Miami Hurricanes To Rise Again?

miami hurricanes 2012 teamIn the wake of the thirteen-point loss to Florida State this past Saturday, I wrote a piece about Miami keeping it close until late (16-13, early fourth quarter) and while not going so far as to call it a ‘moral victory’, did state that it would help Al Golden on the recruiting trail, giving him the ability to sell prospects on the Canes not being as far off as the Noles (and Gators) are selling.

Today Jeremy Fowler at CBS Sports wrote a piece on Miami’s pending resurgence, claiming that it won’t be easy, but there’s reason the believe the Canes can again be a power – proving that UM’s efforts on Saturday night weren’t in vain.

A few points Fowler makes in his argument, after rattling off some of the obvious issues – recent losses, looming sanctions, poor attendance, lesser facilities, et al:

–  Starting this past February, Miami began winning some local battles an kept homegrown talent in Coral Gables. According to, UM signed seven of the top fourteen players from the South Florida area (Fort Lauderdale and below) in 2012, helping result in a top-ten class. In 2005, the Canes only netted five of the top seventeen.

– Golden is focusing on development and twenty-one freshmen have seen the field this season. He is also working to squash out a sense of entitlement that plagued the program in recent years.

– Fowler states that Miami needs to land a long-term athletic director, after both Kirby Hocutt and Shawn Eichorst used UM as a stepping stone to bigger opportunities.

Golden believes he’ll have a hand in hiring the next AD and states that he wants stability.

“An appreciation for the University of Miami and South Florida, someone who’s process-oriented,” said Golden about what the school needs in a director. “We need to negate our deficiencies and highlight our assets.”

– Fowler points out that Golden is signed through 2019 and wrote that the second-year coach cites his mom’s Italian immigrant roots and father’s work ethic (held down two jobs) as the driving forces behind why he refuses to “retreat”, but will instead fight through UM’s reclamation project.

– According to John Infante, a former Division-I compliance director and author of the Bylaw Blog, Miami could receive an NCAA notice of allegations by late November, followed by definitive sanctions by next spring / summer.

Infante also stated the fact that most of UM’s staff wasn’t directly connected to Nevin Shapiro could help the school’s cause.

– Regarding attendance ‘woes’, Fowler points out the following : “The 2001 national title season drew 46,162 fans per game in the now-defunct Orange Bowl. This year’s attendance is at 52,557 through five games, down from last year’s 56,207.”.

– The debate regarding an on-campus stadium and football-only facility still rumbles on. Former running back Alonzo Highsmith is pushing for a change with both, but interim athletic director Blake James points out that it’s not doable right now.

“We’re in a large stadium as a small private school,” James said. “A lot of people lose sight of that and equate Miami’s success on the field with those programs that have maybe had that kind of [additions]. A 10,000-student private school is a much different equation.”

The $13.6M Schwartz Center is under construction – a two-level, 30,000-square-foot multipurpose athletics facility, built to serve as the focal point of the football program – and the school isn’t ruling out enhancements to the program.

– Fowler ends by stating that Golden is the architect to lead UM through this rebuilding process, pointing out the early struggles at Temple and how the 2007 team was hugely made-up of freshmen – the same players who eventually comprised the school’s winningest football class.

Golden believes in his blueprint and process, stating, “You really had to learn to be a callous team, control things you can control.”

“I still believe the execution of the process, on a consistent basis, is what’s going to deliver us out of this.”

Golden also pointed out that while he sees mistakes on the field, he also sees fight, which he and his staff can build on.

“I have no doubt,” said Golden about whether he has enough time, resources, talent to make it work. “I’m proud as heck of our guys for competing the way we’re competing.”



18 thoughts on “Miami Hurricanes To Rise Again?

