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Penn State Coaching Search: Al Golden

If you've been following my writing long enough, you know that I've referred to the current University of Miami head coach as Future Penn State Head Coach Al Golden for a number of years. It's always been a bit of a tongue-in-cheek thing, but also a nod to a guy who turned around the Temple football program's fortunes when nobody else had been remotely successful before him.

He's a former Penn State captain, only 42 years old, and would almost assuredly take the job if offered. Ladies and gentlemen, I present Future Penn State Head Coach Al Golden.

Head Coaching Record

Year School Record Off. S&P Rank Def. S&P Rank Overall S&P Rank
2006 Temple 1-11 48.4 119 77.1 116 119
2007 Temple 4-8 80.6 113 93.6 82 108
2008 Temple 5-7 83.3 110 103.9 54 95
2009 Temple 9-4 101.7 72 89.5 96 85
2010 Temple 8-4 96.7 79 92.2 77 84
2011 Miami 6-6 114.3 24 96.9 74 50

Temple was a smoldering crater when Golden showed up in 2006. The 2006 offensive S&P of 48.4 is the lowest, by far, in the Football Outsiders database going back to 2005. The improvement is rather obvious throughout Golden's tenure at Temple, especially in the win-loss column.

Miami was a volatile team this season, losing to an awful Maryland team to start the year (to be fair, Miami was playing without eight suspended players and was likely blinded by Maryland's putrid state flag uniforms). They beat Ohio State, then lost a close game to what turned out to be a rather good Kansas State team. The team essentially flailed about, which you'd expect given the turmoil they endured.

The offensive S&P number is a pleasant surprise. Miami's offensive coordinator is Jedd Fisch, bio here. You'll recall Miami's defensive coordinator from his Linebacker U days.

Coaching Experience

Prior to his taking the Temple job, Golden was the defensive coordinator at the University of Virginia from 2001-2005. He spent one year on Joe Paterno's coaching staff as a recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach in 2000. He was also a linebackers coach at Boston College from 1997-1999.

Some people continue to squawk about Golden's sudden departure for Virginia toward the end of recruiting season in early 2000. Look, when you're a position coach in your early 30's and are given an opportunity to become a defensive coordinator at a major program like Virginia, you take it.

At Temple, Golden was universally praised for changing the off-field culture as much as the on-field results. Not only had Temple been recently booted from the Big East, they were also stripped of nine scholarships by the NCAA for poor academic performance. Golden made his players sit in the front two rows of classrooms and visit their professors during office hours. He randomly checked attendance by showing up at classes. He turned a total joke of a program into one of the more stable and competitive teams in the MAC.

On the other hand, Golden never won the MAC. Temple's best finish was an eastern division title in 2009, a season which started with losses to Villanova and Penn State, followed by nine straight wins, then losses in the MAC championship game to Ohio and the Eaglebank Bowl to UCLA.

Coaching Philosophy

Rather basic, really. A 4-3 defense and a pro-style offense, presumably one not permanently led by The Human Interception, Jacory Harris. Golden is also ridiculously detail-oriented, and a tireless recruiter. When he interviewed for the Miami job, he brought a long a 300-plus page plan of how to move Miami football forward. He was heavily recommended by Jimmy Johnson, Bill Parcells, and Jim Leavitt.

Fit - Cultural, Personnel, Etc.

Culturally, you won't find a better fit anywhere. Golden obviously knows, loves, and lives Penn State, right down to wearing a tie on the sidelines as an homage to Joe Paterno. The real question is, how interested is Penn State? Golden has reportedly inquired about the position in the past, and been politely told "no thanks". He supposedly has a bloc of support within the Penn State Lettermen's Club, and certainly would be accepted by a significant portion of the fanbase who would like new blood with cultural ties to the Penn State tradition. Golden recently signed a contract extension at Miami through the 2020 season, which brings up questions about a potentially massive buyout figure, but because Miami is a private institution the details of Golden's contract aren't exactly available.

So, Future Penn State Head Coach Al Golden. What say you, BSD Commentariat?

Previous Candidate Profiles:

Dan Mullen, Mississippi State HC

Tom Bradley, Penn State Interim HC

Tim Murphy, Harvard HC

Mike Munchak, Tennessee Titans (NFL) HC

Mark Richt, Georgia HC

Greg Schiano, Rutgers HC

David Shaw, Stanford HC

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