Reporting Tim Kephart
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While University of Miami fans are already focused on week 2’s matchup with the Florida Gators, head coach Al Golden is trying to keep his team focused on Florida Atlantic and away from the looming NCAA announcement.
UM has been waiting 71 days for the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions to finally issue a ruling on the investigation of allegations of wrongdoing made by disgraced and imprisoned former Hurricanes booster Nevin Shapiro.
The investigation has gone on for more than two years and while the official timetable for notifications by the COI will hit its limit next week, there’s no word on when/if the NCAA will be issuing a ruling on the UM charges.
It’s nothing new for Coach Golden. He arrived at UM right as the Shapiro allegations landed on the front doorstep of UM. Ever since, he’s had to deal with suspensions, dismissals, and a two-year self-imposed postseason ban.
Yet, he still has assembled a team that is poised to make a serious run at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship.
“I hope our guys are focused on just one thing – that’s Florida Atlantic and getting better today,” Golden told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I feel like we came over here with a purpose.”
Golden also said he has complete confidence in the school’s defense of its actions and sanctions once the Shapiro allegations were made public.
“They (the players) have trust and faith in [UM] president [Donna] Shalala and our athletics director and our legal counsel that we’ve done everything we can do at this stage,” Golden told the Sun-Sentinel.
Building a program is nothing new for Golden. In his previous job at Temple, he built an Owls program that went 0-11 the year before he arrived to taking the school to its first bowl game in 30 years in 2009.
Golden also built up the school’s Academic Progress Rating, or APR, to a higher level, which Golden previously said was the greatest turnaround in the NCAA’s APR era, according to ESPN.com.
Now, Golden has built a UM program that went 7-6 last year into a team that is poised to sneak onto the national stage in a hurry if it can upset the Gators. UM has the talent, thanks to Golden’s recruiting, namely an offense that can compete with the best in the ACC.
If Golden can lead the Canes to a berth in the ACC Championship game, and more, in his third year at UM, all while NCAA investigations have hovered over the school during his entire tenure, it might be the best coaching job in the history of the school.