1. Sports

Miami fires coach Golden; UCF coach O'Leary retires (w/video)

Miami fires coach Al Golden, left, a day after a 58-0 loss to Clemson; UCF coach George O’Leary resigns after a 59-10 defeat to Houston.
Miami fires coach Al Golden, left, a day after a 58-0 loss to Clemson; UCF coach George O’Leary resigns after a 59-10 defeat to Houston.
Published Oct. 26, 2015

A day after Miami and UCF suffered historic defeats at home, the state's most embattled coach and its longest tenured one were out of their jobs.

Miami fired coach Al Golden on Sunday, hours after UCF's George O'Leary announced his retirement.

The moves happened in the wake of Saturday's embarrassments and the struggles that preceded them.

Golden's tenure started well enough. He navigated the Hurricanes through an NCAA investigation that resulted in nine lost scholarships and a self-imposed two-year bowl ban.

Discontent began brewing among fans last year when UM had more draft picks (seven) than wins (six). Planes flew over Sun Life Stadium with banners demanding his dismissal.

If the "Fire Golden" chant that rose from the stands Saturday wasn't enough to convince athletic director Blake James to make a change, the result was. UM's 58-0 loss to then-No. 6 Clemson was the most lopsided in school history and ended Golden's time in Coral Gables midway through his fifth season.

"I didn't feel we were where we needed to be at this point in the process," James said. "This is the decision that needed to be made."

Golden, 46, leaves with a 32-25 record and without an ACC championship or a win over rival Florida State.

Tight ends coach Larry Scott takes over the 4-3 'Canes as interim head coach. Scott, a Sebring native, was part of USF's first recruiting class as an offensive tackle and spent eight seasons on the Bulls' coaching staff.

James declined to say when he hopes to make a hire or whether an outside firm will assist his search. Potential candidates include former Bucs coach and UM assistant Greg Schiano, Alabama assistant and former Florida International coach Mario Cristobal, Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez and former 'Canes coach Butch Davis.

Two hundred miles north, UCF is searching, too, after its own home debacle led O'Leary to announce his retirement.

Since taking over in 2004, O'Leary took the Knights to unprecedented success during his 81-68 run. Two years ago, UCF capped a 12-1 season with a 52-42 win over Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl.

O'Leary, 69, said in a statement Sunday that he planned to retire after that win but agreed to coach two more seasons. The Knights won their second straight American Athletic Conference championship in 2014 — which made this season's woeful 0-8 start even more stunning.

Two weeks ago, O'Leary resigned as interim athletic director to focus on football. After Saturday's 59-10 loss to then-No. 21 Houston — the worst home defeat in program history — his time as coach was over, too.

"In an effort to allow UCF to accelerate its search for my successor and clarify the facts regarding my future plans," he said in a statement, "I am retiring effective immediately."

UCF quarterbacks coach Danny Barrett will serve as interim coach for the final four games, including a Thanksgiving showdown against USF.

Contact Matt Baker at Follow @MBakerTBTimes.


  1. Australian Open and more sports on the air.
  2. Kansas City Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill catches a touchdown pass in front of Tennessee Titans defensive back Logan Ryan during the first half of the AFC Championship Game on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. [CHARLIE RIEDEL  |  AP]
    KC falls behind once again, this time 10-0, before rallying in the AFC Championship Game.
  3. USF sophomore Elisa Pinzan had seven 3-pointers Sunday in the Bulls' 64-57 loss to UCF at the Yuengling Center. [JOEY KNIGHT | Times] [Joey Knight]
    The Knights sweep a weekend of basketball against the Bulls.
  4. Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) celebrate after he beats Arizona Coyotes goaltender Adin Hill (31) to score the first goal of the game during first period action at Amalie Arena on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 in Tampa. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The Lightning forward has hovered just below 20 goals for years and finally reached the mark Friday.
  5. East quarterback James Morgan, of Florida International University, (12) during the first half of the East West Shrine football game Saturday. [CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP]
    Morgan, who leads his East team to a pair of touchdowns, raises his draft stock as do a few others the Bucs should keep an eye on.
  6. Saturday's Seminole Shootout was full of closely contested basketball action. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Berkeley Prep and Clearwater also pull out tight thrillers Saturday.
  7. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) leads the celebration as players contratulate right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) after he beat Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick (32) to tie the game 3-3 in the final moments during third period action at Amalie Arena on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020 in Tampa. The Lightning went on to win 4 to 3 in the shootout.  [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Tampa Bay went from sixth place in the Atlantic Division to second behind a 10-game win streak.
  8. USF senior point guard Laquincy Rideau (3) drives in the first half of his team's 55-54 loss Saturday at UCF. [Photo provided by UCF Athletics] [UCF Athletics]
    The Bulls coach doesn’t hold back following his team’s controversial 55-54 loss in Orlando
  9. NFL Championship Sunday and more sports on the air.
  10. Florida State guard M.J. Walker tries to block the shot of Miami guard Dejan Vasiljevic during the second half of their game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Coral Gables. [BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP]
    FSU forces 24 turnovers and storms back from a nine-point deficit for its ninth consecutive victory.