Randy Shannon Takes His Talents out of South Beach

Parker Fox, Staff Writer

When Randy Shannon was hired as head coach of the football team at Miami on December 6, 2006, the program was in disarray. Head Coach Larry Coker had let the program slip from his grasps as the team’s record got progressively worse from when he was hired to take over for Butch Davis in 2000. He won the National Championship in 2001 and got back again in 2002 only to lose on a more-than-questionable pass interference call. He finished his last season 6-6, enough for boosters and fans to call for his job. More importantly, the program’s image was taking a nosedive after a brawl with FIU and the shooting of player Bryan Pata. The team needed a disciplinarian. Someone who could resurrect the program’s image that had become progressively worse since the early 80s. Randy Shannon was the man for the job.
In his four years at Miami, Shannon’s team had a total of one arrest, an unbelievable statistic compared to in state rival Florida, who have totaled 31 arrests since the arrival of Urban Meyer in 2005. In 2010 Miami had the third best Academic Progress Rating and graduation rates in the country, while players from in state rival Florida State were caught cheating on an online music test. “Miami has always been thought of as the thug school, which doesn’t make sense anymore considering how many more arrests teams like Florida get. And we are rated a higher school than them,” sophomore and Miami fan Austin Orton said.
But at a program that has won an unprecedented five national championships since 1983, Shannon’s on-field results were not up to par. In four years he went 28-22 with losses in both bowl games his team attended. In his fourth season, Miami was picked by many to compete in the BCS and possibly contend for a national title, but failed to come close. University President Donna Shalala gave athletic director Kirby Hocutt permission to relieve Shannon of his coaching duties after an embarrassing home loss to rival Florida State (45-17). Miami appeared unmotivated and was outmatched in all facets of the game, which is especially surprising because Shannon’s 2008 recruiting class was ranked number 1 in the country by ESPN. These recruiting class are currently juniors and were expected to lead Miami back to relevance in the college football world. Later in the year Miami had a shocking loss to Virginia and another to USF just last Saturday. The latter pretty much sealed the coffin for Shannon. “I’m glad we got rid of him,” says senior and Canes fan Corbin Whitney. “He just wasn’t the right guy at the U.”
The search for the next coach at “the U” is currently underway. Rumors of ESPN analyst and former Bucs Coach Jon Gruden as the next man for the job surfaced on Sunday, but the hype died down when Gruden released a statement in which he stated he was content with his current job as an ESPN analyst. Gruden is still a top candidate, along with Mississippi State Coach Dan Mullen, Texas Tech Coach Tommy Tuberville, TCU Coach Gary Patterson, Stanford Coach Jim Harbaugh and Oklahoma Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables. “I like Mike Leach since we can’t get Gruden,” says Whitney. Harbaugh is probably the best candidate, going 11-1 at Stanford with sub-par recruits this season. If in control of the Miami-Dade recruiting area, the possibilities are endless.
Miami has taken monumental steps back to the pinnacle of the college football world during Randy Shannon era, but he simply was not the right guy to take them to the nest level That is, competing for national championships year in and year out.