Published December 14, 2010
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Miami coach Al Golden was to be picked up for his first day in the Hurricanes football office at 8:15 a.m.
He was ready at 8:14.
And that might have been the only unscheduled minute of his first full day with the Hurricanes.
Golden woke up Sunday as Temple's football coach; when his day started Tuesday, his wife was looking for a new South Florida home, he was trying to figure out which of his new keys fit into what lock, and hammering out final details of his five-year contract with the Hurricanes that could be worth up to $2 million annually if certain incentives are reached.
"I'm here now and I'm ready," Golden told The Associated Press in a rare quiet moment in his new office, where the sounds of football players clanging iron in the weight room below could be clearly heard. "But there's a million things that have to be done."
There were some major things on that list. Some not-so-major ones, too.
Golden is living in a Miami dormitory for now, and his parking spot was unfilled Tuesday — a car provided by the university will be coming soon. In his office, a few shirts were strewn over one chair, his suit jacket over another at the end of the long conference table by windows overlooking the practice fields.
And by the door, a new carry-on suitcase and laptop bag, both with his name, sat with the tags still attached.
"There's so much going on, a lot going on," Golden said.
He did a few interviews, met with athletic and academic staff, and got a briefing from Corey Bell, the team's director of football operations, about where certain things stand. There were some little details — getting his wife directions to the bookstore so she could pick up some Miami gear for their kids — to tend to, along with big ones, like a long list of human-resources requirements.
"A lot of what's going on is being driven by the sensitivity of the recruiting calendar," Golden said in the morning. "There's kids that we have to call and go see. But I'm not even hired yet. So we have to formalize that."
By the afternoon, it was formalized, signed and sealed. Golden was cleared to recruit as a representative of the university.
With recruiting having been largely paused during the transition to Golden, there was no time to waste.
Outside the wooden doors leading to his office, a steady stream of well-wishers approached, many of them turning away after hearing that Golden was in one of his many meetings. Kicker Matt Bosher, whose time with the Hurricanes will end with the Sun Bowl against Notre Dame on Dec. 31, was one of the visitors who simply decided to come back later.
"Just wanted to introduce myself," Bosher said. "It can wait."
Even athletic director Kirby Hocutt was waiting outside for a while. A technician — summoned to get the Internet working in the office — was whisked right inside.
And immediately outside the double doors, Myrna Schneider, who has been a secretary for Miami coaches since the Lou Saban era in the late 1970s, only looked up from the four piles of mail on her desk to answer the phone.
"Coach Golden's office," was her typical greeting.
Schneider is as much a part of Miami's proud football history as anyone, a confidant for Saban to Howard Schnellenberger to Randy Shannon and every coach in between. After four years of saying "Coach Shannon's office," she broke that habit quickly, just as she had after the seven other coaching changes in her tenure.
"I almost slipped up," Schneider acknowledged. "Once."
Schneider took a lot of messages. A few callers caught Golden in a moment when he could talk, including Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland. Their conversation lasted a whole minute, which was lengthy on this day.
A recruiting meeting with Miami's current staff — Golden's staff, for now, anyway — was set for the afternoon, and the Hurricanes' new coach was set to make calls to players for much of the remainder of the day. Golden also made some calls about some potential hires for what will be his staff in 2011, and was briefed on plans for a recruiting weekend starting Friday.
"I brought three bags on the plane and have got everything I need for now," Golden said. "Hopefully my wife will find us a place to live here in the next day or two. But I'm here. And I'm excited."
Part of his campaigning for the Miami job included him creating a 300-page book he calls "Deserve Victory," with one word written in green, the other in orange — Hurricane colors.
It's his own how-to manual. Nothing in that book prepared him for the pace of Tuesday in his office.
"It's a busy time," Golden said. "This is go time for us."