Randy Shannon, that "M" in Miami apparently does not stand for mediocrity. After losing in overtime today to South Florida in front of an empty home stadium, Miami has fired Randy Shannon. Courtesy of the New York Times:
Miami fired coach Randy Shannon on Saturday night, hours after the Hurricanes finished a 7-5 regular season that began with championship expectations.
Athletic director Kirby Hocutt made the call.
"We have made a decision to seek new leadership for our football program," Hocutt said in a release. "Our expectations are to compete for championships and return to the top of the college football world."
Those damn Miami fans and their unrealistic expectations, right? I mean this guy has an above .500 record over his first four years and he just won nine regular season games last year and got a big contract extension, right? Yeah, bet you won't hear that one in the coming days like you did with 'Bama and Mike Shula in December of 2006.
Seriously, though, as for Shannon, add him to that already-massive file labeled, "Proof That Contract Extensions Are Meaningless." I don't think anyone has thought this one would end well for a long time now, and in hindsight his hire never made any real sense. You fire the head coach who was responsible for your program transforming from a powerhouse to a loser, and you... hire said fired coach's top assistant?
In any event, while Shannon clearly deserved the axe, it'll be interesting to see where Miami goes next, and that job remains one of the most intriguing in the nation with a hotbed of talent, lots of championship rings, the requisite NFL pipeline, but a small budget, little fan support, a fading brand, and located in a heavily competitive state. It has potential and the program has had a lot of success in fairly recent history, but whoever takes over that program has a much harder job than many expect, especially with the rising threat posed by South Florida.
Who will Miami go after now? I'd imagine some young, up-and-coming coordinators would be at the top of the list. Will Muschamp may be there, and we might see Kirby Smart mentioned. You could probably throw out the token Gus Malzahn reference too, and I wouldn't be shocked if they made some overtures towards Dan Mullen and Kevin Sumlin. Maybe Greg Schiano would listen now after his efforts at Rutgers have apparently stalled. Either way, Miami doesn't have the budget to finance a big-name hire, so don't expect that to happen. Instead, look for them to go after a rising coordinator or a young coach who has had some success at a smaller school and who has not yet cashed in on a major paycheck.