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The Ultimate Miami Hurricanes Coaching Staff: Special Teams, Recruiting Coordinator, Head Coach

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Howard Schnellenberger, Al Golden, and Jimmy Johnson Round Out My Ultimate Coaching Staff

Clemson v Miami Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Thank you for reading my series on the ultimate Miami Hurricanes football coaching staff. I covered the offense in part one.

In part two, I picked my dream defensive staff.

Special Teams Coach - Al Golden

Let’s start off with this decree: Al Golden was a terrible head coach. The trustees decision to hire Golden in the first place begs a steadfast WHY? But as a special teams coach and ace recruiter in the Northeastern part of the United States, Golden is indeed Golden. He rose to prominence as Al Groh’s defensive coordinator at Virginia, head coached at Miami and Temple, and currently coaches linebackers for the Detroit Lions. At Miami, Golden mentored a series of steady kickers: Dalton Botts, Pat O’Donnell, Justin Vogel, and Michael Badgely. Place kickers Matt Goudis and Jake Wieclaw also exceeded expectations because of Golden’s coaching. In an era at Miami where countless players failed to meet low-end expectations, our special teams consistently excelled. Golden also coached up a slew of solid kick returners, such as Lamar Miller, Travis Benjamin, Philip Dorsett, and Stacy Coley. Will Golden head coach again? I don’t envision that happening. He is a more than adequate assistant coach and the Lions are lucky to have him.

Recruiting Coordinator - Howard Schnellenberger

Butch Davis came a very close second to landing the recruiting coordinator position. After all, Butch essentially recruited the entire 2001 championship team during a period of NCAA violations and heart wrenching mediocrity. But Howard Schnellenberger’s unique emphasis on recruiting the State of Miami planted the seed for Miami’s later successes. The State of Miami is a term coined by Coach Schnellenberger to emphasize the importance of recruiting local standouts. Head coaches who’ve excelled at Miami in the past 30 years often cite his approach to recruiting. Fans may not agree as to who is the best quarterback on our current roster or whether we can compete against a Clemson or Alabama. Everyone, from common fans to die-hard beat writers, agree that Miami should be recruiting the State of Miami first because those homegrown players are talented enough to sustain a football team’s long term success.

Head Coach - Jimmy Johnson

Jimmy Johnson arrived at the U in 1984 towing beautifully stable hair and an average 29 and 25 record as head coach of Oklahoma State. After a five loss season his initial year at Miami, Coach Johnson would lose four total games the next four years. Johnson won a national championship in 1987 and back-to-back Super Bowls wins for the Cowboys. His coaching accomplishments certified our program as a force in college football. Could Dennis Erickson lead Miami to two national championships without the foundation set forth by Coach Jimmy? Would Butch Davis recruit so well in the late 90’s without each prospect buying into the swagger Coach Jimmy helped to create? Jimmy Johnson is the best head coach Miami ever hired. No discussion.

I did not “hire” a lot of former coaches who deserve recognition. Manny Diaz, Greg Schiano, Mark Stoops, Mario Cristobal, Jeff Stoutland, Mark Whipple, Tommy Tuberville, John Lovett, Bill Young. Countless former assistant coaches at Miami went on to have long, prestigious careers. We’d need a 50 million dollar per year coaching budget to make these dream hires, but in fantasy land all is possible.