we move forward and I think it’s important that its private. But I do want you to know that every coach, every support person, anybody that touches a student-athlete here will be committed to making you the best student-athlete you can be, making you’re the best citizen you can be in the community and on the campus and obviously making you the best football player you can be. And we will go to any degree to make sure we support that. As I told the players, and I’ll say it here because you’ll hear me saying it from now and into the future, my job as the head coach of the University of Miami is to love and respect you, make you the best student-athlete you can be, and win championships. That’s my job. That’s my job.

To the Miami students, the alumni, to the community, to the faculty, to all the employees of the university, and to our fans, I’ll promise you that the Hurricanes will be champions in the classroom, they’ll be champions in the community, and they’ll be champions on the field of competition. I promise that when you look out on the field, and I don’t care whether you stop by for a practice, or it’s an informal pass skeleton tournament in the summer, or at any of our games, you’ll see a team that’s smart, that’s tough, that’s disciplined, that plays with passion, plays with energy, has an attitude, is aggressive, and represents the university with class, first class. That’s what I’m looking for. That’s the team we are going to have. That’s what the University of Miami was built on and that’s what the University of Miami deserves. Energy, toughness, passion, and we’ll play the way Hurricanes play. And again, that’s my commitment to this University, that’s my commitment to the fans, that’s my commitment to all these great players that are out here that created this legacy. That’s what we are going to do here. and we are going to find the staff that wants to do it that way. We are going to put that together. We are going to sit down with each and every player and make sure they understand the standard of excellence and then demand compliance. We will return to winning championships here at the University of Miami.

Again, I can’t thank you enough for this opportunity. It’s been an incredible journey for me the last five years. I have learned that anything is possible if you have the right plan, if you have the right execution, if you have the right culture, but most importantly, if you have the right people. I can tell you just in 48 hours, I know I am around the right people. I want to thank you again for this tremendous opportunity to come to the University of Miami and we are going to do everything we can to be the ACC champions and to be national champions and I thank you for that.

I’ll take any questions at this time.

On handling the challenges of recruiting…
Well there certainly are challenges in recruiting, but we have four or five days this week before the dead period, so we’re going to get on that right away. We’re going to make sure that we contact the players that are committed, that they understand what our core values are, the type of culture that we’re going to create here and the type of commitment that we’re going to have to our student-athletes. I’m going to make sure that we get out there right away and see those young men. We also have some that are going to come up and visit this weekend, so we’re going to get off to a fast start. Then we’re going to regroup during the bowl season, during which I’ll be mostly evaluating our current team, starting on the recruiting, and then once the dead period is lifted, we’re going to get out there and do everything we can. We are going to fight for every student-athlete in the state of Florida. Right now, the University of Miami – in the Top 100 in the state -doesn’t have anyone committed in the Top 30. We’re going to change that. That’s going to change tomorrow and that’s going to change everyday hereafter until we get it fixed. We’re going to recruit this area like crazy. We’re also going to recruit in the Northeast, New York City metro, New Jersey, Eastern [Pennsylvania], Delaware, and down through [the District of Columbia]. We’re going to continue to recruit there to supplement the great talent in the state of Florida, so I hope that gives you an idea of where we’re going.

On the status of current coaches…
I’m going to evaluate that during these practices. I’m going to evaluate every coach and every player. I’m going to sit down with all of the coaches, as I will sit down with every player, just to get a good beat on everything. I’m not going to answer that conclusively, I’m going to evaluate those coaches, and if I believe they share my core values, my commitment to recruiting, and my commitment to student-athlete development, then obviously they will have a chance to stay on with us.

On his relationships with the current coaches…
Jeff Stoutland and I competed for student-athletes for years when he was at Syracuse and Michigan State, and I was at Penn State, and Boston College and Virginia. I have a lot of respect for him. I think we sat down and had breakfast one time, because we were so tired of beating each other up over the same kids. I’ve had some interaction with Aubrey Hill in the past, have a great deal of respect for him. Mike Cassano, John Lovett is someone who helped me when I started to learn to get in to coaching, so I do know some of the coaches and obviously you see a lot of them as professionals. The bottom line is that we have to put the right group together to move the program forward, and we have to get to the bottom of it, and essentially I think we’ll evaluate that here as time goes on.

On the decision to come to Miami at this point in his life and career…
It’s the most recognizable brand in college football. Again, I go back to the former players that are here, its five national championships, 20 national award winners, countless All-Americans, incredible tradition. It’s a dream job. It’s a tremendous opportunity for my family and I to build championships here. To continue the recent success in the classroom, and to give back to the community and be stewards in the community. I think this is just a wonderful opportunity. To be honest with you, I’m the luckiest coach in America today.

On timeline for complete staff…
That’s a sensitive subject right now because we have a team that’s preparing for a bowl game and a staff that’s in place right now. It should give an indication of what type of people you are, and what type of place this is, that none of the coaches have left. Although that’s great, because it’s the University of Miami and they don’t want to leave, it does present a problem in that I can’t add anybody right now and we don’t want to disrupt what’s taking place right now. At the end of the day – and I forgot to mention this to the former players – when you do come back, can you please tell them what the Notre Dame game means? Can you please make sure that the student-athletes on our football team know the significance of Notre Dame in this game, because that’s really important. So, I would challenge all the former players to make sure they do that.

