New Hurricanes defensive line coach Randy Melvin has been coaching football since 1982 -- right around the time personal computers like the Commodore 64 started to become mainstream.
So how did the 55-year-old, former Temple, FIU assistant and Super Bowl-winning coach with the Patriots end up reuniting with his old boss Al Golden again earlier this week? Naturally, the internet.
“The beauty of social media," Melvin said Thursday during a 15-minute talk with local Hurricanes beat writers. "Looking online, seeing movement [is how I found out UM was looking for a new defensive line coach]. I actually was on my phone and I saw that Jethro [Franklin] was leaving [for the Oakland Raiders]. So I tried to make contact and go through the proper channels. We visited on a couple of occasions and went forward from there.”
Melvin, who started his coaching career the same year Canes offensive line coach Art Kehoe did (they are the elder statesmen on the staff), has been around the block a few times. He started off as a high school assistant in Ohio, worked his way into a head coach in Illinois and then made the jump to college at Eastern Illinois in 1988. He spend time at Wyoming (1995-96), Purdue (1997-99), Rutgers (2002-04, 2010), Temple (2009) and most recently FIU (2014).
Along the way he hit the pros too coaching alongside Bill Belichick in New England in 2000 and 2001 and winning the Super Bowl his last year there before Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel took him to Cleveland for four years from 2005 to 2008. Melvin spent a year coaching the British Columbia Lions in the CFL in 2011 and then two more with the Tampa Bay Bucs in 2012 and 2013 before FIU coach Ron Turner took him with to South Florida.
Now, Melvin is rejoining Golden. In 2009, Temple's staff was being treated like superstars in Philadelphia following a 9-4 season. Now, Melvin is rejoining Golden as he's on the hot seat and coming off a 6-7 season. Why would he want to do that? Melvin likes Golden and believes in him.
“I guess really in reality I’m immune to that," Melvin said of the critics. "Because I’ve been let go before. That’s part of the game. The greatest pressure that anybody has is what they place on themselves. I can’t speak for him. I can speak for myself coming into this situation -- I put more pressure on myself than anybody else can. The whole thing is to get your team to play well and do what they’re supposed to do and allow the fans to celebrate with you.”
Melvin said Golden is "very, very detailed" and said he's a pleasure to work for "because he lets me coach."
"He has a unique creativity along with the ability to be detailed," Melvin said. "That’s the thing that really attracts me. Getting the pieces, coaching them up, that’s how you get things done properly. Sometimes it doesn’t build as fast people want. But when it’s done right, it’s built to last.”
Melvin, hired on Wednesday, said he's met with his future defensive linemen briefly but still can't put names to faces. He said he didn't recruit a single player at UM. But he said he will study plenty of tape in the nine days leading up to the starting of spring practice on Feb. 21 to see where certain guys have talent and others have flaws so he can help them. He said he likes the size of the guys he's been tasked to work with in UM's 3-4 scheme.
"I always kind of let guys know No. 1 you have to be physically able to handle it," Melvin said of what he preaches as a coach. "No. 2, be able to execute the defense. I’ve got to teach and you got to learn it. Everybody learns it a little differently. So we have to find ways to make sure you’re on point there. The final thing is they have to play with some effort, play with hustle. Defensive football in its simplest form is tackling the football. So you start the game there and then as a coach you work on consistency, technique and development to help them master some skills.”
> New receivers coach Kevin Beard, who we've covered plenty in the blog in the past week, said Thursday he's not taking over the recruiting coordinator duties held by previous receivers coach Brennan Carroll.
"I’ll be heavy into Broward County and a couple of other places," said Beard, a graduate of Plantation High in Broward. "But it will just be like every other coach. Just about building relationships. I’m just the wide receiver coach. I don’t know the full scale of the whole process. I’m learning on the go. Just happy to learn and grow.”
A former assistant on the successful South Florida Express 7-on-7 team, Beard said he believes his relationships on the 7-on-7 circuit will be a boon for him as a recruiter.
“It kind of gives you a lot eyes outside the university," Beard said. “I look at it like as when I was in the 7-on-7 world, I was friends with everyone. A lot of guys have made it into a rivalry or something like that. I just look it as an opportunity to help kids get better. So I feel like I have a lot of friends out there, places I can’t be – especially with guys I’m looking to recruit. [My friends] can be another ear or another voice that these guys can hear and they’ll say he’ll get you right and you can trust that guy.”