End of Another Era

The Randy Shannon era lasted just under four years. 22 losses and no conference championship game appearances later and the University of Miami has decided to go in a different direction.

Randy Shannon was a very good linebacker on some very good Miami teams in the late 80's. He had a brief NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys. He was college football's assistant Coach of the Year in 2001. Ever since his football career started, Shannon's been very successful.

Shannon was not, however, able to conquer his most recent task -- turning the UM football program around.

After taking over for former head coach Larry Coker in December of 2006, Shannon was able to save the 2007 recruiting class. Despite the fact that several of the recruits who were offered after Shannon took over didn't end up panning out (Daniel Adderley, Shawnbrey McNeal, etc), he was able to bring in a solid haul. Allen Bailey and Leonard Hankerson were the headliners in that class.

Shannon's first season didn't go too well. After getting steamrolled by its first quality opponent (Oklahoma), the Canes finished the season with a 5-7 record, failing to quality for a bowl game.

Shannon played a key role in Miami signing one of the nation's best recruiting classes in 2008. That's when people started getting really excited about this program again. Things seemed to be headed in the right direction.

A tough, well-played game against Florida early in the season was the first of six losses, as the Canes fell apart late in the season. The 2008 campaign ended with a loss to California in the bowl game, where Shannon's defense couldn't slow down Jahvid Best.

2009 brought even higher expectations. Jacory Harris was taking over as the full-time quarterback. New offensive coordinator Mark Whipple brought a lot of knowledge and experience from his NFL days.

The team went 9-4 last season and showed flashes of brilliance at times, including a dominating win over Georgia Tech early in the season. A loss to Wisconsin in the bowl game, however, stalled some of the momentum heading into the offseason.

The 2010 Hurricanes entered the season as one of the most talented and experienced teams in all of college football.

The team, again, fell way short of expectations. A 28-point loss to Florida State at home hurt. A road loss to a very bad Virginia team hurt even more. And an overtime loss to South Florida on Saturday hurt the most and probably put the nail in Shannon's head coaching coffin.

Four seasons. Two offensive coordinators. Two defensive coordinators. Two recruiting coordinators. Five starting quarterbacks. The more things changed at Miami, under Shannon, the more the record and direction of the program stayed the same.

22 losses, no bowl victories, and a bunch of middle-of-the-pack finishes in a very average ACC conference aren't the expectations at Miami, Kirby Hocutt and Donna Shalala must agree.

Shannon has done some great things during his time here. He was a very good defensive coordinator for many seasons. As head coach, his players stayed out of trouble and went to class. He has some of the best young coaches in college football, such as linebackers coach Micheal Barrow, working under him.

Unfortunately for Shannon, his time is up. That era of UM football is over. It's time to move on.

Now let the excitement begin as to what will be next.

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