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Media column: How the Al Golden story was handled; More local radio changes; NFL, BCS


In sports writing, the toy department of the media industry, there’s no story that consistently presents more landmines than a coaching search.

The people involved often do not like to speak on the record for assorted reasons. Some candidates have jobs elsewhere and don’t want their interest in another position to be known. Universities traditionally like to conduct these searches under a cloak of secrecy.

So journalists covering coaching searches need to rely on anonymous sources, some who prove to be accurate, some far less so. That happened again locally in the past week when Al Golden flirted with Penn State. And as usual, that led to overzealous reporting and some serious spinning.

Three reporters indicated that Golden was taking the Penn State job: WINZ-940’s Andy Slater, Charlotte radio host Mark James (a UM alum and the artist formerly known as Mark Benarzyk) and Gary Ferman, the publisher of a popular Hurricanes website, Canesport.com.

Ferman couched his report somewhat, unlike Slater and James, and said that Golden was likely taking the job, barring something crazy, while also reporting that Penn State and Golden had reached an “agreement in principle.”

What’s interesting is the difference in how they handled the story after UM's Blake James said Golden was staying, and after Golden announced he wasn't a candidate for any job. (CBS and ESPN reported  Vanderbilt's James Franklin will get the job.)

Slater, who posted on Twitter last weekend that Golden would inform the team Saturday he was taking the Penn State job, immediately held himself accountable.

“Zero excuse on my end for my tweets yesterday on Golden,” he told his 12,000 followers. “Trusted UM source had been 100 percent but was obviously wrong here. My apologies…. Heat is understood. Source was wrong, I passed it along. Inexcusable.”

It was inauspicious timing for Slater, a former WMEN-640 personality who on Monday began his new gig as the 2-5 p.m. host on WINZ.

James also took responsibility, tweeting: “For the record, I was WRONG about Golden going to Penn State. #Lesson learned.”

Conversely, Ferman defended his story and insisted that Golden had an agreement in principle, though a Penn State beat writer and others insisted an offer was never made before, during or after his Saturday meeting with Penn State officials. Ferman said Golden was offered the job but pulled out because Penn State did not deliver a written contract by 4 p.m. Sunday.

Is it possible that ultimatum could have happened, as Ferman reported? Yes, it's possible. But it also would seem illogical to think Penn State would offer the job to anyone well before a scheduled Sunday interview with Franklin.

“Everything that has been reported re: Golden and Penn State was accurate,” Ferman wrote on his web site. “These things happen in coaching searches all the time….The head coach just went to the brink with Penn State. We covered it every step of the way and annihilated every media outlet.”

Ferman said by phone: “We have an obligation to the people who subscribe to our web site to report all stories as aggressively as possible…. We had four confirmations that he had an agreement in principle.”

Regrets? Ferman said he has none.

“We knew the risks of running with it to the degree that we did, but we got a fourth and the strongest confirmation on Saturday night, and I decided at 8 a.m. Sunday to go with the story,” he said. “We learned Golden had given Penn State an ultimatum that he had to have a signed contract immediately. There was no doubt in our mind that Al would be at a press conference Monday at Penn State based on information we were receiving from several sources.”

The perception is that pay sites will take more chances, even at risk of being wrong, to try to entice potential subscribers. Ferman said he would never do that.

“I’m 52, started at The Miami Herald at 16, have 36 years of experience as a reporter,” he said. “I would never compromise the basic principles of reporting. Coaching stories are the most difficult to cover because the information changes so quickly.”

Bruce Garrison, who has taught journalism at UM since 1981, said pay sites “have to deliver something to their subscribers” but isn’t necessarily sure if that makes them more likely to take risks.

In general, “there is a lot of competition coming today from a lot of different directions,” Garrison said. “That creates pressure to perform to show your editors you know what’s going on. Some news organizations want that information and are willing to take a risk getting it right.

“What bothers me is people come out with speculation. I come from a generation when you rarely did that. You know you had it right or you don’t report it. The web has changed a lot of the journalism we do for good or for bad…. All we have is our credibility as journalists. If we are wrong, that credibility suffers.”

One decision that all journalists face in this Twitter age, including one I wrestled with in the past week: Using Slater’s tweet as an example, should reporters tweet that Slater has reported that Golden is leaving, while also making it clear that the writer of the tweet is not confirming the story?

“We’ve been doing that, but it’s risky to do that,” Garrison said. “If you want to pass along information, you make a judgment on whether the guy has had a track record of getting it right.”