  1. I love Al Golden. I think he’d make a great AD 🙂 I hope Al sticks it out as I feel he could lead us to more national championships and the coach that could bring a stadium to the University

  2. I have faith in coach Golden; I believe he will eventually right the ship, to make UMiami relevant again. The one part of the article concerning UM as a “small” private school which struggles to accumulate a larger fan-base, in my opinion, is a bit nauseating (in street terms it means I’m just damn sick and tired of hearing it). It seems that everybody, especially those within the Athletics department, keeps harping on the sorry fan-base we have, the school’s small undergrad population, lack of donors; insinuating the defeatist belief that UM will “never” reach the pinnacle status of a Notre Dame. It is laughable beyond reason considering the fact, and what everyone has really lost sight of, that Notre Dame has a much smaller undergrad population than Miami’s, and yet they have a huge following. Yes, yes I know South Bend, In. is a small, college football town compare to the cosmopolitan Miami with all the distractions galore, and the fact that Notre Dame has all the tradition and mysticism. But if they can put together a humongous, and a NATIONWIDE support network to make up for the much smaller student/alumni base then I don’t see why “The U” shouldn’t do the same. As for the lack of attendance at home I agree that the Athletics department needs to schedule more valuable opponents to draw bigger crowds. But as long as Miami is a member of one of the worst, weakest and the most volatile football conferences in the country then the football program could never get as much interest it deserves. Sure, winning football games help, but it will never be enough to draw interest.

    1. Jorph – You leave out the biggest difference between Miami and Notre Dame, and that’s the Catholic backing. Doesn’t matter that it’s a small school — it’s an institution due to the Catholic church and being a Catholic university.

      All of my mom’s relatives are diehard Catholics and diehard Irish fans. None are alumni, all grew up in Miami – but they all backed the Catholic school over the hometown team.

      Biggest reason? Notre Dame used to be the only show in town, back in that prehistoric, leather helmet era. The Irish were on TV nationally and if you were watching college football in the 50’s and 60’s, all you saw was prestigious Notre Dame football. It was engrained in that generation and passed down.

      Notre Dame didn’t have to “put together” a nationwide support network; that was put into place for them forty years ago when their team was the only show in town and the fan base was built.

      Irish football dates back to 1887 and they won their first national title in 1924 — a year before Miami even had a university. Knute Rockne took over the program in 1931. Frank Leahy won four titles in the 1940’s.

      Miami didn’t even get on the map until the late 1970’s and didn’t really become nationally relevant until the 1980’s.

      There is a universal reason for folks to like Notre Dame – starting with Catholicism. For Miami, the only reason this thing went national, was to do that 80’s style of play and bad boy attitude — which is hardly universal.

      Yes, UM can always do more than it’s doing. No on will ever argue that … but to compare it to Notre Dame, because they’re both small private schools. That certainly can’t be a benchmark. Zero comparison.

      1. Yes, Chris, I know all of that. That’s the “tradition and the [religious] mysticism” I was alluding to in my last comment. Perhaps this is a rhetorical question to you, but there are few other Catholic institutions who are part of Division 1 (Boston College for instance); are they ALL Notre Dame fans too? Or don’t they had the same historic stature of Notre Dame, much less stiff out one National title? Of course let us both never lose sight that not all Catholics are necessarily “fans” of American football, much less fans of the “Fighting Irish.”

        Be as it may, Miami can still compete with the likes of Notre Dame as far as the popularity, and the support goes in OTHER ways. And that’s why UMiami needs an Athletics director who not only knows the cosmopolitan culture of a big city, but lives in one; a person who is innovative, who can think outside the box to help make the football program reach its potential, to search for a “niche” the football program can run on and to eventually reach a national following. It doesn’t have to be the old “bad boy” image, we’ve seen in the 80’s, which you have mentioned.

  3. These articles point to an issue that I’ve raised before – systemic, organizational decline at the University of Miami. As you’ve noted in the past, there are a multitude of complex, interrelating factors which go into a major university athletic program. Suffice it to say that building a competitive football team takes more than just a good coach and some good recruits. In many ways, the coach and players are a reflection of the organizational culture. Poor coaching, declining play, lack of quality recruits – those are symptoms of larger, systemic issues.

    I think it is rather apparent that a sense of complacency soon crept into the system after the 2001 championship seasons in football and baseball. Indeed, both programs – which have the longest tradition and most visibility – have followed the same general trajectory. Miami’s last BCS appearance was 2004, and its last CWS appearance was 2008.

