Just spoke one-on-one to University of Miami football coach Al Golden at the ACC Kickoff in Greensboro.
He defended his integrity relating to the newest Yahoo! Sports report and was, again, adamant about his clean record and good reputation. He was very calm and friendly and self-assured. He does not seem like a man who is in any way upset or scared about allegations.
MY STORY BELOW
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Speaking several hours before his scheduled roundtable with reporters at the ACC Kickoff, University of Miami football coach Al Golden told The Miami Herald on Monday morning that his “good name’’ is still intact.
He refused to comment on the specifics of the Yahoo! Sports report released Friday that contends Golden “had direct knowledge’’ of former UM equipment manager Sean “Pee Wee” Allen’s “improper involvement with Miami recruits,’’ according to Yahoo!
His reaction when he read the story? “Disappointment obviously. It’s your name. It’s your integrity. But as I’ve found being around the other coaches and the ACC commissioner, I think my integrity and reputation over the last 18 years speaks for itself.’’
He said UM linebackers coach Micheal Barrow, also implicated in the Yahoo! report, is still an assistant coach, but wouldn’t talk further about Barrow.
Golden adamantly defended his integrity Friday in a written statement released shortly afterward, denying any wrongdoing.
“I stand on what I said on Friday. That encapsulates how I feel. I stand on my record of compliance with the NCAA. And there will be a time to defend this and I look forward to that. But I’m not allowed to comment on the story at this time.”
Last year, shortly after UM fall football camp opened in Coral Gables, Yahoo! Sports hit the sports world with allegations that former UM booster Nevin Shapiro, now serving a 20-year prison sentence for a $930 million Ponzi scheme, provided “thousands of impermissible benefits’’ to at least 72 UM athletes from 2002 through 2010.
Golden, who was about to begin his first season with the Hurricanes, said he had no idea of the related NCAA investigation of UM. He spent most of last season pledging to bring the Canes back and overcome any obstacles through hard work and doing the right things.
He said Monday he still pledges to move forward and is doing so with plenty of young talent.
Golden’s interview Monday ended minutes before the NCAA announced its severe sanctions for Penn State – where Golden played and served as an assistant coach.
He said his “thoughts and prayers are with the victims first and foremost,’’ and didn’t want to talk about Joe Paterno – other than saying he was disappointed in the whole situation.
In other UM-related news, Golden said offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson will not be suspended, though he did show up late for a summer session and was punished internally.
An addendum to story: Golden said Henderson is in the best shape of his life, and is now under 340 pounds. He said Henderson told him he weighed 400 at the Sun Bowl in El Paso.
Also, running back Danny Dillard is in the final stages of being reviewed by the NCAA Clearinghouse regarding his academics. Said Golden: Danny is expected to be with us at training camp.''
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN