Five national championships, several conference titles, All-Americans and first round draft picks are just some of the attributes of the storied history of the University of Miami football program. Under second year head coach Al Golden, the Canes desire to return to glory and they'll do that by returning to the roots of what made the program so special, keeping local Dade, Broward and Palm Beach talent home to star at the University of Miami. Using a concept coach Golden describes as "Deserve Victory," beginning tomorrow, Hurricane players will travel throughout South Florida to youth football parks to provide free camps for kids who cannot attend the Al Golden Camp in Coral Gables. It's the Canes way of giving back to the communities that have made them great.
"The only way we know how to give back is through football," says senior football operations coordinator and former Hurricane standout Hurlie Brown. "A lot of our players have actually come up through these parks so what we want to be able to do is go out and give back to the communities where a lot of our players have come up."
Brown along with Hurricane strength coaches and volunteer student athletes will begin a series of one day training camps at several of South Florida's prominent youth football parks. They'll begin on June 12th at the Betty T. Ferguson Center in Miami Gardens. That's home to former Miami Gardens Charger and incoming freshman Tracy Howard who starred as a do everything youth known to most in the neighborhood as "Bra Man."
Former Cane standouts like Lamar Miller, Andre Johnson, Santana Moss all came from the youth programs of South Florida. By sending players back into the communities where the stars from Miami have come from, the Canes are giving back and teaching kids the fundamentals of football. Hurricane head coach Al Golden recognizes that everyone isn't going to play football for the Hurricanes but does feel that every kid should get a chance to go to college if he chooses.
Football can be one such avenue. That's why during the Al Golden Camps, which resume this week, schools like FIU, Bethune Cookman and FAMU are invited to scout talent.
But for the kids who cannot make camps so far away from home and afford the expense, Miami is bringing the instruction to them. Brown says it's Deserve Victory is the brainchild of coach Golden who gets where past successes at the University of Miami have come from.
"We have to be able to recognize why we've been successful over the years. And part of the reason that we've been so successful has a lot to do with a bunch of people in the community who have taken a genuine interest in these kids. We just want to acknowledge the fact that we understand and appreciate that and if the kids can't come to us, we want to go to them."
Student athletes are the camp instructors and many are requesting to instruct at more than one location, most want to return to the hometown parks where they played. Current Miami Dolphin and former Cane running back, Lamar Miller played his youth ball at Richmond Park for the Giants while incoming freshman Duke Johnson hails from the Liberty City Warriors program at Charles Hadley Park where Thursday's camp will be held.
One of the most important topics of conversation will be an announcement by the Hurricane staff to the youth that coming up in a few years, the NCAA will require athletes to have a minimum G.P.A of a 2.3 in their core classes in order to participate in the fall as a true freshmen athlete. If requirements are not met, there will be an academic redshirt administered to athletes attaining at least a 2.0. A sliding scale with G.P.A. and board scores still applies under the new rule.
These changes will begin with the class of 2016, current incoming high school freshmen having just completed the ninth grade. Read more about these changes on the NCAA's official website.
But despite the new requirements, Brown and the Hurricanes are hoping to inspire South Florida's youth to achieve greatness.
"We want the kids to say, 'I can do it if he can do it'," Brown says. Getting the youth to understand that the student athletes at the University of Miami are people just like them will go a long way to giving back and helping the Canes take their program back to the place where all the greatness began; developing pure home grown talent.
Deserve Victory! with the Miami Hurricanes Event Dates | FREE | Grades K-8
Tuesday, June 12--BettyT. Ferguson Park | Miami Gardens | 6-8 p.m.
Wednesday, June 13--Sergeant J. DeLancy/Richmond Heights Park | Richmond Heights | 6-8 p.m.
Thursday, June 14--Charles Hadley Park |Miami | 6-8 p.m.
Friday, June 15--Vincent Torres Memorial Park | Fort Lauderdale | 10 a.m.-Noon