John Shannon Will Be MU's New OC

University of Toledo assistant coach John Shannon is believed to have accepted an offer to become Marshall's new offensive coordinator, according to sources within the program. Shannon, who has been the Rockets' offensive coordinator for the past three seasons, was interviewed by Marshall Coach Mark Snyder here last week.

Shannon's intentions came to light when a Conference USA coach telephoned Shannon to recommend a fellow assistant for a vacant position on Toledo's offensive coaching staff. Shannon reportedly responded by saying that he wouldn't be at Toledo because he was accepting the offensive coordinator job at Marshall, according to the Charleston Daily Mail's Chuck Landon in Tuesday's editions.

The rumor that Shannon was scheduled to be back in Huntington on Tuesday to sign a contract was verified when WSAZ TV-3 had an interview with Shannon in the Marshall football office used by the offensive coordinator in the past 16 years since the Herd moved into the Shewey Athletic Center in 1992. Marshall athletics is expected to make an official release on Wednesday, in conjunction with National Signing Day.

Under Shannon, Toledo's offense has consistently been at or near the top of the MAC in most offensive categories. In 2005, the Rockets ranked first in the MAC and 10th in the nation in scoring (35.7 points); first in the MAC and 15th in total offense (447.1 yards/game); and first in the MAC and 13th in rushing offense (216.8). The Rockets scored 40 or more points five times, including 45 in their 45-13 victory over UTEP in the GMAC Bowl.

Shannon also has guided an NFL quarterback in his time at UT, Bruce Gradkowski of the Tampa Bay Buccanneers. Gradkowski was named co-MVP of the Mid-American Conference in 2005 and was selected in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft by Tampa Bay. Gradkowski ended his college career with 21 school records and three MAC marks.

Seven Rockets have been named to the All-MAC Offensive Team in Shannon's two seasons as the OC. In 2006, offensive lineman John Greco, running back Jalen Parmele and tight end Chris Hopkins made first-team All-MAC. In 2005, Gradkowski, running back Trinity Dawson, Greco and Hopkins made the All-MAC squad.

Prior to being named offensive coordinator in 2005, Shannon had two very successful seasons as the Rockets' receivers coach. In 2004, the Rocket passing game amassed a school-record 298.4 passing yards per game, which also ranked eighth in the country. UT receivers caught 23.7 passes per game, the second-most in school history, and had 28 touchdown receptions, also second in school history.

On Friday, Feb. 1, MU announced Rick Minter had accepted the Marshall football job as defensive coordinator for the Thundering Herd. Minter, the former head coach at Cincinnati and defensive coordinator at Notre Dame in 2005-06, was introduced at a press conference Friday by Marshall head coach Mark Snyder.

Minter was the head coach at the University of Cincinnati. During 10 seasons as head coach at UC (1994-2003), he led the Bearcats to four post-season bowl games and was the winningest coach in the program's history. Minter's 2002 team was co-champion of Conference USA. His 1997 team finished 8-4 after a Humanitarian Bowl victory over Utah State, marking the first bowl appearance for Cincinnati since 1951. Minter's Bearcats had three straight seven-win campaigns from 2000-2002 - and all three seasons resulted in postseason bowl invitations.

In 2005-06, he was the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame. Minter's name jumped to the front at Marshall when former SMU head coach Phil Bennett declined the DC job last week at Marshall, and it is believed he is weighing a BCS school defensive job vs. a turn in the NFL. Snyder has kept his focus on recruiting in the past two weeks, and landed two recruits yesterday when he was reportedly in Houston.

According to Anthony Hanshew of The Herald-Dispatch, in Friday's edition (at www.herald-dispatch.com on-line) that nothing was finalized, according to Snyder. According to that SportingNews.com report on Thursday, Minter would hired to replace Steve Dunap, who served one season at Marshall before being hired at West Virginia. Marshall athletic director Bob Marcum confirmed that Minter was en route to Huntington Thursday afternoon. "Rick is on his way here," Marcum said. "We have not signed him to anything right now, but I know he's on his way here.

For now, it appears Snyder will concentrate on the search for an offensive coordinator to replace Larry Kueck, who was released at the end of the 3-9 2007 season, after signing day on Wednesday, February 6. Marshall will hold a press conference to announce the recruits who have sent in their Letters of Intent at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.


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