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A trip down Misery Lane: Who is Miami’s worst coach since the 2000 season?

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An in-depth look at the Hurricanes’ coaches since Butch Davis left for the NFL

Clemson v Miami
Former Miami Hurricanes coach Al Golden shakes hands with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney after the Tigers defeated the Hurricanes 58-0 at Hard Rock Stadium in October 2015. The game was Golden’s last as Miami’s head coach.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

It has been almost 19 years since Butch Davis left the University of Miami football program to take the Cleveland Browns job in January 2001.

Since then, Miami has had four different head football coaches all achieve varying levels of success, only to end up failing.

Miami’s fifth head coach since Davis’ departure, Manny Diaz, sits with a 2-2 record 13 of the way through his first season as Miami’s head coach.

As Miami enters another bye week with a bad taste in its mouth after a 17-12 victory over Central Michigan last Saturday, let’s take a look back at the details of the tenures of these five men.

Which Hurricane head coach was the worst during his time as Miami’s head coach? Keep that question in mind while you read and make sure you vote in the poll at the bottom of the article.

Larry Coker

Seasons as Hurricanes’ head coach: 6; 2001-2006

Record as Hurricanes’ head coach: 60-15 (20-1 in Big East; 14-10 in ACC)

Best game: The 2001 National Championship game. Coker led the Hurricanes to their fifth national championship with a 37-14 thrashing of Nebraska in the Rose Bowl. The Hurricanes led 34-0 at halftime and held the Cornhuskers and Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch nearly 200 yards beneath their season average.

Worst game: The infamous FIU brawl game. Miami beat FIU 35-0 on October 14, 2006 but made national news when it brawled with FIU after a made extra point in the third quarter. The brawl resulted in 13 Hurricane players being suspended and proved to many that Coker had lost control of the players in the program.

Why he isn’t Miami’s worst coach since 2001: Coker is the only coach on this list to win a national championship. He also had a 24-game winning streak to begin his Hurricane tenure and finished inside the top five of the AP Poll in each of his first three seasons at the helm.

Why he is Miami’s worst coach since 2001: If doing less with more irritates you as a fan, Larry Coker drove you up the wall. Once the players Butch Davis recruited began to exit the program, Miami’s success dropped off. According to 247Sports.com, Coker signed 13 5-star recruits in the 2001-2005 recruiting classes, yet Miami’s win totals never rose from the previous season under Coker. He was eventually fired after a 7-6 season in 2006.

Randy Shannon

Seasons as Hurricanes’ head coach: 4; 2007-2010

Record as Hurricanes’ head coach: 28-22 (16-16 in the ACC)

Best game: Miami’s 38-34 defeat of Florida State at Doak Campbell Stadium in 2009. The 2009 Hurricanes were the first team in nine years to open the season with games against four ranked teams and No.18 FSU was the opener. Miami won a back and forth game after getting a defensive stand in the end zone as time expired.

Worst game: Miami’s 48-0 loss to Virginia in the final home game in the Miami Orange Bowl in 2007. After all of the years of the proud tradition of playing college football in the Orange Bowl, Shannon and the Hurricanes closed it out with a stinker as Virginia held Miami to 189 yards of total offense and forced five turnovers in the shutout.

Why he isn’t Miami’s worst coach since 2001: Shannon defeated Florida State twice and won home games against No.16 Texas A&M, No.14 Georgia Tech and No.8 Oklahoma in his tenure as head coach. He also cleaned up the program off the field as Miami had the third-best academic-progress rate in the NCAA during Shannon’s time as head coach and only had one player arrested in his four years at the helm. This was greatly needed after the Coker era.

Why he is Miami’s worst coach since 2001: Shannon squandered Miami’s top-ranked recruiting class of 2008 by failing to properly develop many of the 32 players (three 5-stars, 13 4-stars and 15 3-stars according to 247Sports.com) who signed that year. That led to Miami backsliding during the 2010 season and having a lack of depth entering the 2011 season after Shannon was fired.

Al Golden

Seasons as Hurricanes’ head coach: 5*; 2011-2015 (*was terminated midway through the 2015 season)

Record as Hurricanes’ head coach: 32-25 (17-18 in the ACC)

Best game: Miami’s 2013 victory over Florida. The Hurricanes topped No.12 Florida 21-16 on their way to a 7-0 start in 2013. The win seemed elite at the time but that Gator team lost seven straight games to end the season and finished 4-8.

