He left a stepping-stone job only to get crushed by the weight of expectations at his new one.
On Sunday all the "fire Al Golden" banner wavers finally got their wish as the Miami head coach was dismissed after the Hurricanes suffered the worst loss of their 90-year history, a 58-0 beatdown at the hands of No. 3 Clemson.
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"Coach Golden has led our program through some very difficult times and he has done so with class, integrity and a true desire to see our students succeed on the field, in the classroom and in the community," Miami AD Blake James said in a statement. "However, we have a proud tradition of excellence at Miami, not just in football but in all sports, and we want to compete for ACC and national championships. I simply believe that now is the time to bring the Hurricane Family together and rally behind our young men."
It was a mercy killing. With "fire Al Golden" banners becoming a weekly tradition and former Miami players beginning to blast the embattled head coach on Twitter, firing Golden now was the right thing to do.
While it may be hard to imagine today, it wasn't too long ago that Golden was the golden boy of college football. Before becoming a national punchline, Golden rescued the Temple football program from being a joke.
In 2006 Golden inherited an Owls team that had gone 0-11 the previous season and combined for only three wins the three years before. Yet somehow, Golden made all the right moves and by 2009 he led Temple to a 9-4 record and its first bowl appearance in 30 years.
The transformation sent Golden's stock skyrocketing, and in 2010 the Miami Hurricanes handed him the keys to their storied program.
Ironically, five years later Temple is the one competing for a conference title and a New Year's Day Bowl game. The No. 21 Owls are ranked for the first time since 1979 and have gone 7-0 for the first time in school history. Salt meet wounds.
In five seasons at Miami Golden produced a 32-25 record and led the Hurricanes to bowls games in 2013 and 2014. Not bad, but not good enough for the "U."