Coaching the Miami Hurricanes is not for the faint of heart, as Al Golden quickly learned in the noisy weeks and months that led to his firing on Sunday night.
The same goes for any major program, of course, with the stings of social media and old-fashioned booing to remind a man that nothing is forever.
It was interesting, though, to check the details on the last time Miami had a coach leave in the middle of a season rather than just prior to a bowl trip. Seems like some things never change.
The year was 1970, long before Miami ever took a serious run at a national championship, but even so Charlie Tate couldn’t take it anymore.
After just two games that season he resigned as head football coach and athletic director of the Hurricanes. Tate, who died in 1996 at the age of 77, had some success, including an 8-2-1 record in 1966 and a No. 9 ranking in the final AP poll that year. Still, he didn’t feel appreciated, and at times barely felt he was tolerated.
When he abruptly resigned early in 1970 with an overall record of 34-27-3, nobody knew quite what to make of it.
Here, though, are Tate’s words from an old United Press International story at the time.
“It wasn’t Tech,” Tate said in reference to the 31-21 loss to Georgia Tech that preceded his resignation. “It was a situation I felt like I couldn’t make a go of. I just didn’t have that much control over the situation. It’s tough enough just to line up and play without forcing the kids to win to save the coach’s job.
“I wanted the kids to go ahead and get some fun out of the game and not worry about people like myself.”
Here, though, is where the story circles all the way back to 2015. Tate had been receiving more phone calls than he could believe on his unlisted phone number at home. All of them were angry and some of them he said were obscene.
”It was a bit too much, a little more than I bargained for,” said Tate, who was in the final year of his contract and coming off a 4-6 season in 1969. “For them to be on my back is one thing, but to involve my family is another. I can stomach it. I’ve been in this game a long time, but when my family was being penalized, too, I didn’t like it a bit.
“I thought, ‘If this is what it’s all about, I better take some time to think about it, whether it’s worth it.”
Tate, a member of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame, recruited Chuck Foreman to Miami at a time when not many African-American players were getting opportunities in the South. Altogether, this was a sad ending for a man known as “Jolly Charlie” because of his boisterous laugh.
Walt Kichefski finished the 1970 season as Miami’s interim coach, going 2-7. Larry Scott, the Hurricanes’ current interim, has five games left in a season that still could lead to a bowl appearance or maybe even an ACC Coastal Division title, but absolutely no assurances go with the job.
In Kichefski’s case, Miami turned to University of Tampa coach Fran Curci to lead the Hurricanes the following season. Curci was followed in rapid order by Pete Elliott, Carl Selmer and Lou Saban, a total of four head coaches in the space of eight seasons, before Howard Schnellenberger finally arrived in 1979 to start Miami toward what would become a dynastic national championship run.
The Hurricanes would like to get back there again, only a lot quicker.