Coral Gables, Fla. — Detroit Lions linebackers coach Al Golden has filed a $3 million lawsuit against the University of Miami, seeking what he contends is unpaid settlement money.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court Wednesday — three years to the day after Golden’s final game as head coach at Miami, a 58-0 loss to Clemson in what is the worst margin of defeat in the school’s football history. The Hurricanes fired Golden on Oct. 25, 2015, the day after that game.
“The unpaid portion of Plaintiff’s separation pay as of October 2018 is approximately $3 million and continues to grow,” read the lawsuit. “Plaintiff seeks judgment for this amount and for any additional sums that accrue and remain unpaid.”
Golden made about $2.6 million in his final year at Miami, according to tax records.
“The University of Miami is disappointed to learn that former Coach Golden filed suit,” the school said in a statement Wednesday. “The University has fulfilled all of its obligations to Coach Golden in connection with his separation from the University and will defend the claims.”
Golden went 32-25 at Miami in parts of five seasons and was 17-18 in Atlantic Coast Conference games. His entire tenure at Miami was overshadowed by an NCAA investigation and subsequent fallout — a mess caused largely by the actions of a rogue former booster, someone currently in federal prison for leading a $900 million Ponzi scheme.
Golden was not told of the potential for NCAA trouble when he took the job. The investigation started in earnest before his first game with the Hurricanes, and each of his seasons in Coral Gables were affected in some way by the scandal, whether it was bowl games that the school chose to sit out because of the probe, scholarship reductions, NCAA sanctions or simply the unwillingness of recruits to commit to a school in turmoil.
The lawsuit does not say what specific amount, if any, Golden received when he was fired.
“Defendant failed to pay, and refuses to pay, the Plaintiff the full amount of the separation payment required,” the lawsuit said.
Golden was back in the Miami area this past weekend, when the Lions beat the Dolphins, 32-21.