Ferman has been criticized on local radio and elsewhere for his report three years ago that Jon Gruden was poised to become UM’s football coach.

Meanwhile, the most interesting journalism story regarding a coaching search this week had nothing to do with UM.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that Mike Munchak interviewed for the Penn State job Sunday, Munchak then told The Tennessean that he had not, and Mortensen then tweeted that he checked again and Munchak “absolutely” did interview that day.


### Former 790/104.3 The Ticket morning personality Marc Hochman, who will take over the 3-7 p.m. slot on WQAM-560 beginning April 1, has strong interest in hiring Zach Krantz as his co-host.

Krantz's voice has been heard a lot over the years as Joe Rose’s radio producer. Hochman also wants to hire The Ticket’s Joy Taylor.

### Saturday night’s Colts-Patriots playoff game will be the finale for CBS’ Dan Dierdorf, who is retiring after 30 years in broadcasting, including the past 15 with CBS.

“I’m a little melancholy,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to clutter the end of the game with anything about me. That would make me uncomfortable. Physically, it’s hard for me to travel 20 times a year. I’ve got to find something to do.”

### It’s highly unusual for a team-employed announcer to advocate the firing of that team’s general manager. So it’s notable that Rose, the co-analyst on WINZ-940’s Dolphins radio broadcasts, took that position on Jeff Ireland before his departure.

Asked about changes in the organization, Rose said on NBC 6: “It’s got to start with the general manager. Try something different.”

Some announcers have the popularity and job security to be able to criticize the team’s decision-makers, with Rose and the late, great Jim Mandich among them.

### Fox continues to tinker with production of the divisional playoff game not handled by Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. After awarding the announcing assignment to Kenny Albert, Darryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa for many years, Fox gave it to Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick last year and will try Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch this year (on Saints-Seahawks).

### ESPNews’ coach’s film room production of the BCS championship game -- featuring Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, Boston College’s Steve Addazio, Pittsburgh’s Paul Chryst and others -- was the highlight of the network’s Megacast, with the coaches offering dead-on insight (including predicting an FSU fake punt) and delivering it in a way far more conversational than a traditional game broadcast.

Less appealing was ESPN2’s version; viewers essentially eavesdropped on an ESPN party in which analysts and celebrities spoke over each other, including actress Cheryl Hines, who asked if the person who snaps the ball to the quarterback is called the snapper, then admitted, "I could have Googled it before I got here."

On both ESPNews and ESPN2, more of the screen should have been allotted to the live game feed.

### Please see the last post, updated several times in the past 36 hours, for on-field UM and Dolphins news. By the way, early enrollee Braxton Berrios -- considered the best receiver in this UM recruiting class -- tweeted this afternoon that he has a torn ACL.... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz       


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just saying

So Nigel Bethel doesn't like the defensive scheme at Miami so he flips to that defensive powerhouse Texas Tech? Ok I get it! And he leaves Miami for that scintillating city Lubbock Texas? Yeah I can see that too! LOL

Posted by: AnonymousCane | 01/10/2014 at 05:02 PM

Texas Tech has finished ranked higher than the Canes the last 3 years and won their Bowl game. So if we're a "powerhouse" program, what would that make TT ?

Plain and simple, whether we agree to it of not, that's where we are at Nationally in reality. Try to think outside your Miami bubble. These kids that are making decisions on where to commit today were in training diapers 14 years ago when we last won a National Championship.

Perspective ?

A U Fan is a U Fan ... DelUsional.

Gary Ferman is a complete F'ING IDIOT and ALL Delusional typical Cane.

Lt. Lois Einhorn

My two cents:

Golden has been brought up for coaching searches several times in the past and each time he has IMMEDIATELY and of his own accord declared that he WILL NOT take those jobs.

This is important, HOURS are important, every hour you waste you're making recruits wonder about your commitment.

So to me, the fact that Golden didn't make a statement until UM forced him to 48 hours after the report shows that PSU did fly down to interview him Saturday. And the statement he released further proved it, he went well out of his way to avoid saying he had interviewed with PSU and would definitely be staying at Miami this year. Those two things were what people wanted to hear and he didn't say either. He said he's 'not a candidate' and 'expects to be' in Miami.

He lost his best recruit and the one player who could make his BFF's crappy defensive scheme work over this.

So he interviewed, no question. And rightly so, that's his dream job and he should pursue it. And I don't even blame him for being evasive with the media, at the end of the day that's what he needed to do to try to salvage his recruiting class if he didn't get the job.

