Former Hurricanes coach Al Golden’s lawsuit against the University of Miami, seeking more than $3 million in separation pay, is “without merit,” UM’s attorney told the Miami Herald.
“The university has fulfilled all obligations to coach Golden and intends to continue to do so,” UM attorney Eric Isicoff said. “The university intends to defend this litigation, which it believes is without merit.”
Isicoff’s written response, filed in court, says: “While receiving substantial termination payments under the agreement, Golden has made a series of threats and demands seeking additional compensation in conflict with terms of the agreement.”
UM submitted documentation asserting that when the Hurricanes fired Golden in October 2015, they agreed to pay him a total of $2 million over the next 51 months, per terms of provisions in his contract.
But the contract stated those payments would be reduced by the amount Golden was paid in a new football job.
So when Golden was fired, UM initially paid him $39,215.69 per month, which would have equaled $2 million if that amount were paid for exactly 51 months.
But three months after being fired, Golden began earning $31,250 a month from the Detroit Lions, prompting UM to reduce its monthly payment to Golden to $7,965.69.
Golden received a raise from the Lions, boosting his salary to $33,000 a month beginning in February of 2017, resulting in UM reducing his monthly payment to $5,882.36.
Golden’s attorneys assert in the suit that is not the correct amount he should be pocketing from the Hurricanes, claiming what he’s owed should include $1 million each for years six through nine of his contract, seasons he did not coach for UM because of his dismissal midway through year five, with a reduction if Golden received new employment elsewhere.
Golden’s attorneys, Richard Tuschman and Mark Beutler, declined to comment because Golden did not authorize them to speak publicly about the matter.
Court filings shed light on Golden’s compensation, including some notable perks.
Golden made $2.6 million in his final year at UM, but his initial base salary at UM in 2010 was only $150,000. His contract called for him to receive millions from third parties for TV and radio shows. That included a $1.25 million payment for the first year, with increases up to $2.94 million for the ninth year.
UM agreed to give Golden “the use of one luxury automobile” and “a monthly gas allowance” of $250.
Golden also received additional money to finance a vehicle for his wife, with his contract stating that “in lieu of providing Mr. Golden’s spouse the use of a luxury automobile, during the term of this agreement, the university will provide Mr. Golden a monthly automobile stipend in the amount of $700.”
UM also agreed to pay the annual dues of a membership for Golden at Deering Bay Country Club and other perks, including one suite at Hard Rock Stadium, six parking passes, 20 premium tickets, 12 tickets for each road football game, eight season tickets for both UM basketball and UM baseball. He also received $5000 annually from the team’s agreement with Nike.
UM also included more than a dozen bonuses in his February 2012 contract extension, ranging from $20,000 for making the ACC title game but losing, all the way up to $500,000 for winning the BCS championship.
Also, UM would pay Golden a varying amount if Miami finished as the highest ranked team in Florida, from $50,000 if that included a top 20 finish or $75,000 with a top five finish.
The lawsuit — which requests a jury trial — was filed on Oct. 25, three years to the day after Golden’s final game at UM, a 58-0 loss to Clemson.
UM submitted its response Nov. 16.
Golden was 32-25 at UM, including 17-18 in Atlantic Coast Conference games.