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The Coaches: Part 4 of our UM-OSU Preview

By Chris Wittyngham posted Sep 15, 2011 at 03:23 PM

In part 4 of our 5 part preview, Mike Weisman covers the new Miami and Ohio State head coaches, Al Golden and Luke Fickell.


You can listen to Miami-Ohio State beginning at 7 PM on 90.5 FM in Miami-Dade County or online at




        Two new head coaches, two different, yet similar situations.  When Al Golden and Luke Fickell thought about their first chance as a head coach at a major program, never did they even think about dealing with what both of them have dealt with, and what they are currently dealing with. 

        Luke Fickell was thrust into the head coaching position at Ohio State, the year after winning Assistant Coach of the Year.  Many coaches hope to coach at their Alma Mater, but not necessarily the way that Fickell ended up with the job.  After being named the interim head coach when Jim Tressel was suspended for the first 5 games of 2011, he was appointed the full time position when Tressel unexpectedly resigned amid an ongoing NCAA investigation.

        Fickell, only 38, holds the current consecutive start record at the nose guard position for the buckeyes, starting 50 straight games from 1993-1996.  His teams won two Big 10 championships as well as 4 bowl games during his 5-year tenure as a player.  He signed as an undrafted free agent with the New Orleans Saints in the 1997 season, but tore his ACL and was eventually released, ending his NFL career. 

        He started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Ohio State, before working as the defensive line coach for two years at the University of Akron.  After two years away from the Buckeyes, Jim Tressel hired him as the special teams coordinator.  He worked his way up to linebacker coach, and defensive coordinator by the 2005 season, and held that position until 2010.

        Miami coach Al Golden got the head-coaching job at Miami in a more traditional way, interviewing for the position and being selected by former Miami Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt.  But within months, he got the news that no head coach wants to hear, that the program was under investigation for benefits received by current and former players, as well as recruits.  He thought he was taking over a program that was just struggling on the field, little did he know, he would be without 7 starters for the first game of his Miami career.

        Golden was a three-year letter-winner at tight end for Penn State from 1989-1991.  As the team captain as a senior, he led the Nittany Lions to a Fiesta Bowl win and #3 overall ranking in the AP poll.  He spent the 1993 season with the New England Patriots before beginning his coaching career.

        He started his coaching career as the offensive coordinator at his high school, Red Bank Catholic in NJ, and was then hired as a graduate assistant at Virginia where he worked for three years.  In 1997, he as hired by Boston College to be the linebacker coach, a position he held for 3 seasons.  He then spent a year in the same position at his Alma Mater Penn State, before being hired as the defensive coordinator Al Groh for 5 seasons.  He got his first head-coaching job in 2006 at Temple, where he rebuilt a program from the ground up.  A team that had only 1 win in his first season, was transformed into a 9-win team just three years later.  He led the Owls to their first bowl game since 1979, a 30year stretch, and won 17 total games in his final two seasons.

       You can listen to Miami-Ohio State beginning at 7 PM on 90.5 FM in Miami-Dade County or online at

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