With four weeks left in the season, and the NCAA investigation into UM’s relationship with former booster Nevin Shapiro expected to linger for several months, the fear by Hurricanes fans that football coach Al Golden will depart prematurely grows daily.
Golden did not want to talk about his contract or a report Tuesday quoting his agent saying there had been “overtures made” by UM about redrawing his five-year deal. But that agent, Brett Senior, told The Miami Herald that Golden will honor his contract and is determined to bring a national championship back to Miami.
“Al is not going anywhere, OK?” said Senior, a close friend of Golden’s who has been his agent since Golden’s last season at Penn State in 1991. “He is so committed. All he talks to me about is how great the players are and how much he loves them. He loves his home here. His family loves it here.
“He’s got a five-year contract. He’s there to honor the contract. He’s the real thing.”
Later Tuesday, UM athletic director Shawn Eichorst addressed the media for the first time since the Shapiro scandal broke in August.
“He and I are in this for the long haul,” Eichorst said of Golden. Eichorst would not elaborate about the NCAA investigation, Golden’s contract or whether the university would self-impose a bowl ban this season.
“I think the most important thing in any one of these processes is not to rush to judgment and make sure you have all the facts,” Eichorst said, when asked how UM would decide whether to self impose penalties. “Once we collectively gather all of the facts and have an understanding where we are then we can start making some of those decisions.”
Golden was broadsided by the UM scandal after Yahoo! Sports reported in mid-August about convicted Ponzi-schemer Shapiro and the impermissible benefits he doled out to dozens of UM players from 2002 through 2010. Golden said UM never warned him about the NCAA investigation when he was hired in December.
Regarding Golden’s contract, CBSSports.com reported Tuesday that Senior said “we’ve got options available to us,” when the reporter asked about “an escape clause in the current deal.”
Senior would not discuss any details about Golden’s contract, and said he was talking “generically” about the subject.
“I said sometimes universities address this type of situation in terms of making sure a coach has opportunities to implement his program through some negative situations,” Senior said. “Sometimes they’ll extend contracts in situations like that. But that’s a hypothetical.
“We’re having no discussions with Miami regarding anything about his contract. I don’t know whether anybody has reached out to Al or not.”
When Golden was asked during his weekly news conference about the reported contract-related “overtures,” he said: “Number one, I have to talk to my agent. I really don’t want to get into that right now. I just want to focus on Duke. … We have our hands full with what these guys present us on offense, defense and special teams. If you want to say I’m side-swiping it, I am. I don’t want to talk about it. I want to talk about Duke and our football team.”
Senior said Golden is “singularly focused.”
“All he talks to me about is how great the kids are,” Senior said. “He’s zoned-in. He’s hunkered down. Al said the administration has been great and they’ve said, ‘We’re here to support you and we want to help you in any way we can.’
“This was his destination job and nothing has changed. He determined to make it work.”
The agent did say, however, that it was “unsettling to say the least that he [Golden] was not informed” about the NCAA investigation before he was hired.
“In my opinion, I have to question the professionalism of that,” Senior said. “You would think something of that significance would have been known by more than one person.
“We don’t know what’s going on with the NCAA. We have no idea. And I don’t think the university knows. All I know is they love him, they told him they’re committed to him and they will do whatever it takes to support him through this because it wasn’t his making. I have to believe they see what this guy is all about.”
UM Trustee Paul DiMare, who chairs the UM athletic advisory committee and was integral in the hiring of Golden, said Tuesday he was thrilled with the job Golden was doing and “would love to see him stay on for as long as we can keep him.”
“He’s a Bear Bryant type of guy,” Paul DiMare said. “We need some continuity. As far as I’m concerned, he’s our guy.”
DiMare wouldn’t talk about contract details, but said he wasn’t worried about the coach departing in light of possible NCAA sanctions.
“Knowing the history of most coaches, I’d worry,” DiMare said. “Knowing the history of this person and his character, I don’t worry about it. You can never know what’s going to happen in the future, but I think he has handled himself better than any coach I’ve ever seen, with little fanfare.
“You couldn’t deal with a better person.”
Source: The Miami Herald