    While Coach Golden, I believe, has a good plan to rebuild the football program, the fact is that doing so is an organizational effort. (On the other hand, I’m not sure if Coach Morris understand the depth of his problem, but that is another story.) That being said, Golden is not the CEO in the sense that we think of. Really, that position in many ways is the role of the Athletic Director. If you think about UM as one large corporation (actually, it is, since it is a university), Golden is in charge of one department – to be sure, the most visible and important. But Golden is not ultimately responsible for fundraising and development, facilities, advertising, licensing and apparel, baseball, basketball, women’s basketball, etc. No doubt he plays a large role, but still, the Athletic Director, athletic department and all the ancillary organizational duties that flow from that are what keep the program running day in, and day out.

    Until the President and Board of Trustees address the systemic, organizational issues in a fundamental way, then I don’t believe that we will see a major turn around. Fortunately, I believe that President Shalala and the Board want to do that. Hopefully they’ll make the right decisions. The most important one in the next couple of months – one that will probably determine the future of UM athletics – is going to be who is selected to be the new AD. I would say that who becomes the next AD is probably as important – if not more so – than next year’s recruits. Great leadership at the CEO level tends to breed positive results. Mediocre leadership at the CEO level, such as Miami had for the last 10 years or so, will give you what we’ve had – mediocrity.

    Watch the AD selection process of the next few months – that will tell you more about Miami’s future than the remainder of the season.

    Go Canes!

    – Jake (Yokosuka, Japan)

    PS – Chris, did you apply yet? 🙂

    1. Great piece, Jake … and no, I know better than to apply. I wouldn’t last two seconds in that job with my mouth and slew of opinions!

    2. Wow, that was extremely interesting! I am not sure who you are Jake, and how you have this insight (in Japan, no less!) but I really appreciate you sharing. I was a UM grad student from ’97 – ’03, and ever since I left, have been trying to make sense of Miami’s decline. I understand the usual suspects – drop off in recruiting, poor coaching and player development etc. – but your explanation seems to put the problem in a larger context, which I have been missing all these years. Maybe it was pretty obvious, but I did not see it. I do have to say that the issue with the AD’s has been very confounding to me, to say the least. I hope that the University gets it right this time, and will definitely be paying attention to the hiring process. Thanks again for the great info!

      1. NEO – I have no “insider” information or connection to the program. My thoughts are based on what I’ve seen and read over the years. When I’m back on shore duty I also teach at the university level, usually in business or public administration programs, so I have a passing familiarity with organizational theory and structure issues. My dad played football at UM in the 1960s, and I was raised a diehard Cane. allCanes is one of my few connections to the UM while I’m stationed overseas, and Chris is the best there is. Without him and allCanes, I’d have to read ESPN … ugh!

        Go Canes!

        Jake in Yokosuka

    3. RE: Jake’s take. Sadly, I absolutely don’t have the FAITH and or CONFIDENCE in both the University of Miami’s, Florida’s PRESIDENT and BOARD OF TRUSTEES!!!!

      Because these two University entities NOT ONLY made SERIOUS blunders on the hiring of two past A.D.’s. They both COULDN’T or REFUSED to hire a TOP NOTCH, experienced B.C.S. head coach after the ” Chit-canning ” of one Larry Coker!

      Again, a bloody EMPHASIS on REFUSED to hire a ” more than qualified ” B.C.S. head coach!!!!

      And that BLUNDER of a decision, more than anything else, SET-BACK Miami college football back at least a DECADE!!

      By the way, BOTH Coach Randy Shannon AND Coach Albert Golden were FOURTH and or FIFTH choice hires!

      So, perhaps that says alot about the state of Hurricane college pigskin AFFAIRS. More than loyal Cane fandom WANT TO ADMIT!!!

      Nonetheless, I do BELIVE Coach Golden will have continued winning seasons in Coral Gables. TRAGICALLY, those will be the 8-4 or 9-3 variety. With an OCCASIONAL 10-2 winning campaign.

