Miami Hurricanes Athletic Director Blake James had seen enough.
After the school suffered its worst loss ever, the Hurricanes AD fired Al Golden midway through his fifth season with the team, ESPN reported Sunday night. James’ sacking of the head coach may have been the strongest defensive play the Miami Hurricanes faithful has seen this season.
While the losses may have piled up, it was the way the team lost on Saturday that cost Golden his job this soon. Clemson – now the third-ranked team in the country – thoroughly dominated Miami the entire game en route to a 58-0 win, the Hurricanes worst loss in their program’s history. The players themselves seemed demoralized, and a stinging criticism of their effort followed by ESPN’s Andrea Adelson.
“There was no fight in this team, no will to win, no passion and no energy. Then when [Brad] Kaaya went out in the second quarter, the Canes had nothing left to give. So now the question that everybody wants answered: How can Miami move forward with Golden after this team just hit rock bottom under his watch?”
James answered that question Sunday. The Miami Hurricanes couldn’t move forward with Golden – who led his teams to a 32-25 record – at the helm.
Now the Miami Hurricanes leader must find the right coach to move the program forward from their lowest point in recent memory. The program that had won five national championships in an 18-year span from 1983 to 2001 has not won double-digit contests since 2003.
The Hurricanes AD will have his work cut out for him. Despite having a fertile recruiting territory, the Miami job is already the sixth vacancy this year, adding to USC’s opening and Steve Spurrier’s abrupt resignation at South Carolina this month.
However, Miami has several potential candidates they could consider, mostly with ties to the program. Here are five coaches with ties to the school that will be heard often for the Hurricanes head coaching position.
Rob Chudzinski, Indianapolis Colts Associate Head Coach
Chudzinski will be the name on every person’s list to replace Al Golden as the next Miami Hurricanes coach. He’s a connection to the Miami legacy, having been a tight end on the 1987 and 1989 National Championship team. He also has former head coaching experience, albeit a brief and ugly 4-12 stint with the Cleveland Browns.
Mario Cristobal, Alabama Crimson Tide Offensive Line Coach
Cristobal’s background checks a lot of boxes the Miami Hurricanes need in hiring their next coach. A former player with two national championships to his credit, Cristobal has already performed a rebuilding process on a southern Florida team. As the head coach of the FIU Panthers, Cristobal had back-to-back bowl seasons before being firing in 2012 after a 3-9 season.
Butch Davis, former Miami Hurricanes Head Coach
A second stint in Miami might just be what the doctor — or is it meteorologist? — ordered for the Hurricanes. Davis was the last coach to leave without being fired, doing so with a 51-20 record in six seasons. And he’s reportedly interested in returning to coaching after a five-year hiatus, according to Bleacher Report.
Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts Head Coach
Pagano may be a surprise to some as a replacement for Al Golden, but the current NFL head coach is likely to be fired at the end of the year, Pro Football Talk reports. If that’s the case, the Miami Hurricanes could land an NFL head coach with a strong defensive background, one of the team’s weaknesses this season. And he’s coached at the school before, another plus in understanding how important winning is at the Coral Gables school.
Greg Schiano, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach
Schiano served under Butch Davis as the defensive coordinator in 1999 and 2000. When he left the school for Rutgers, he helped a dormant Scarlet Knights program to its most wins in school history by recruiting the Miami area. His success at the college level didn’t translate to the NFL scene, but Schiano knows his way around southern Florida and could provide immediate help with the defense.
Do you think the Miami Hurricanes will hire a coach with ties to the school? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
[Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images]