Randy Shannon didn’t have to go to sleep on Saturday pondering his fate. Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt decided to get rid of the head coach he had orignally picked to stabilize the football program.
It may not have been a shock, but for someone to get fired just months after receiving a four-year extension is a bit surprising. Losing to South Florida at home in front of 27,000 fans, a weak attendance in itself, has the ability to change things.
The orange and green jerseys that had once carried a connotation of dominance now look more like clown suits, highlighting all the faults of this team. For a program that has built itself on intensity, under Shannon they seemed to be neutered of any form of exuberance.
Shannon’s few remaining supporters will still tout how well the team behaved off the field (no major arrests), his player’s graduation rates (highest among Football Bowl Subdivision schools) and the three bowl games to which he led the team.
However, could the high Academic Progress Report ranking be attributed to the players’ easy majors such as sports administration? Also, he may have kept the boys out of trouble, but that does not bring in money for the university- football, wins, TV revenue and merchandise do. Additionally, Shannon never won a bowl game and lost to inferior opponents such as USF and Virginia.
With repeated mistakes such as early timeouts, numerous penalties and excuses after losses, it is clear that our players did not learn from their mistakes. Not only was Shannon emotionless, but his players lacked passion. Part of this blame is the players’ for not being able to self-motivate, but it was Shannon’s job as head coach to capitalize the talent at his disposal.
If anything positive can come from Shannon getting fired, we hope that the players finally realize that their recent performance has been unacceptable. Coming out flat against conference opponents and being absolutely embarrassed by their rivals is no way to maintain the legacy they supposedly cherish so much. The standard of excellence has been set for the UM football program and the last four years were a far cry from what the U is supposed to embody.
Not only was Shannon one of a limited number of African-American head coaches in the NCAA, but he is also someone who will always be a true, bona fide Hurricane. Shannon’s legacy at Miami, while undoubtedly changed, is still that of someone who represented this school and this city to the core. His successes in his years as a player and as a defensive coordinator are, and forever will be, remembered fondly. But none of his history can save him from what was unquestionably a lackluster performance as a head coach.