      In other words, the past seasons CIRCA 2000-2005 are probably P-A-S-S-E for Miami, Florida Hurricane college football.

      Bon jour

      1. No one wanted this job post-Larry in late 2006, mac. No one except the crazy Mike Leach and the inexperienced Randy Shannon.

        UM tried to lure Greg Schiano south for $2M a year and he declined. Other than that, who else was there?

        Everyone always thinks that just handing over a blank check will bring a big name coach in. Look at Florida. They settled on the inexperienced Will Muschamp a few years ago after calling the usual suspects – Chris Petersen, Bob Stoops, etc. – and getting nowhere. If the Gators, with their HUGE athletic budget, couldn’t bring in a top name post-Urban, why is there this ongoing notion that UM “isn’t doing enough” to land a big name coach?

        One more time for those not paying attention — Miami isn’t a dream job or dream destination for MOST coaches in the game. Private school. Off-campus stadium. Hard sell. Lots of in-state programs competing for the talent. Metropolitan city with several pro sports franchises.

        It takes a rare breed and special fit to want the Miami job – and UM is lucky to have nabbed Golden on the way up. That’s the only way the Canes will survive – but getting guys on their climb, as they’re not going to snag those guys once they at the top, that’s the answer.

        Look at the other interested parties were outside Golden — a washed up Marc Trestman and a deadbeat Randy Edsall. No thanks.

        The admin can only sell the product as-is — and if Florida couldn’t land a big-name guy after Urban, why does everyone think Miami could’ve or should’ve done better with the past two hires? Based on what???

    4. Yay, Jake! I’m going to Japan for 10 days soon. Taught ESL there before. Thanks for supporting the ‘Canes!! -?Vicky

  4. By the way, just to refresh Cane bUbba’s collective memories. That particular 2005 Hurricane team was STILL IN THE RUNNING for playing in a POSSIBLE B.C.S. game. Of course, Ga. Tech upset the Hurricanes in the ” mystique ” O.B., and Miami, Florida Hurricane footbal matters AIN’T BEEN the same since then. Eh. What say.

    1. … agree, but that team was still garbage offensively. Defense is what saved the Canes that season. Regardless, even IF in the BCS running, we saw how that would’ve played out when Miami took on a top ten LSU team in the Peach — 40-3.

      Things haven’t been the same since 2002. Something on offense or defense has been quirky every season since, with things progressively worse over the past seven years.

  5. Call me crazy or ill-informed but I just have this gut feeling that the top people in the administration *cough* Shalala *cough* aren’t as committed to the football program as they claim to be. They’d rather the school be known for academics rather than athletics, just my thought.

  6. I thiink a posible factor is the ACC,s attitude toward football. I really really believe, down deep, that the ACC just wants to play OK football. Not SEC and not Big-12 and not Big-10 and not west coast football.

    Item: UNC seats 25000 for basketball. They play 20 home games. That,s 500000 fans at about the same price (seal license) as football. Incidentally, seat licenses are $25000 for 2 seats for 20 years and $40000 inheritable.

    But it,s 15 guys and 5 coaches vs. 85 and 15.

    Screw football. Bring on midnite madness. A lot easier to suceed and he fans really like it!!! Ditto for maryland, virginia, duke, wake and BC.

    Miami is doing as good as possible in a basketball conference. I look for FSU to depart for whoever offers in a nanosecond.

  7. Vision and leadership–everyone responds to them. I appreciate our interim AD’s comments on a new stadium for our ‘Canes. However, who (potential recruits, student, and alums alike) would not respond favorably to a realizable dream, such as a new stadium? Even if it is not “doable” in the very near future, it IS doable at some point in the future, and that is what we should be working towards, even now. Dreams such as this only increase the enthusiasm and hope of supporters, and isn’t that what The U needs right now? Have the audacity to dream, and to follow THE PROCESS in that regard, with our great new coaches leading the way…. We could use a little help, too, from our former ‘Canes, from Billy Corben, and all those who love The U. ‘Nuff said!

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