We’re now inside two months of Hurricanes Football starting, with the home opener against Bethune-Cookman just 59 days away. The most notable Hurricane to ever don the number 59 has a storied history and slightly complicated legacy with Miami, repping the ‘Canes as both a player and coach, in good times and bad. He needs no further introduction, he is...
Beginning with his playing days in 1979, Art Kehoe was a mainstay in the University of Miami football program for decades. After transferring from Laney Junior College to play for Howard Schnellenberger at Miami, Kehoe started at guard in 1979 and 1980, the latter of which he was a team captain and helped lead Miami to a program-defining-at-the-time victory over Virginia Tech in the Peach Bowl. Kehoe’s team in 1980 laid the foundation for the dominance that would follow and, incredibly, he was around for all five national titles as a coach.
He quickly began his coaching career as a graduate assistant in 1981 and rose up the ranks to become the longtime offensive line coach for the Hurricanes, surviving multiple coaching changes and leading some of the most dominant offensive lines in college football history. He developed 17 future NFL players, including five First-Team All-Americans: Leon Searcy, KC Jones, Richard Mercier, Joaquin Gonzalez and Bryant McKinnie. At his peak, Kehoe’s offensive lines gave up just five sacks in the 2000 and 2001 seasons combined, culminating in the program’s fifth national title in the 2002 Rose Bowl.
Kehoe was enshrined in the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame shortly after also in 2002, ensuring his deserved place in UM lore. Unfortunately, after the peak of the early 2000s, the performance of Kehoe’s offensive lines steadily declined as the program as a whole drifted into mediocrity. His coaching style unfortunately became outdated and he was not retained by Mark Richt when he assembled his staff. UM announced his dismissal on January 3, 2016.
Still, Kehoe is and should be remembered by most ‘Canes fans for his incredible legacy that proceeded his unfortunately belated end. He’s the only coach to have all five rings and he is as responsible as anyone for building UM football into the powerhouse we can only hope it might become again one day. He’s certainly earned his spot in the UM Sports Hall of Fame and he is the best ‘Cane to ever wear number 59.