Miami's Kehoe savoring return to Hurricanes
CORAL GABLES - Art Kehoe waited five years for the chance to return to Miami. That was enough. So when Hurricanes coach Al Golden called to offer his old job back, here's how eager Kehoe was to accept: He screamed in delight, scurried out of the sandwich shop that served as his office - the cell phone wouldn't work at his house in the tiny town of Taylor, Miss. - told his family what was happening, packed his bags and headed out for the 16-hour drive to Miami. Without sleep. And now, a week later, Kehoe still finds it surreal."I can't tell you how great it is to be back," Kehoe said. "It's unbelievable. ... Just pumped up." Saying repeatedly how excited he was about the chance to wear Miami colors again, Kehoe spoke out Monday for the first time since his hiring as the Hurricanes' offensive line coach - the job from which he was fired after the 2005 season, despite being the only coach with ties to all five of the school's national championship teams. Kehoe played at Miami, was a captain, coached there for 25 years. He's lived elsewhere for the past five, but Miami was always home. "I just want to tell you from my heart and soul, to be back in Miami is a wonderful thing," Kehoe said. "The Kehoe family is very, very grateful to a lot of people. I am so grateful to a lot of people I have to talk to. I have to write a lot of letters as soon as I can catch a breath here. I've got to make a lot of phone calls." In short, he had a lot of help. Kehoe and Golden started talking several days before the hiring actually happened. Golden wasn't originally looking for an offensive line coach, considering that Jeff Stoutland - who was the interim head coach after Miami fired Randy Shannon in November - was expected to stay with the Hurricanes. Stoutland, though, couldn't turn down an offer from Alabama to essentially double his salary. So Stoutland left, opening the door for Kehoe, who after getting fired by former Miami coach Larry Coker had picked up jobs at Ole Miss, an NAIA school in Tennessee called Lambuth University, and the United Football League's California Redwoods. Kehoe enlisted all the help he could find. Former players, teammates, alumni, anyone and everyone he thought could influence Golden. A day went by, and Golden begged Kehoe to stop. The job was his. "It was a blitzkrieg," Kehoe said. It's been a whirlwind since. Kehoe came back to Miami just as the school was making its last big recruiting push toward Wednesday's signing day. Kehoe has had a role in helping put together this year's class, albeit a limited one given how late he entered the process. His job will pick up more in the coming days and weeks, as Miami gets ready for spring ball and best deciding how to go into 2011. So far, Kehoe is duly impressed. "They have what it takes," Kehoe said, "and we're going to win."