Former Miami Hurricanes head football coach Al Golden is suing his former employer -- claiming the University screwed him out of $3 million after they fired him back in 2015. 

Golden says he signed a massive multi-million dollar contract to lead the Canes back in 2011 -- a deal loaded with incentives. The contract says Golden's initial base salary was $150k per year but the upside was tremendous. 

For example ... as part of his deal, the University of Miami guaranteed that in addition to his base salary and bonuses, Golden would get MILLIONS from third parties for TV and radio deals. 

$1.25 mil for year 1, $1.675 mil for year 2 ... and incrementally increasing all the way up to $2.94 million for year 9. 

Golden would receive a $750k bonus if Miami won the BCS Championship game, $400k for a 2nd place finish, $300k for a non-title BCS bowl game 1st place finish and so on. 

More bonuses include ... $25k for 10 regular season wins, $75k for 11 wins and $175k for 12 wins. 

He also got $5,000 annually from UM's deal with Nike.

There's more ... Miami also provided Golden with a luxury car, paid for his membership to the fancy Deering Bay Country Club along with a bunch of UM football tickets and usage of the suite at Sun-Life Stadium. 

Unclear exactly how Golden got to the $3 million he's asking for in the lawsuit -- but saying it's "separation pay" that he never received based on their deal. 

Golden is now working as an assistant coach for the Detroit Lions. No word if he got to keep his luxury car.