Worst game: Clemson’s 58-0 shellacking of Miami in 2015. The Tigers were on their way to the College Football Playoff and a National Championship game appearance and lowly Miami was in the way on October 24, 2015. The loss was Miami’s worst in the history of the program and led to Golden being fired and replaced on an interim basis by Larry Scott.

Why he isn’t Miami’s worst coach since 2001: Golden got hired just as NCAA sanctions hit the Miami program from previous Hurricanes’ involvement with rogue booster Nevin Shapiro and accepting impermissible benefits. This set the former Penn State tight end back in his first few years on the job and made it difficult to recruit high school players to Miami during this time.

Why he is Miami’s worst coach since 2001: Golden was 0-5 against Florida State, had an under .500 record in ACC play and definitely had the worst defensive units of anyone on this list during his tenure as head coach. Golden’s refusal to fire friend and Hurricanes defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio was a huge reason for his lack of success at Miami and the main reason Miami was so bad on defense during this time period.

Mark Richt

Seasons as Hurricanes’ head coach: 3, 2016-2018

Record as Hurricanes’ head coach: 26-13 (16-8 in the ACC)

Best game: Miami’s 41-8 victory over Notre Dame in 2017. The Fighting Irish came in ranked No.3 and were absolutely embarrassed at Hard Rock Stadium thanks to an amazing defensive effort and 237 rushing yards as a team by Miami. College Gameday was on campus at Miami that morning and this win announced Miami’s presence back on the national college football landscape.

Worst game: Miami’s 16-13 loss to Virginia in 2018. This was a tough choice but Virginia was chosen because Miami was 5-1 entering the game fresh off a come-from-behind victory over rival Florida State. The Hurricanes completely stalled on offense that night in Charlottesville and lost to a far less-talented Virginia team. That started a spiral in which Miami lost four straight ACC games.

Why he isn’t Miami’s worst coach since 2001: Richt won 23 of conference games while at Miami, a number only topped by Coker (thanks to his days in the Big East) on this list. He was 2-1 against Florida State and was instrumental in helping Miami to catch up to the rest of the college football world with its indoor practice facility.

Why he is Miami’s worst coach since 2001: Richt’s 2018 season was extremely disappointing. He was the primary play caller for a stagnant offense and his play calling caught the ire of fans and pundits from all over. The offense was too vanilla and Malik Rosier greatly regressed from 2017 to 2018.

Manny Diaz

Seasons as Hurricanes’ head coach: 1; 2019

Record as Hurricanes’ head coach: 2-2

Best game: Miami’s 63-0 victory over Bethune-Cookman on September 14. Diaz certainly has not had the amount of opportunities that his predecessors have had to have great moments as Miami’s head coach but this is really the only positive game of Diaz’s four thus far. The Hurricanes dominated all facets of the game against the FCS opponent and compiled 590 yards of total offense and allowed just 137 to Bethune-Cookman.

Worst game: Miami’s 28-25 loss to North Carolina on September 7. While it is tempting to put Miami’s 17-12 victory over Central Michigan here, the loss to North Carolina is far more hurtful than a close win over the MAC school. Miami came out completely flat against the Tar Heels and fell behind 17-3 before taking a 25-20 lead late in the fourth quarter. The Hurricane defense then allowed UNC to convert a 4th-and-17 to keep the game-winning drive alive and eventually lost after Bubba Baxa missed a game-tying 47-yard field goal with under 10 seconds to play. North Carolina has since lost back-to-back games to Wake Forest and Appalachian State.

Why he isn’t Miami’s worst coach since 2001: The jury is still out on Diaz. He can’t be Miami’s worst coach since 2001 because he has only been given four games to prove himself with Mark Richt’s players.

Why he is Miami’s worst coach since 2001: Miami has looked unprepared and just flat out bewildered far too many times this season with the amount of talent the Hurricanes have on both sides of the ball. The team has not put together a complete game against an FBS opponent and “The New Miami” seems to look very similar to previous installments of the team thus far.

Poll

Who is Miami’s worst coach since the 2001 National Championship?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Larry Coker
    (43 votes)
  • 18%
    Randy Shannon
    (106 votes)
  • 68%
    Al Golden
    (388 votes)
  • 1%
    Mark Richt
    (10 votes)
  • 3%
    Manny Diaz
    (20 votes)
567 votes total Vote Now