Entering his third season as the University of Miami football coach, Al Golden was considerably less tense and more laid-back Monday during the final day of the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff.
Last year he sat at the same Grandover Resort, staunchly defending his character after being bombarded with then-new NCAA-related reports about his staff in the Nevin Shapiro/UM case. On the same day, he learned of the blockbuster NCAA sanctions against his alma mater, Penn State.
On Monday, acknowledging that NCAA closure is at hand, Golden spoke for more than an hour on a variety of subjects. But most reporters — and there were plenty of them — wanted to know about the case and, as Golden described it, the “turbulent time.”
“I’m proud of our coaches, and I’m proud of our kids that have basically looked that in the eye and didn’t flinch,” Golden said. “We’ve had kids come and go, but we have not had one kid walk into my office with his family and say, ‘I’m leaving because I don’t know what the future is with the NCAA. It’s too tenuous. I want out.’
“And that’s a testament to those young kids and the commitment they’ve made to each other, and how special it is to be a Miami Hurricane.”
Golden said he hopes Miami will learn of its sanctions in the next couple of weeks, though he said he really has no idea.