In the past 20 years, Miami has gotten exactly 1 of it's 4 head coaching hires right (that was hiring Butch Davis in 1995 for those wondering). The last 3 hires, Larry Coker, Randy Shannon, and Al Golden, have all fallen short of the mark for performance.
Outside of Coker's first 1 years which featured the best college football team ever, the 2001 Miami Hurricanes, and the next year's team was outright ROBBED of their rightly earned National Championship by Terry Porter's phantom pass interference flag, the 3 post-Davis coaches have led Miami to an 81-57 record. That's far from elite. And, with exactly ZERO seasons ending with fewer than 4 losses since 2006, it's been a consistently "blah" existence for Miami in recent years.
That's why this hire, picking the next coach to lead the Miami Hurricanes, is a move that AD Blake James absolutely HAS TO get right.
We have to be real about what the Miami job is: it's a very good job that offers unique possibilities to recruit and win (and win BIG if the coach is good) in a hurry. It's a job that, while tough because of budgetary restrictions and the lack of an on-campus stadium, can propel a good coach, a winning coach, to the job of their choosing.
The Miami coaching job is a "5 and out" job. For many years, that "5 and out" meant that the Hurricanes' coach, after winning big, left for Professional Football. Howard Schnellenberger left for the USFL after 5 years and a National Championship. Jimmy Johnson left for the Dallas Cowboys after 5 years and a National Championship (and it could/should have been 2 Championships). Dennis Erickson left for the Seattle Seahawks after 6 years and 2 National Championships. Butch Davis left after 6 years and a #2 ranking in his last year, and laid the infrastructural and recruiting foundation for Coker to win the 2001 National Championship in the year after his departure.
All of those coaches were able to win big at Miami because they were the right fit at the right time. They were hired to do a job, and did it well. For various reasons, all those coaches were able to win, and win big at Miami. And, the next coach has that same ability...
If we get this hire right.
Miami is at a crossroads. Coming off the worst loss in the storied 90 year History of the Hurricanes Football program, and at the end of a decade of irrelevance, there is no margin for error here. Blake James is faced with his toughest task to date, selecting and securing the services of a coach who can take the program, steadied by Golden through tumultuous times, and return it to being a winning program, a factor in the college football world...return it to being THE U.
If Miami does what it's done with recent hires, pick the cheap or easy option in an effort to save money or not "push the envelope", the Canes run the risk of turning into Kentucky or Cal. Those are decent programs, but nobody is putting them in a championship conversation, that's for sure.
If Miami makes a good hire, then days like Saturday, losses like that one, or the one to Virginia to close the Orange Bowl (48-0 if you forgot) won't happen again.
In short, the entire future trajectory of the Miami Hurricanes Football Program rests on who is hired to be the next head coach.
And, if we aspire to greatness, if we want to have any hope of being a team that challenges for or wins ANY championship (Coastal Division, ACC, National), then there can be no missteps here.
Athletic Director Blake James HAS TO get this hire right.
Or the only way we'll be able to see the Miami Hurricanes win a championship will be in our memories.