Al Golden, theUniversityofMiami’s 22nd head football coach, is in his second season at the helm of the Hurricanes’ program.
Under his leadership, the 42-year old Golden laid a foundation and process to return the storied program to prominence.
The Golden Era. Golden’s brand of football–tough, smart and disciplined–was accepted and strides were made in that direction. Since a season ago, the Canes have improved 19-plus spots among the nation’s FBS schools in turnover margin (+19), fewest penalties per game (+63) and fewest yards penalized per game (+85).
Golden oversaw an offense that was one of the most efficient in the country and produced lauded seasons for quarterback Jacory Harris, wide receiver Tommy Streeter and running back Lamar Miller. His persuasion on the defense was evident, as the Canes held several top-rated offenses to 20-plus points below their season averages. TheMiamidefense finished the season ranked No. 21 in the nation in scoring defense and tied for ninth in red zone defense.
With a commitment to community service, Golden instituted the Be the Match-Bone Marrow drive atMiami. Members of the football staff and team took an active part in registering members of the UM andSouth Floridacommunities for the national organization.
Golden arrived inCoral Gablesafter spending five seasons (2006-2010) as the head coach atTempleUniversity. Over five seasons atTemple, Golden took the Owls to unprecedented heights. Before his arrival, TU had just two winning seasons over its previous 26 years and had only won 22 percent of its games over the previous 30 years.
In 2010, Golden led the Owls to an 8-4 overall record, 5-3 in Mid-American Conference (MAC) games and saw eight players named to the All-MAC first team. The 2009 season saw the Owls reach unparalleled success. Golden guided the Owls to new heights, finishing the season at 9-4 overall and tying for first place in the MAC East Division with a 7-1 mark.Templerecorded its first winning season since 1990 and made its first bowl appearance in 30 years. The Owls’ bowl game was just the third in 111 years ofTemplefootball. The MAC East championship was the Owls’ best conference finish since joining the league in 2003. TU won a single-season record nine consecutive games.
The Colts Neck, N.J., native was named the Owls’ 24th head football coach on December 6, 2005, after spending the prior five seasons as defensive coordinator at the University of Virginia.
Named the 2009 MAC Coach of the Year and the Maxwell Club’s Tri-State Coach of the Year, Golden also saw an unprecedented 15 Owls earn All-MAC honors, including a school record eight first-team All-MAC honorees. All-American Bernard Pierce was named the MAC Freshman of the Year, while sophomore Adrian Robinson garnered MAC Defensive Player of the Year accolades.
The Owls also received recognition for their community service efforts. In 2009, theTempleteam was awarded the Robert P. Levy Community Service Award, presented by the Philadelphia Sports Congress, and the Athletic Department’s inaugural T.E.A.M. [Temple’s Exceptional Acts for Mankind] Award for community service.
Off the field, Golden has mentored the Owls through the greatest academic turnaround in the NCAA APR Reform Era. In his third season, Golden guided the Owls to a 5-7 mark, the team’s most wins most since 1990, and a second-place finish in the MAC East. Facing five opponents that went on to postseason play, the Owls persevered to new heights, despite losing three games on the very last play of the game.
In 2008, Golden saw five Owls earn All-MAC honors, including senior DT Terrance Knighton,Temple’s then-only first-team selection.Templeshowed significant improvement on special teams, leading the nation in kickoff returns. The Owls out-scored their opponents for the season for the first time since 1990. During his second season in 2007, Golden once again played the nation’s most true freshmen (20) and started the nation’s most true freshmen (12). He led the Owls to a 4-8 overall record and a 4-4 mark during their inaugural season in the Mid-American Conference.
Along the way, TU won three consecutive games. The fourth win tiedTemple’s mark for the most conference wins since 1967. Led by All-MAC players DT Andre Neblett and DB Dominique Harris, the Cherry & White defense led the MAC in total defense, red zone defense, and pass defense. The Owls’ red zone defense ranked first nationally.
In his first campaign in Owl Country, Golden played 22 true freshmen, the most in the nation, against the third most difficult schedule in the country. Only national championFlorida(10) and Stanford (9) played more bowl participants during the regular season than the Owls, who competed against eight teams that earned postseason berths. Thirty-eight players saw their first major college football action under Golden in 2006, including 27 freshmen.
Golden captured his first victory at the helm when the Owls defeatedBowling Green, 28- 14, at Lincoln Financial Field on Oct. 28, 2006. The win was the largest accomplishment for the Owls on the field, but a multitude of goals were achieved off the field during Golden’s initial campaign.Templeunveiled the most comprehensive academic support team in the Mid-American Conference and teamed with Adidas as the team’s official outfitter. The program was also successful in assembling a regional, nonconference schedule for years to come.
