Al Golden wins Lombardi Award for Excellence in Coaching

Miami coach Al Golden has dealt with his share of adversity in his three years with the Hurricanes.

He was recognized Wednesday night for his part in helping Miami navigate one of the toughest chapters in its history while leading the Hurricanes to their first nine-win season since 2009 when he was honored with the 2013 Lombardi Award for Excellence in Coaching.

The moment he stepped on the stage in Houston to accept the award from LaVell Edwards, Golden credited his players, many of whom have played under the uncertainty of an NCAA investigation for more than two years.

“I humbly dedicate this to the 2013 Miami Hurricanes,” Golden said. “They overcame a lot adversity over the last three years and in so doing, taught us a lot about unity, a lot about perseverance, a lot about leadership itself and maybe perhaps overall, a lot about class.”


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Golden continued by thanking Miami athletic director Blake James, school president Donna Shalala, his wife Kelly and his parents.

Miami started its season unranked and not knowing if a protracted NCAA investigation would keep the Hurricanes out of another bowl game. They won seven straight games and during that stretch, learned the NCAA would not ban them from the post-season.

While Miami (9-3) lost three straight late in the season, the Hurricanes bounced back and finished the season with a pair of wins. On Sunday, they took the No. 25 spot in the USA Today coaches poll and accepted a bid to face Louisville in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 28 in Orlando. 

It will be their first bowl appearance since a 33-17 loss to Notre Dame in 2010.