Shannon tells AP he wants to coach again
Nearly a year ago, everything changed for Miami coach Randy
Shannon. He was fired by his alma mater, his hometown school, the
place he had been for virtually every bit of his adult life.
Time has healed most of that wound.
In an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press, Shannon
discussed his past, his future, how the Hurricanes look under new
coach Al Golden – and the investigation into claims made by former
Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, allegations that have already rocked
the athletic department and could impact the football team for
He’s ready to move on to the next challenge, and now just waits
for someone to bring the invitation his way.
”I needed this year to sit out,” said Shannon, who was fired
last Nov. 27. ”I needed to learn something new. And I think I’ve
Shannon has been spending time at Alabama, TCU, North Carolina,
UNLV, Oregon, Iowa State and Minnesota, packing up for a week at a
time to embed with those programs and soak up knowledge.
The visits had little to do with football – he refused
invitations to sit down in X’s and O’s meetings – but rather were
about learning how the organizations worked, from security to
scheduling and anything in between.
The way Shannon sees it, he knows plenty about football at this
point in his life. After really only knowing the Miami way – he
played there, was an assistant there, a coordinator there and then
head coach – of operating the off-the-field sides of a program, he
wanted to pick and choose from an array of schools to develop a
better plan should the chance to coach come his way again.
”I spent my money and went to college,” he said. ”I met with
the strength coaches, the policemen who are around some teams,
compliance people, athletic directors, support staff. It wasn’t
just football. It was very little football. I needed to see other
things, see a lot of ways to do different things, and it made me a
whole lot better.”
Shannon was fired after Miami lost to South Florida in last
year’s regular-season finale – the teams play again Saturday in
Tampa, Fla. Before the 2010 game in Miami, a small plane circled
the stadium before kickoff displaying a banner that urged school
officials to make the change. Hours after that loss, Shannon was
gone with a 28-22 record in four seasons.
And with that, one change followed another at Miami. Athletic
director Kirby Hocutt, who fired Shannon, hired Al Golden to take
his place. Then Hocutt left to accept a job at Texas Tech, despite
insisting he would not leave the Hurricanes just a couple weeks
earlier. Shawn Eichorst was eventually hired to replace Hocutt as
Then came the August bombshell, a Yahoo Sports story detailing
claims from Shapiro that he provided 72 Miami football players and
recruits with cars, cash, yacht trips, nightclub outings, strip
club access and more.
Maybe the only thing Shannon and Shapiro agree on is this:
Neither liked the other very much.
”All I said was `Wow,”’ Shannon said when he heard of
Shapiro’s claims. ”Everybody knows what kind of person I am. I
don’t like a lot of distractions or things going on. And we did
extensive education when I was at Miami, telling kids where they
need to go, who they need to be with, who they needed to watch out
for. We did everything we could.”
Shapiro never implicated Shannon, and has even acknowledged what
many around the program say to be true – that Shannon tried to
strictly forbid his players from dealing with the booster. An
investigation by the university and the NCAA found that some of the
violations occurred while Shannon was coaching, but that the most
egregious ones involving current players happened before they
actually signed with the Hurricanes.
Shannon did not speak directly about Shapiro, declining to do so
he said in deference to the ongoing investigation at his alma
”I’ll say this: I left the place in a whole lot better shape
than when I found it,” Shannon said.
Off the field, Miami raved about Shannon. His players didn’t get
in trouble. He cleaned up the program, addressing everything from
class attendance to gun ownership. The team’s grades and graduation
rates soared. He’s already being talked about as a candidate at
some schools that either will have – or expect to have – coaching
openings after this season.
At Miami, his problem was simple. The Hurricanes didn’t win
enough games. Prominent boosters grew more disappointed. And a year
after Shannon got an extension, he got fired, a move that sent him
into a funk for months, unsure of what he’d do next.
”I’m happy that he took the time to sit and relax and enjoy
himself,” said Miami quarterback Jacory Harris, who keeps in
somewhat regular contact with Shannon.
”From just talking to him, it seems like he is enjoying
himself. I’m happy for him. He went through a lot here at the
University of Miami. It’s the only school where he would go through
things like that. If he had coached somewhere else, he would have
gotten nowhere near the amount of pressure and scrutiny he got
”Great coach, great guy,” Harris added. ”Loved his players.
It was a shame the way some people did him here. That plane last
year at the USF game, that was wrong.”
Shannon did some work with ESPN after being fired, and says now
he isn’t thinking about continuing to pursue TV. He’d rather coach.
Shannon interviewed last year for jobs at Maryland and UCLA, saying
he didn’t ”find the right fit” at either school.
He still follows Miami games, watching most on television, and
feels for what Golden has gone through since Shapiro’s claims came
out, saying ”no coach should have to deal with that.”
When he’s not traveling to various programs around the country,
Shannon is mainly home. He’s kept a finger on high school football
as well, going to games and regularly being asked when he’s
returning to the sideline. It happened again just Wednesday –
someone stopped by the table where Shannon was waiting for his
mixed-greens-and-chicken lunch, so he stood and shook the man’s
The visitor urged him to get back into coaching. Shannon assured
him he will someday.
”No regrets,” Shannon said. ”You move on. I’ve stayed down
here, not wanting to run from anybody or anything. There’s a lot of
supportive people out there. A lot of great things got done at
Miami. I think some people know that. What makes you feel good is
that you know some people still appreciate it.”
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