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Golden: 'Humbling and flattering' to be pursued

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 6, 2014 at 1:38 pm •  Published: January 6, 2014

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Miami coach Al Golden said Monday that he has been pursued by other programs, doing so while reaffirming his commitment to the Hurricanes and refusing to discuss his reported candidacy at Penn State.

Further, Golden repeated that he's ready to experience working without the NCAA investigatory cloud hanging over the school.

"It's humbling and flattering, a testament to our staff and student-athletes, that other people express interest in us," Golden said.

Golden is 22-15 in three seasons at Miami and was widely pegged as a candidate for Penn State, which made sense for many reasons. He played for Joe Paterno, was a Nittany Lions captain and his experience at Miami throughout its rogue-booster scandal showed that he can lead a program through difficult off-the-field matters, much in the same way that Bill O'Brien did for two seasons before leaving Penn State.

But the NCAA issue is essentially dead now at Miami, and Golden can spend this month doing something he's yet to do in his tenure with the Hurricanes, that being close the assembly of a recruiting class without having anyone wonder how much trouble the Nevin Shapiro matter will ultimately cause the school. The NCAA said last year that Miami's football program will lose nine scholarships over three years.

"We've made a lot of progress now," Golden said. "This will be our first year being able to going out and recruit without any NCAA cloud hanging over us. There's a big part of me that wants that. I haven't experienced that. None of us have experienced that. We haven't really experienced a season or a training camp without that hanging over our heads."

So the NCAA matter is done, and Golden is staying.

There are many more issues for the Hurricanes to address before spring football starts in about two months.

Golden plans to keep his staff intact, saying continuity is essential right now as part of the path toward getting better as a program. He insisted that progress has been made, particularly on the defensive side of the football, though the numbers would suggest that there's still many reasons for major concern there.

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