Last week, I started building the Ultimate Miami Hurricanes coaching staff with the offensive coaches. Here’s that piece, so you can get caught up.
Today, we turn to the defensive side of the ball.
The best teams in Miami Hurricane history were known for their defensive acumen. In terms of coaches who used to work for Miami on defense, there are simply too many strong candidates to choose from. Some of the best coaches in football history were defensive assistants at Miami. I judged each candidate as best I could on their coaching resume and level of historical importance as a coach while employed at the U. The budget for this fantasy defensive staff would give Miami’s Board of Trustees heartburn, but it would be worth it in the long run.
Defensive Line/Assistant Head Coach - Dave Wannstedt
For the d-line I struggled with picking either Coach Wannstedt or former DB coach Mark Stoops. Former defensive coordinator, Greg Schiano, would have also been a credible pick as d-line coach at Miami. I stuck with Wannstedt because he was a defensive genius throughout his storied career. When he coached Pittsburgh from 2005-2010, those teams were known for their LeSean McCoy-focused run game and exceptionally stout defenses. As a defensive coordinator, Wannstedt won a national championship with Miami in 1987 and a super bowl with the Cowboys in 1992. People remember both of those championship teams for their defense. Wannstedt also coached the likes of Jerome Brown, Russell Maryland, and Ken Norton Jr.
The reason I picked Coach Wannstedt to serve as Assistant Head Coach is his prior success as a program leader, as well as being a trusted AHC in the NFL He had jobs as an AHC for the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills. He head coached at the aforementioned Pittsburgh and for the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins. As a strong option for fantasy defensive coordinator, Wannstedt is under valued on this list coaching the defensive line.
Linebackers - Randy Shannon
Heading into Larry Coker’s last year as Miami’s head coach. Former defensive coordinator Randy Shannon held the admiration of nearly every Canes fan. How many times did a Coach Shannon-lead defense seem to carry Miami to victory only for its inept offense to blow a game? All the time. That’s part of the reason why Miami fired Coker and hired Shannon as head coach. In six seasons as defensive coordinator, Shannon’s defenses were in the top 10 nationally five times. The magic of this success never translated onto the field when he was head coach, so Miami fired Shannon after four seasons. Maybe he becomes a head coach again, or perhaps lightning does not strike twice. Either way Coach Shannon is well versed in coaching linebackers. Shannon is also a tremendous recruiter having secured as head coach the best recruiting class in 2008 according to ESPN. He’s the total package as a position coach.
Defensive Backs - Dave Campo
Coach Campo was the defensive backs coach at Miami during the Jimmy Johnson days. Campo followed his mentor to the Dallas Cowboys and won three super bowl titles to go along with a national championship at Miami. The highlight of Campo’s career came when he head coached the Dallas Cowboys for three seasons in the early 2000s. Other than that experience, Campo’s been all over the place as a defensive backs coach. Such stops include Washington State, Boise State, Iowa, Syracuse, Kansas, and Jacksonville Jaguars. Campo might be the most qualified DB coach Miami’s ever employed. Oh, and he coached Bennie Blades to stardom.
Defensive Coordinator - Sonny Lubick
Sonny Lubick coached the Miami defense between from 1989 to 1992. He won two national championships at Miami where he coached the likes of Warren Sapp, Cortez Kennedy, Jessie Armstead, and Michael Barrow. Sonny would go on to coach Colorado State to unparalleled success. Since 1955, Colorado State has won seven conference championships. Sonny was boss man for 6 of those seasons. Sonny head coached at CSU from 1993 to 2007, so his legacy is mostly linked to CSU, as there was a football stadium called Sonny Lubick Field named after him. It’s easy to forget how much he enabledMiami during his stop at Coral Gables. Dennis Erickson is truthfully a good football coach, but without Sonny, Miami does not win two national titles in three years.
Next week I will be naming my recruiting coordinator, special teams coach, and head football coach. Please let the world know if I should have mentioned a current or former defensive Hurricane coach for this post!