Art Kehoe screamed.
“Are you serious?” he shouted into his cell phone.
“I’m dead serious,” Miami coach Al Golden said.
Kehoe, searching for cell phone reception at a Subway in a Walmart in Oxford, Miss., had just been invited to go home as Miami’s offensive line coach. The 53-year-old was like a giddy teenage recruit who just signed with his dream school. For almost three decades, Kehoe worked, played and coached at Miami. He is the only person to have earned all five of Miami’s national title rings as a coach.
Kehoe's tenure of 27 years at Miami ranks among the longest of any UM athletics figure, a span during which he has either played or coached for five head football coaches. He has also coached some of the program’s best offensive linemen, but when the staff was fired in January of 2006, Kehoe thought his relationship with Miami was over for good.
"Never," he said. "I never thought it would happen -- you get to come home.”
Kehoe, a vibrant personality who couldn't contain his excitement during his news conference on Monday, said he was so ecstatic when Golden offered him the job, he screamed out his window.
“It was raining, cold, about 27 degrees,” he said. “And I’m thinking this is awesome. I told him, 'I’m going to go home, kiss the kids and my wife and pack up and I’m going to drive. I’ll see you tomorrow about 5 o’clock.'"
Kehoe packed up his car and drove to Miami, where he’s the one person on a new staff that can tie the past and the future together. Kehoe might have left Miami, but the university never left him.
“I don’t know how 27 years playing and coaching and being a graduate assistant, and winning as much as we did, that you could possibly ever get it out of your system,” he said. “And trust me, it never left."
Kehoe desperately wanted this job. He called every Miami contact he had to get it -- former coaches, players, trustees, alumni -- everyone and anyone willing to speak to Golden on his behalf.
Golden got the message. “Whoa Art, stop it,” he said, according to Kehoe. “It’s a blitzkrieg.”
Golden and his assistants won Kehoe over immediately.
“They have what it takes and we’re going to win,” Kehoe said. “The only variable between the University of Miami going back to the top is time. It is going to get done under Al Golden.”
If anyone knows what it takes at Miami, it’s Kehoe.