On his offensive and defensive philosophies…
The offense is going to be a pro-style. Most of it is game plan. When you run a pro-style offense, whether or not we have a fullback, or an extra tight-end, I don’t know yet. Certainly we’re going to deploy some one-back systems as well, in terms of being three-wide, or two tight ends. The reality is if you are a pro system, you are really game plan oriented. You have a certain core that you use. In essence, it’s based on what your opponent does. On defense, we operate out of a 4-3. But in this day, with so much spread, you have to be able to be flexible. You can’t just sit in a 4-3 defense anymore. The teams that have had the best success defensively are the ones that can go in and out of an even and odd front with great ease. The teams that do that the best are having the most success. What you see – and it doesn’t matter what league you’re in – is Georgia Tech running a triple option. You’ll see other teams running a spread, and you’ll see other teams running a pro-style offense, with two backs, and trying to run power football. You have to be multiple, because you want to pressure, but you want to have the opportunity to drop eight. That’s what we are, so we’re really not going to change. I will say this – think players first, then plays. Al Groh used to always tell me that at the University of Virginia, and I think it’s true. We have to look at what’s under the hood here, at what players do best, and make sure we get the talent into the game.

On what he knows about the team so far…
Over the past day or so, I’ve worked like crazy, looking at the depth. I know that it’s a fairly young team, just in the structure of the classes. I also know that there are 70 scholarship players, because we only have 15 to give. That could be good in a transition year, that you don’t have a lot to give, because it means, obviously, that there are a lot of scholarship players in the program. I don’t really know much about the individuals. I’m going to make time to not only see them on the field and evaluate them as individuals, but also to get to know them, get to know their background. If I have to call their parents, get to know their parents, I will do that as well. But, for me to assess the talent after a 50 minute meeting with team, it wouldn’t be fair to the student-athletes or the coaches.

The challenges of playing off-campus…
There’s two issues there. One the players can’t worry about, and that’s attendance. The players are in charge of two acres and the ball, that’s it. The players have to get to the point where they don’t make any excuses. The reason we lose a game is not because of the crowd. I look at some of the former `Canes in the room, and I remember coming down here with a Boston College team, and a Virginia team, and the place wasn’t full then but they did us in. They were really good. Then they had the big draws four or five times a year, then they went and played for national titles. I want to make sure that just because it’s your job, and it’s the athletic administration’s job, and it’s my job to make sure the attendance is addressed, that the players understand that that’s not the players’ job. Their job is to prepare, and not worry about what’s being blogged, or what’s being written. The players’ job is to stay focused, stay out of that and win the game. We can only control what we can control. In terms of getting people in there, we have to improve the team, first and foremost, and that’s my job. Kirby’s got a tremendous schedule coming in, we play Ohio State next year. The players can’t worry about that, but in terms of us, the athletics administration, the support of the alums, myself, where the players can help is getting out in the community, making sure that people understand what we’re all about, having gratitude, being stewards in the community. That’s one way to bring the entire community together. So I think all of that collectively and the efforts of the great people here in the athletics administration, we’ll be able to tackle that.

Timeline for a national title…
I want to make sure you understand that our goal is going to be to win a national championship and that’s going to go on the board in the locker room from the get go. We’re not going to wait to say when we’re going to go after it, we’re going to start going after it. But for me to make a prediction without seeing the team, I can’t do that. But I can tell you, that’s the expectation, for anybody in this room. Whether you support a player, or you’re the trainer, or you’re the manager, there’s only going to be one standard and that standard is excellence — and to uphold the legacy left by so many great teams in the past and we will do that.

On his recruiting habits…
It comes from when you’re entering the profession. Very quickly, coaches, older coaches, a generation ahead of you, want to put you in one of two categories: an `X’ and `O’ guy, or a recruiter. What I noticed early on is that the greatest coaches in this business are great at both. You can name them, because I don’t want to name other schools, but the best coaches in this business understand that without the acquisition and development of the best talent, that their `X’s’ and `O’s’ are for nothing and I think that’s something that I learned early on, and I’ve been blessed to work with two Hall of Fame coaches in George Welsh at Virginia, and Joe Paterno at Penn State. I’ve had the opportunity to be around Al Groh and Bill Parcells and work with them. I was very fortunate that I had the opportunity to be with Tom O’Brien at Boston College, so I’ve been blessed with great mentors, and I just think that I learned early on that you’ve got to be great at both to be standing here.

On his first meeting with Kirby Hocutt…
He knew exactly what he was looking for. I admired his courage. He wasn’t really interested in what everybody was saying, what everybody was thinking. He had a plan in his mind of attack. He was very thorough, professional. He’s very poised beyond his years, quite honestly. I could tell early there was a connection for us. I think I had three things he was looking for: I was a good coach, had the best plan for the University of Miami football team and I wanted to be here.


Al Golden 6:00 PM Press Conference