But he waited WAAAAAY too long after it became clear Franklin was PSU's first choice - he sacrificed this year's class on the outside chance something contract-related would fall through with Franklin.

IMO he should have made the proper statements (I WILL be UM's coach this year) immediately after PSU honed in on Franklin.

His recruiting class is ruined.

Lt. Lois Einhorn

Posted by: just saying | 01/10/2014 at 05:22 PM

If you'll re-read the post you copied you'll see the poster sarcastically called Texas Tech a "powerhouse", not Miami.

I agree with his point, Lubbock is a major downgrade in terms of lifestyle and Texas Tech's defense is not better than Miami's, we finished ahead of them in total defense.


Does Golden even want to be here at this point? I'm beginning to question everything he has said about the Miami program. Sounds like he was clearly shopping himself around...and now the recruiting has suddenly gone downhill. What is going on?

Johnny C.

Golden only has himself to blame for the demise of this recruiting class. That and his undying support of his DC BFF.

Start strong ... Finish... Seems to be a trend.


Do we as people answer to every beck and call. How as an athlete that makes numerous visits and shuffle the hat game can u expect some one not to look for better opportunities while your our visiting schools and flirting with other temptations. C'mon people this game is more of a business than ever now a days. If you wanted to be a cane. It wouldn't matter who was in here coaching. You'd be here cause thats where you wanna be. These kids are so jacked on NFL paychecks that they are missing the biggest paycheck of all. A college degree. If they think the league and collage has their best interest their sadly mistaken. They must squeeze every ounce out of whatever college they attend. Without that education what are the falling back on after a 1st year injury or flat out don't cut it.


Who listens to andy slater??? Saw his head rolling down the bowling alley last week. gutterball.


Bethel is going to Texas Tech because the DB coach called him every day to see how he was doing.
"He showed he cared for me".

One should pick a College, not a coach. Coaches come and go.
Hopefully he is picking TT for the right reasons, not to please someone else who showed interest in him.


A lot of time before signing day.
We will lose a few, and gain a few before then.


Just Saying.....Nowhere in my comments about Nigel Bethel flipping to Texas Tech did I infer or state that Miami was a defensive powerhouse. Read and comprehend please and no matter where Texas Tech finished defensively they have not been known for defense in the past decade at the least. They give up lots of yards and points, that's a fact that can't be refuted if you tried.

Again perspective,(your word) never indicated that Miami was a powerhouse of defense. Just seems that there is no perspective, your words, about Bethel's concern about the defensive play at Miami and chooses that powerhouse of defense played at Texas Tech.

just saying....lol.


Bethel doesnt want to compete. I bet the DB depth chart is much less at Tech, as he said he wanted a ""College atmosphere""" .. well why not UF or FSU? Because their DB's are loaded 3 deep. We have alot of young DBs,and he doesnt want to compete. GOOD RIDDANCE

Guys, getting worked up over a couple of 17 year old kids not coming to the U aint worth it. Al still will put together a top 10 class, and now he can offer those to other 3-4 or 5 star kids that might come to the U now.

Valentine wants a sitdown, we have Yearby 1 of the best Rbs in the nation behind Duke now even with Powell leaving, and we have 4-5 slots still that I am sure we will get some surprises late. Its a good class, and with sanctions over, you will see a strong finish.

Bethel called out UM, How do you do that? We have no talent is why the D #s are bad. Having Chick and Perryman back is what helps NOT THROW young guns into the fire, and they can learn from 2 future NFL Players now. D should be alot better with those 2 back, especially Denzel


Bethel chose Texas Tech because the coach "showed he cared for me." Too many entitled athletes in Miami and south Florida. These kids should be looking for a good education and coaching instead of a good babysitter! Just my perspective.

Not saying TT doesn't offer a good education, just so folks know, (for those who don't comprehend what you read)

Reality Bites

Why the sour grapes canefan. These are kids who change their mind constantly. What is for sure is that UM's defense stinks now, stunk last year, and the one before and will probably stink next year too. As long as you employ No D Nofrio as DC that is what you can expect. The dude has been consistent in how bad he is for his UM tenure. With Golden Tongue firmly in love with him there is no improvement in sight. What's a smart defensive recruit to do but go somewhere that has a competent DC. Don't blame the kids, look in the mirror fool.

Georgia Cane

Bethel, can you say "tumble weed". He's not a big loss anyway at 5-9". Golden blew it! He was interested in the Pstate job and now Everyone knows he was. This blonder will cost him. He clearly doesn't have Shalala blessings. His recruiting class is running away from UM just like Golden wanted to.

