The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

The ACC School Mount Rushmores: Miami FINAL

Update: The Confidential has given time for comments and is ready to finalize the Miami Mount Rushmore.

Having reviewed the few comments, the Confidential is stick with only two of its original three: Jim Kelly and Rick Barry.  After reviewing the comments of Miami fans, it is apparent that they all place Howard Schnellenberger above Jimmy Johnson.  Although the latter had much more post-Miami success, without Schnellenberger, Miami football might never have taken off.  Frankly, this was a blunder that the Confidential should have foreseen.  Icons that greatly improve a program have more value than ones who maintain dominance.  So, in a rarity, the Confidential will go the mea culpa route and swap Schnellenberger for Jimmy Johnson.

The fourth Miami icon is a bit harder to determine with all the great football players to come and go.  Although Miami fans may have a special place in their hearts for Ray Lewis and Michael Irvin, could you imagine the fall-out if Miami actually created a Mount Rushmore and put them on it?  Too much negative publicity over the years would overwhelm the issue.  And given the issues that Miami has had with, ahem, “the rules,” there is zero chance that Miami would ever immortalize a player with a negative image.  So the Confidential has to reject those two suggestions.  And then there is the issue of differentiating one great Miami player from another.

Instead, the Confidential goes with Ron Fraser, the former Miami baseball coach.  Without Fraser, Miami’s successful baseball program never would have existed.  Without Fraser’s efforts, Miami’s baseball program would have been eliminated years later.  He won national championships for Miami.  He even helped college baseball as whole, particularly as it relates to television.  And his coaching success speaks for itself.

The final verdict: Jim Kelly, Rick Barry, Howard Schnellenberger, and Ron Fraser.

For the original discussion of the Miami Mount Rushmore…

As we discussed previously, these school-wide Mount Rushmores are limited to sports only–players and coaches.  That being said, athletes that have gone on to have careers that have furthered their legend are rewarded also.   And negative publicity will also be factored in.  We do not believe that USC would put OJ Simpson on its Mount Rushmore.  It is what it is.  Admittedly, there will be a recency bias too.  While historical accomplishments are typically quite impressive, coaching college football (as an example) in 1955 was a lot different than coaching today, where coaches rarely get 5 years to make their mark anymore.  Similarly, in an era of up to 14 college football games or 40 college basketball games, as well as daunting pressure from the fans and media, today’s game is more challenging.  That’s our opinion and we are sticking to it.

The Confidential gives the first spot to Jim Kelly.  Kelly started the trend of Miami as QB-U.  He had an outstanding career at Miami and then in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills.  While there were a lot of QBs at Miami–including some that won the Heisman Trophy–none had the combined impact of a pro-college career.

The #2 spot for Miami is a hoopster: Rick Barry.  When you think Hurricanes sports, you think football.  But how about Rick Barry?  He truly is one of the all-time greats.  He averaged nearly 30 points per game for Miami.  His NBA accomplishments were equally impressive, as he was easily voted to the NBA’s top 50 all-time greats.  He is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

As is often the case, the #3 spot is exceedingly difficult.  Just wait until you see some of the options for the #4 Spot.  We will go with Jimmy Johnson.  Johnson did not have to build Miami–they were already a national champion.  But Johnson became a coaching icon.  He had great success at Miami and then even greater success in the NFL.  Now he is routinely on television during NFL telecasts.

And that leads us to the number four spot.  Just look at the options here.  Diving’s Greg Louganis.  Baseball’s Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff.  Other football coaches, such as Howard Schnellenberger and Dennis Erickson.  But just take a look at the football players: Ray Lewis, Bernie Kosar, Vinnie Testaverde, Ted Hendricks, Chuck Foreman, Warren Sapp, Reggie Wayne, Michael Irvin, Ed Reed, Edgerrin James, Frank Gore, and who knows how many scores of players we do not have space to list.  But that is where you come in–let us know who should be #4.

Who will be the Confidential’s fourth Miami Hurricane in its Mount Rushmore?

Other Mount Rushmores:

ACC Football Coaches

ACC Basketball Coaches


Boston College

Wake Forest

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