To the University Community:
It has been a difficult season for the Miami Hurricanes football program.
We have suffered disappointments and tragedy off and on the field.
We can and will do better for our student-athletes and our community.
We announce today that Coach Coker will no longer be our head football coach. I know that our community will join me in thanking Larry and Dianna Coker for their devotion to each and every student-athlete and for being wonderful citizens of our University and community. I want to thank our student-athletes who have worked very hard during a terribly difficult season. Coach Coker, his assistant coaches, and the team have handled this past month with class and courage.
x x x
We need a new start.
The University is immediately launching a search for a new coach. This is a great University, and we will recruit a great coach. We are looking for an experienced and successful coach of the highest integrity who understands and loves the Miami tradition of success and football family. He must be a great recruiter, of high character, committed to winning championships, academic success, and to the University community. We want someone who wants to be at the University of Miami, who is well organized, inspirational, and can attract a first-rate staff.
The successful candidate must have outstanding professional abilities and personal characteristics. Our new coach must have the leadership skills to serve as a strong example for our coaching staff and the personal qualities to be actively engaged with our community, alumni, and team supporters. Continuing excellence is our highest priority. We are prepared to pay competitive salaries and continue to build and maintain excellent facilities.
We will be engaging Chuck Neinas, former Commissioner of the Big Eight Conference and former Executive Director of the College Football Association, to assist us. We will consult widely with our alumni, including athletes now or formerly in the NFL, and supporters as well as our own ACC Commissioner and the Commissioners of other conferences.
We are well aware of the tight timelines for our recruiting and commitments. We hope our supporters will continue to have little patience for anything less than a first-class effort.
We intend to continue to make good on the promises we have made to our newest recruits and their families. We have long-standing ties to high schools, coaches, locally and nationally, and we will fulfill their expectations.
I also recognize that our assistant coaches have worked very hard and that many have young families. Although most of their contracts end in December, we will continue to pay them their full salaries until June 1st.
Since my arrival at UM, I have promised that we will strive for excellence in everything we do. It has been evident this season that we have not progressed. It is time for us to reclaim our championship tradition.
I have directed Vice President for Advancement and Communication Sergio M. Gonzalez to begin a six-month fundraising sprint to secure commitments from our supporters/donors to finance competitive coaching contracts and build and renovate first-class facilities and programs for our first-class coaches and student athletes.
Our primary responsibility is to our student-athletes. We believe they deserve the best coaching in the country. We believe and have demonstrated at Miami that it is possible to have the finest program, play by the rules, and have high graduation rates.
Finally, I want to make it clear that no celebration is in order today.
This was not an easy decision. We made it for our University and our community.
They have high expectations of us, and we don't intend to let them down.
Letter from President Shalala on Coker
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