One of this past weekend’s most gruesome injuries also provided one of the most uplifting coaching moments in recent memory. With the Miami Hurricanes leading Georgia Tech 12-0 late in the 1st quarter, driving for yet another score, highly touted freshman WR Malcolm Lewis made a catch inside the Tech 5 yard line. As he was corralled and brought to the turf, Lewis’ ankle snapped, dislocated, twisted almost 180 degrees.
A horrific injury.
Writhing around in pain on the field, his teammates were almost too sick to even look at his mangled leg. Trainers and medical personnel from Miami and Georgia Tech rushed to his side, and right there in the middle of it all, hugging, holding and consoling his young receiver was Al Golden.
Coming off what can only be described as a challenging first season as head coach of the Hurricanes, under the microscope of an NCAA investigation, and dealing with a self-imposed bowl ban, Golden and his staff put together a much heralded recruiting class. One of the top receivers in the nation, Lewis was an early commit, never wavering from Coach Golden and The U. And in that moment on Saturday, when Lewis needed his coach the most, he was right there with him.
“I knew he was scared,” Golden said, who held Lewis and spoke with him as the medical personnel set his severely dislocated ankle. “We were just trying to be there for him and make sure he knows we’re there for him and that we’ll get through it”. It’s moments like this that show the bond between a coach and his players goes well beyond the final score. They’re not just X’s and O’s guys focused only on wins and losses, but instead father figures, role models and protectors.