For four sometimes disastrous, sometimes monumental years, Randy Shannon was the head coach for the Hurricanes. However, what is his legacy at Miami?
Replacing Larry Coker at the end of the 2006 season, Shannon came in with high praise, as he was the first African American head coach in the history of the program.
Hiring Shannon seemed like a great choice to the people around the program. He was a National Champion during his time as a player at Miami in the late 80’s. and was a coordinator for the Dolphins and the Hurricanes before being hired as head coach.
To his credit, Shannon didn’t necessarily inherit the same talented program that Coker had several years before, following a disastrous 06 season.
Through the years, Shannon definitely had his teams playing at a high level. Some of his highest accomplishments were mainly during the 2009 season, which included dramatic wins over Florida State and Oklahoma, and ultimately ending the year with a 9-4 record, his best at Miami.
Though, with the wins came some embarrassing losses, and very forgettable seasons.
2007, his first year as head coach couldn't have gone worse. The season actually started off semi-decent, besides a 51-13 drubbing at the hands of Oklahoma. Following a 4-1 start, including a win over ranked Texas A&M, it seemed as if Miami could contend for a conference championship.
However, Miami lost six of their last seven games, ending their year at 5-7. The low point obviously was a 48-0 loss to Virginia in the final game at the Orange Bowl, a loss that still haunts me to this day.
Over Shannon’s four years, more embarrassing losses followed.
2008, Miami comes into a late regular season game at Georgia Tech, holding their own destiny and in a position to play for the conference championship. The result? The Yellow Jackets whomp on Miami 41-23 and rushes for 472 YARDS, no that is not a typo.
2010 was supposed to be a season of lofty results, as Miami entered the year ranked 13th after the 9-4 2009 campaign.
In one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory, losses that season included Ohio State (thanks Jacory Harris), Virginia, then home defeats to Florida State and USF.
Following the USF loss, Shannon was fired, after signing at 4-year-extension earlier that May.
Like I said before, its not like Shannon had talented teams like today or the early 2000’s. His quarterbacks were Jacory Harris and Robert Marve. Some of this biggest players were Graig Cooper and Travis Benjamin, who definitely made some big plays and got to the end zone, but bless their hearts, they weren’t winning any championships.
So what is Shannon’s legacy?
If you look at off-the-field performance, he did a great job. His kids went to class, graduated, and at one point his academic progress rate ranked third among Division I football coaches. During his four years, only one player was arrested.
However, indeed this is Miami, and this is South Florida, and we do love winners. A 28-22 overall record, 2-2 against FSU, 0-2 in bowls, lost nine home games, and also coached Miami to only its second losing season since 1979.
Shannon will always be a Hurricane, a beloved one at that. Though, when you lose at home to USF, it was time to move on.