Chris O'Meara, Associated Press
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Miami coach Al Golden has agreed to terms on a four-year extension, meaning he is now under contract with the Hurricanes through Feb. 1, 2020.
The move was announced in the fourth quarter of the Hurricanes' season-finale against Boston College on Friday, somewhat unusual timing for a gesture. Golden has repeatedly said in recent weeks that his family is happy in Miami and that he was looking forward to the challenge of rebuilding the Hurricanes back to the ranks of the national elite.
"We have embraced the community and we could not be more excited about the future of the Miami Hurricanes football team," Golden said in a release distributed by the university. "I can't thank President (Donna) Shalala and (athletic director) Shawn Eichorst enough for their support and commitment to our student-athletes and staff. We are ready to hit the recruiting road and begin our preparations for the 2012 season."
For now, anyway, it would end rampant speculation about Golden's future.
Golden has said he was unaware of allegations made by a former Miami booster when he went through the interview process with the Hurricanes a year ago, and was "shocked" when the claims were publicly detailed by convicted Ponzi scheme architect Nevin Shapiro in a story published by Yahoo Sports in August. The NCAA and the university have been conducting a dual investigation into those claims for months, and the Hurricanes are expected to face sanctions when that probe ends.
And when the subsequent scandal at Penn State — Golden's alma mater — broke in recent weeks, leading to the firing of his mentor Joe Paterno, Golden's name was circulated as a potential candidate there as well.
"I look forward to working side-by-side with Coach Golden for many years," Eichorst said. "Al has done a fantastic job of rebuilding and solidifying the foundation of our football program while fostering success both on and off of the field. He has been a first-class representative of our university and I am confident that with Al leading the way, our future is very bright."
It ends a wild week of news at Miami.
On Sunday, the university self-imposed a bowl ban for 2011 that school officials said was "necessary" in response to the NCAA probe. Players were informed that afternoon that Friday's game against Boston College would end the season, even though the Hurricanes had enough wins to qualify for a postseason appearance.
Miami is not self-imposing any other penalties, including a reduction in scholarships, and Golden said Monday that he was told he will have a full complement of scholarships available for the class that will sign in 2012.
The scandal started in earnest in August by allegations made by Shapiro, who said he gave 72 Miami football players and recruits so-called "extra benefits" like money, cars, yacht rides, nightclub and strip-club access and even prostitutes from 2002 through 2010. Earlier this season, 12 Miami players were sanctioned by the NCAA for dealings with Shapiro, with penalties ranging from small restitution in four cases, a one-game ban for five others and bans of four to six games for three more.
Shapiro is serving a 20-year prison sentence for masterminding a Ponzi scheme.
When asked Sunday by The Associated Press about his future, Golden said he doesn't "have any decisions to make" and that he's preparing to move "the program forward, as I've said a million times."
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