Randy Shannon: Would he actually leave (the city of) Miami? He may not have a choice, so why not Minnesota?
By now we all know former Miami player and coach Randy Shannon was fired. We also know Jon Gruden and Mark Richt have already expressed having no interest in taking over. No matter, we all know that soon, with its attractive weather and ground-zero hotbed of high school recruits, someone will take this still-high profile job. Even if it's not what it was, much to the chagrin of many delusional alums who still think it's 1987.
Keeping that in mind, let's look at what Miami's loss could mean for a school with a coaching vacancy: the University of Minnesota, which beat every school in the nation to the punch by firing Tim Brewster to begin this year's cycle of firings.
Both men have their advantages:
Randy Shannon's credentials
According to ESPN's Tony Reali on yesterday's episode of "Around the Horn", Shannon actually had the third-highest graduation rate among Division I schools, behind only Army and Navy. A quick Google search also confirms while they may not be third (not that I doubt him), they have made vast achievements not just at the collegiate level but throughout the state of Florida giving me no reason not to believe him.
This alone is a remarkable accomplishment. A school once known as "Thug U" by accepting controversial athletes from all over the nation (but mostly in their own backyard) and its criminal past, is once again known for being a private, city-on-the-hill oasis in the midst of downtrodden and downright dangerous party-central Miami.
Howard Schnellenberger would be proud. The man who built the program we know today from 1979-1983, had it all and gave it all up prematurely for a long shot at the faded USFL before landing numerous other jobs. At just 45 years old when he took over (as ESPN's "The U" illustrates) he'd likely have been their "Joe Pa" or Bobby Bowden had be only just stayed. Still, that's another article for another day.
Also, as ESPN correctly reported, the man's record increased in wins every year until this season. From 5-7 in 2007 to 7-6 in 2008 to 9-4 last year, before this year's 7-5 axing. Still, with a team that could still go 8-5 with its bowl win, I think the firing was premature.
Not only did they just sign him to a four-year extension in May, but they now have to pay a buyout that would have been less had he been given next year, at the least, like he should have.
Another thing Shannon did that doesn't get nearly the credit it deserves is cleaning up the arrest records which had become all too common with the university. Still there are those that should have seen this correlation with the rise in graduation rate.
The only question remains is whether Mr. Miami himself, the 44-year old Miami native who played for and coached at his alma mater since 1991, would actually leave, much less to a cold place like Minnesota? My guess is no, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do to stay in the coaching game. Money talks and Minnesota appears ready to pay someone, having learned the mistakes of hiring a no-name coach last time in Brewster.
Randy Edsall's case for coach
If I had to guess who Minnesota's leading contender, or at least coach of choice would be, that would be easy: UConn's Randy Edsall.
Not only does his name not seem to be going away, as it was speculated from the beginning by local media outlets, but he just makes too much sense.
Just one win away from J.O'Christian's school record for wins with 65, the 52-year old is clearly in need of a new challenge.
After leading UConn from the Atlantic 10 conference when hired in 1999, through 1-A independent status and joining the Big East in 2004, his win totals increased every year from 2001 to 2003.
Five bowls the last seven years, including four appearances in a row (winning twice), he's done it all. Model of consistency? With 32 wins in the last four years, he averages eight a season for the once-lowly Huskies.
He gets players to the NFL. We should be asking ourselves "Who in the world would want to play football in Connecticut?" or "Who would want to play for UConn?" It's a team one wouldn't usually associate with winning, much less players having NFL aspirations or talent.
In the 2009 NFL Draft alone, four players were picked in the top two rounds: Donald Brown went 29th to Indianapolis, Darius Butler 41st to New England, William Beatty 60th to the New York Giants, and Cody Brown went 63rd to the Cardinals. Who knew UConn could be a possible NFL pipeline?
With a minimal buyout ($500,000, according to today's Minneapolis Star Tribune) everything would seem to be adding up. Compared to the gaudy numbers some coaches are due to receive, one would think: sooner or later, someone is going to end up with Edsall, why not Miami?