Recruiting has also been a tremendous success under Golden’s leadership. His initial signing class in 2006 was rated best in the MAC by CollegeFootballNews.com, while the 2007 and 2008 classes earned top honors in the league from Scout.com.
With a commitment to community service and academics at the core of Golden’s program, a multitude of individual honors were bestowed upon the Owls in 2006. Seven student-athletes were named to the 2006 Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Football team, providingTemple the most honorees of the 10DelawareValley institutions that sponsor football. Three players were named to the 2006 Eastern College Athletic Conference Division I-A Football All-Star Team, marking the most for the Owls on the ECAC squad since a trio also earned recognition in 1997.
In addition, three football student-athletes were named honorable mention freshman All-Americans by The Sporting News. It signaled the largest number of rookies to receive national recognition in program history.
Golden was named the youngest defensive coordinator in Division I-A by Virginia head coach Al Groh in January 2001, after spending the previous season at his alma mater, serving as linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator under Joe Paterno. From 2001 to 2004, the Cavaliers’ defense improved under his tutelage, ranking 108th in total defense in his first year to ranking 18th in total defense in 2004. In the same time period,Virginia’s scoring defense went from 74th in the nation (27.6 ppg) to 17th (17.7 ppg) utilizing Golden’s 3-4 scheme.
In addition to his responsibilities as defensive coordinator, Golden directed the inside linebackers from 2001-04 before shifting to the secondary in 2005. In 2004, he oversaw a defense that featured the nation’s best group of linebackers, according to Athlon, The Sporting News, and ESPN The Magazine. Under his guidance, Ahmad Brooks blossomed into a finalist for the Butkus Award. In 2003, Brooks and Kai Parham earned Freshman All-America honors. Golden was responsible for recruiting Brooks, the USA Today National Defensive Player of the Year–the highest ranked recruit to ever attend U.Va. Golden signed the Virginia High School Player of the Year in both 2002 (Brooks) and 2004 (Olu Hall).
During his first two seasons atVirginia, Golden helped develop two-time All-ACC linebacker Angelo Crowell, who currently plays with the Buffalo Bills, and 2003 Hula Bowl participant Merrill Robertson. Following the 2001 season, Golden was an assistant coach for the Gray team in the 64th Annual Blue-Gray All-Star Football Classic.
Golden began his coaching career in 1993 as offensive coordinator at Red Bank (N.J.)CatholicHigh School. He then served as a graduate assistant under George Welsh atVirginiafrom 1994 to 1996, where he worked primarily with the linebackers and the kickoff and punting teams. He helped develop All- ACC linebackers James Farrior and Jamie Sharper, both of whom were chosen in the 1997 NFL draft. Farrior was a first-round pick (#8) by the New York Jets, while Sharper was a second-round selection (#34) by the Baltimore Ravens. Golden then coached the linebackers atBostonCollegefrom 1997 to 1999 under Tom O’Brien. While at BC, Golden coached All-Big East and NFL linebackers Frank Chamberlin (Tennessee Titans) and Erik Storz (Jacksonville Jaguars). The Eagles finished the 1999 regular season with an 8-3 record and a top-25 national ranking, while making their first postseason bowl appearance since 1994.
Golden was a three-year (1989-91) letterwinner and two-year starter at tight end forPennState, where he received the 1991 Ridge Riley Award, given annually to a player who displays excellence in scholarship, sportsmanship, friendship and leadership. As a junior in 1990, Golden played a key role inPennState’s nationally televised 24-21 upset of No. 1-ranked Notre Dame atSouth Bend.
His touchdown reception late in the fourth quarter tied the score at 21 asPennStaterallied from a 21-7 deficit. Golden captained the Nittany Lions his senior year and helped lead them to a 42-17 win overTennesseein the 1992 Fiesta Bowl. Following that victory,PennStatefinished with an 11-2 record and ranked third in the nation in the final 1991 AP poll.
After his tenure as a player inState College, Golden spent one season in the NFL with the New England Patriots.
Golden earned his undergraduate degree in pre-law fromPennStatein 1991 before receiving his master’s in sports psychology fromVirginiain December, 1996.
A 2004 inductee of the Jersey Shore Sports Hall of Fame, he is married to the former Kelly Hanna of Lock Haven, Pa.The couple has three children–son A.J. (6), and daughters Addison (4) and Grace (2).
GOLDEN AT A GLANCE
|Full Name||Alfred Golden Jr.|
|Hometown||Colts Neck, N.J.|
|1996||M.Ed. in Sports Psychology,UniversityofVirginia|
|1991||B.A. in Pre-Law,PennStateUniversity|
Honors as a Player
|Three-year letterman at tight end forPennState|
|1991 Ridge Riley Award recipient|
|Played key role in PSU’s defeat of No. 1-ranked Notre Dame in 1990|
|1993||Offensive Coordinator, Red Bank Catholic HS|