Steve B

Al Golden took Virginia's defense when he was a coordinator and steadily improved it going from 109 to 17th in the country in 4 years. His team averaged over 30 sacks a year the last 2 years.
It was the 3-4 defense . The issue was he had a potent defensive line which to date we have not. He deserves a chance to recruit adequate defensive talent over the next 2 years and see if he can coach them to improvement.
There are lot of fickle fans out there who want instant success regardless of circumstance. GOlden deserves a chance to recruit without shackles and coach the better talent he will bring in .Then its fair to judge him.


Bethel must be running from the streets. Cause let me tell you, I live in Dallas, and no one, I mean no one, goes to Lubbock Texas, Lubbock people all move to either Houston or Dallas. Its 5 hours in the middle of nowhere. Its America and I respect his decision, but at 5'8 165 pounds, he is not a big loss. Look at the DBs Florida have in their class, they are all 3 inches taller and about 25 pounds heavier. Who will Bethel cover? Look at the NFL there are not a bunch of 5'8 corners. Bethel is taking his 4 star elsewhere, but trust me, he is a fruit cake like most of South Florida athletes. Hate to say it,,but most of them are from improvish neighborhoods and they want a coach to come in and kiss their butts. Bethel, if you were Indiana, your height will have rated as a 2 star player at best.


Great comments regarding local media irresponsibility about the Al Golden situation. Most of the local radio personalities flat- out lied that Golden was leaving for Penn State. Even after he publicly announced he was staying at UM, many of these same people continued to maintain he was leaving. Some even said Golden was being untruthful. Thanks for calling-out some of these liars. It's nice to know there are still some responsible reporters in South Florida!

j. williams

Al Golden's interest in PSU job opening cost him with some recruits. The recruits who decommitted in the last week realized that College Football is a business not only for head coaches, but for players too. They are entitled to go to the place they feel most comfortable and also where they can showcase their talents best.

I was sensing that T. Valentine - DT was likely to switch his commit regardless of what transpired with Golden pursuing the PSU opening. The one thing Al Golden keeps doing is not addressing his sorry Defense by failing to devise a new scheme, or maybe bring in 2 new Defensive Coaches. Donofrio has had 3 years to prove himself and he has failed. Any head coach with sense now makes a move and sends this coach packing. The recruits aren't stupid, they see Miami is insisting on putting out the same weak product back on the field.

Another thing I'm tired of hearing from Miami coaches, and others Miami supporters is citing the lack of talent on the roster as to the main reason they're not succeeding. In reality the roster Miami had this past year was as talented as probably any team outside of the SEC Conference. Miami had more talent overall than teams such as Louisville, Oregon, Stanford, and Mich St. and they still had a mediocre season. Miami clearly performs well below their level of natural ability. THE COACHING AND THEIR SCHEMES SUCK ROYALLY AT THE U.

former badass caneplayer ... no gas

no gas


ferman is a joke..he would fit in on fox news..got off his site years ago,he's in it to make money period..


Miami has not had a d line worth squat in a decade. Line them up man with no pressure by the d line and see it the points and yardage doesn't exceed where they are now, especially against a mobile qb. This is not John Madden video game


What can Canesport give you that regular media outlets and social media can't in this age of technology ? People actually pay for this media ? Really ?
Breaking news this coach is leaving not leaving or this decommit who posted on his own twitter acct he is going to UF. Canesport should be way free.


Not sour grapes about Bethel by me a Canes fan through and through. Just an observation by me. I agree that at 5'8 160 that it is not as great a loss at say Powell or Valentine but at his size I see nickle back and not every down player. I realize that Golden will not get everyone and much of it is because the community, area coaches, street agents and the like work against the U right now. Golden's flirtation and who wouldn't with their alma mater did hurt and the effects are being seen in de-commits and lack of support by a sizable contingent of UM fans who feel Coach D should be let go!

But let's not forget, the equation here cannot be accurate without viewing the past three years with the NCAA prism and cloud hanging over this program. People want to treat the last three years as though nothing stood in Golden's way and you cannot be honest in your evaluation without that in your equation.


As for Powell I find it highly interesting given the content of his tweets that he switched to Florida during the so called "silent period." Just last week he talked about how excited he was to get into the u early. No hate some kids just want to leave but find it very interesting in light of the 5 star kid who flipped from Arizona to Florida. They don't call it the $EC for nothing and no that is not sour grapes but reality, lol!

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