Hurricanes coaching search shouldn't be hard: make it Mario Cristobal, Butch Davis or Rob Chudzinski
It's time to give the people what they want.
Firing Al Golden was the first move.
Making the right hire -- and having him in place by Dec. 1 -- is the next, more important move.
This doesn't have to take that long either.
The list is pretty short: Mario Cristobal, Butch Davis or Rob Chudzinski.
That's what former players and local coaches were telling me this morning, less than 24 hours after Golden finally got the boot.
They want one of their own.
"I actually got calls from both Butch and Mario last night," newly minted University of Miami Hall of Famer Joaquin Gonzalez said. "They are both extremely interested. I am fortunate to have been coached by both. I think they would both assemble great coaching staffs, do amazing in recruiting, and restore the killer instinct in the program. Maybe there is a possibility where we get both... you never know.
"Butch wants to end his career associated with Miami, still has a lot to give. I would love to see him in some capacity on the new staff, maybe starting as the head coach and then transitioning to AD. The one thing I do know, he will put a great staff together. With Mario here, we would not lose a single recruit we wanted!
"If they bring a no name up and comer, they will be calling for Blake's head! This hire can solidify recruiting, ticket sales, and bring lore back into the program. All that would be left to do is win some damn games!"
And that's ultimately what this all comes down to.
The Hurricanes have been sub-standard for too long. Finding the guy to fix the problem doesn't have to be nearly as complicated as trying to get the players to figure out Mark D'Onofrio's defense.
"Butch or Chudzinski, that simple," former Hurricanes receiver Randal Hill said. "Butch has done it before. He led us through one of the toughest times in UM's history and put the program back on the map. I don't want to hear this stuff about him being responsible for what happened at North Carolina a couple years back. He was cleared of any wrongdoing, has the paperwork to prove it. The NCAA sent him a letter clearing him.
"Chud [currently the Colts associate head coach] is a younger version of Butch. I don't want to hear this stuff about how he wouldn't come back to coach in college because he's been in the NFL too long. They all would come back. They bled for this program. I'm close with both of those guys. Mario would be great too."
Miami Jackson coach Earl Little, who played safety for the Hurricanes, said UM's next coach can't be an outsider. It has to be "100 percent Hurricane."
He said the right fit will lead to immediate winning.
"The players are there," Little said. "Look at the kids who are NFL rookies this year. Talent will always be at The U. We need to get back to UM's 4-3 defense. We need to be more aggressive on both sides of the ball. That's Miami football.
"We need to play with more swagger. It kills me when I see other schools play with more swagger/energy than us. For instance: the Cincinnati game. Those kids look like Miami kids. You know why... their head coach [Tommy Tuberville] was my defensive coordinator at The U."
And that's ultimately the most important part of this next hire.
I'm talking about the coordinators and the assistants.
Golden may have been the 42nd highest paid coach in college football according to USA Today, but his assistants are another story.
I speak to enough people around college football to know the Hurricanes don't pay their assistants very well. I also know how to read.
Look at the list of assistants and where they've come from and the look at where former assistants have moved onto since leaving the program. Other than Jedd Fisch's move into an NFL offensive coordinator position, who else has climbed the ladder? Who else has been plucked from this staff over the last 10 years because they were doing an outstanding job?
I love Tim "Ice" Harris and Kevin Beard, two of the best, most passionate coaches on staff. But both came from local high school programs, and both came cheap. You could make those hires at some of the better programs in the country if you had other great assistants around them. The Hurricanes simply haven't had any.
"I'm with you, I like Mario," said Luther Campbell, Norland's defensive coordinator who knows a thing or two about UM's history and South Florida recruiting.
"They just have to give him enough money to pay coordinators. Mario would bring the same fire that Dan Campbell is bringing to the Dolphins. Plus, he would lock South Florida down."
Golden did an okay job recruiting South Florida. There's only so much an outsider could do with an off-campus stadium, NCAA sanctions and a recent string of losing as background. He tried. But he was never the right fit. His defensive system was never the right fit.
"First of all I want to thank Al Golden for all he has done for the high school coaches in the South Florida area. He did a great job in building tghe important relationships betweeh the U and the high school coaches," said Belen coach Rich Stuart, who became the winningest coach in Miami-Dade history on the same day Golden sustained the biggest loss in UM history.
"With that said, I would love to see Mario Cristobal as the new coach of the Canes."