Al Golden landed his first college head coaching job at Temple in 2006, becoming the second youngest head coach in the country at the time (behind only Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern). That opportunity came after a handful of years working as the linebackers coach at Boston College and Penn State, and then he moved on to become the defensive coordinator at Virginia. After five seasons there, Golden completely transformed the program compiling a 27-34 record and then left for the opportunity to become the head coach at Miami.
As we all know, after being in Coral Gables for eight months, the Miami program was hit with sanctions that included a two-year bowl ban, making Golden's job of rebuilding the Hurricane program much more complicated. Seven games into his fifth season at Miami, Golden was let go with an overall record of 32-25. After a few months on the market, an opportunity to join the NFL ranks under Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, who coached him as a player at Penn State, presented itself, and Golden jumped at the opportunity to join the league.
Golden had never coached in the NFL ranks before, but the opportunity to coach the tight ends with the Lions has proven to be a rejuvenating experience for him, according to the Detroit Free Press. Golden shared that the rebuilding job at Temple, and the situation at Miami took its toll on him.
"I needed this right now. I was a head coach for 10 years. I just felt like – I felt like I was burnt out, and I needed this. It’s been great. I’m coaching offense. I’ve been rejuvenated. Just exposing myself every day to something new in the league.”
“That sense of drain, of burnout, is long gone. This place has (rejuvenated me) and the players are a big part of it," Golden shared with the Free Press.
Unlike many head coaches that have led programs for a decade, Golden is young at just 46 years old and he realizes he still has a lot of tread on the tires.
“I think I have too much experience and just because I started young as a head coach, sometimes people look at it like, ‘Well, he’s already been a head coach,. But I’m not 57. I’m 46, so I started young as a head coach and I’ve got a world of experience and I think this is just the next chapter for me so we’ll see where it goes. It’s too early to start thinking about that, but I know I’m skilled in that aspect of it. I’ve been a defensive coordinator, I’ve been a special teams coordinator, I’ve coached five or six different positions and now I’m coaching on the offense in the NFL.”
Head here to read the full piece, including some good perspective from Jim Caldwell on taking the step from head coach to assistant.