Back on March 17th of 2018 I wrote a piece titled “The Decline of Miami Hurricanes Men’s Athletics.” I was reeling coming off of a three-loss streak to end the 2017 football season, a first-round out in the March Madness tournament and the baseball program on their way to being shutout of the post-season.
Blake James, Miami’s athletic director, inherited Jim Morris as lead of the baseball program, Al Golden over football and Jim Larrañaga over basketball. Larrañaga was was hired by Shawn Eichorst who left Miami for Nebraska. Jim Morris had been hired by Paul Dee in 1994 and Blake James allowed Morris to name long-time ‘Canes assistant Gino DiMare the coach-in-waiting.
The James Legacy
Larrañaga has legitimized Miami basketball and his replacement hire will be very telling, if James is even here to make that decision. His lazy acceptance of Gino DiMare was uninspired. However, he also brought in Mark Richt and I, for one, was happy. Richt’s name had cache to not only raise over $30 million towards an IPF but the man donated $1 million of his own money. Richt meant well and James did the right thing in hiring him to take over.
Richt once again has done the right thing by stepping away from a game that’s left him behind but not it’s James’ time to make a tough decision. James needs to make a big time hire to get Miami Hurricanes football back to where it needs to be- challenging for the ACC Championship every season.
Potential Head Coaches
Big names are already being floated from the surprising in Rex Ryan to the expected in Butch Davis and Lane Kiffin, and Jon Gruden isn’t a rumor because he’s already ruining an historic franchise in Oakland-turned-Las Vegas. James has to hire someone that is still potential but really close to being a Power 5 major hire. Think what the Florida Gators did with Urban Meyer out of Utah.
If Butch Davis was the answer he would’ve gotten a bigger job than FIU when he decided to leave the studio to coach again. If Lane Kiffin was the answer, well then Mike Leach would’ve been the answer the past two coaching vacancies and he’s done a lot less strange behaviors than Mr. Leach. Mario Cristobal would be great to interview, however, he allegedly has an eight figure buyout with the Oregon Ducks.
Blake James knows this is his make or break hire regarding his resume and legacy. This hire will define him as the athletic director at the University of Miami. I for sure hope he interviews names like Neal Brown (Troy), Mike Norvell (Memphis), Dino Babers (Syracuse), and Matt Campbell (Iowa State) rather than Greg Schiano, Butch Davis and Lane Kiffin. Think upside; think dealing with the media and administration; think master of acquisition, development and deployment.
I’m not interested in ties to South Florida or the University of Miami. Obviously Miami-Dade at the high school level and the University of Miami football program need new blood with new ideas in their football coaching ranks.