The University of Miami fired head Coach Randy Shannon today after an overtime loss to in state upstart South Florida, there was writing on the wall this season that Shannon may not be retained. In the end it looked like the pressure to succeed was too much and all of the turmoil surrounding the program has now been silenced. Mark Whipple was also let go, and Jeff Stoutland was named interim head coach for the bowl game as Miami is starting a National search for a head coach.
According to various reports the decision was made by athletic director Kirby Hocutt without the assistance of anyone else. That does not seem likely as we know Shalala and the board of trustees had their say in the matter which leads some to believe that this decision was already done before the USF game.
In his press release Hocutt had this to say, “We have made a decision to seek new leadership for our football program,” “Our expectations are to compete for championships and return to the top of the college football world. We will immediately begin a national search.” - Miami Press Release
The issue now turns to a search for a new head coach.
During his four year tenure as Miami head coach Randy Shannon was a very polarizing figure in the Hurricanes community. The fans base was as divided as it has ever been, and four years later that division has gotten bigger in recent weeks. Shannon had a losing record against ranked opponents, and never made it to the ACC championship game with a roster that was supposedly loaded with talent.
If that was the case then Shannon failed to ever get the talent to play up to it’s potential after boasting the number one recruiting class in 2008. Jacory Harris never stopped throwing interceptions, and after replacing several coaches the right mix was never found to turn this team into a champion. You have limited time to win at Miami, and the minute you take the job the clock starts ticking and the critics start bellowing.
Shannon and Whipple were let go, and once a new coach is hired most of the other coaches will probably be let go as well. There are other problems with this program that Shannon’s firing is going to cover up temporarily, but problems that musts be dealt with at some point if the Hurricanes want to get back on top of college football.
In terms of coaching candidates here are the names that are being thrown around by fans, but none of this is substantiated to any degree and are merely brought up as talking points here.
John Gruden – This name has been thrown around, and is merely a wish list reach by fans. Supposedly there is interest there, but no confirmed reports of this. Gruden makes $4 million a year calling Monday night football with virtually no pressure, and he is always on the list for top NFL jobs. Why would he coach in college where he has to beg some kid to come play for him when he can shop for the groceries himself in the NFL?
Rich Rodriguez – Allegedly he is out at Michigan if Harbaugh wants the job, which means he could make his way to Miami. He failed at Michigan, so why would he somehow be a better fit at Miami? The offense he runs is specialized, and it would take time for him to get recruits to fit his system into the program. If he would have gotten Terrelle Pryor then we may be talking about a different story for him at Michigan, but him fitting at Miami is still an unknown.
Gary Patterson – The head coach at TCU has put together impressive runs over the past few years, and taken teams with inferior talent by most standards and made them national powers. He received a contract extension last season to the tune of $2.5 million per year, but t he important part is he has no buyout clause which means he can leave without penalty. Would Patterson leave a cushy job with hardly any expectations for the lofty expectations at Miami?
Chris Petersen – The Boise State head coach has taken a program from relative obscurity to the National Championship conversation. Petersen recently signed an extension to $1,289,053 per year, and will get a $200,000 raise on Feb. 1st , 2011 if he is still with the team. There was no mention of a buyout, but if there is one it has to be relatively small. Petersen has proven that he can take minimal talent and turn it into a winning product, but the he has the same questions as Gary Patterson. Petersen has said he has no desire to leave Boise. With hardly any expectations on him now and god like status in Idaho would he make the jump to the pressure cooker at Miami?
Those are just four speculative names, and I am sure the administration at Miami will look at many possibilities. This is a critical time for the program, there was a bit of stability starting to form under Shannon albeit the results were not where they should have been. Miami is not blowing the program up and starting over again, stability is an important thing in college football and regardless of who Miami brings in it is going to be a difficult job to get the ship headed back in the right direction. What other candidates for head coach would you like to see? Make your voice heard in the comments!
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