The University of Miami probably thought it had made a great plan to announce the extension of head coach Al Golden's contract. They did not count on his Hurricanes losing at home on Senior Day to a 14-point underdog, however.
Regardless, news that Golden will remain at the U through 2020 at least allowed Canes fans to rest easy knowing that the would-be architect of a Miami resurgence is at least reluctant to jump ship. With penalties for the Nevin Shapiro scandal surely coming from the NCAA, Golden's external job prospects were cause for alarm.
Golden kept saying he loves it in Miami, though, and parlayed himself into a four-year contract extension (he began serving a five-year contract in 2011). It is arguably the greatest achievement by a coach whose team finished 6-6.
Not that Miami is not getting something out of the extension. Golden's biggest value will come from the players he can convince to come to Miami while the school is about to get punished. He would have had a harder time convincing recruits to come to Miami if they doubted that Golden would be sticking around.
The Canes' freshman LB Denzel Perryman reflected that when he told the Sun Sentinel, "I was real concerned. Coach Golden was the reason I came here."
But for now, Golden appears to be firmly entrenched at Miami. Another school could always buy out his contract if it really wants him, but with eight years remaining on it, such a move would be hugely expensive.
It is not known what Golden pulls in, since Miami is a private school and thus not compelled to release payroll figures, but eight years of any deal is a lot of money to eat for a guy whose team lost four conference games this season.
Golden is saying all the right things regarding the deal. "I wanted to make a long-term commitment," he said Saturday. "Otherwise the speculation was going to continue and I don't need to be sitting here answering those questions. Golden is the best boyfriend the U's football program has ever had.
But that won't do him much good if he doesn't start winning (this being South Florida and all). Right now his biggest opponent is apathy (Friday's crowd made a Marlins game look like a Black Friday sale).
Another lackluster season in 2011 will make the fans forget why they were even worried he would leave. There are no honeymoons in Miami.