Randy Shannon to Coach UA Linebackers

Randy Shannon has joined Bret Bielema's staff as linebackers coach. Shannon, the former Miami head coach, was at TCU for the 2012 season. He visited with the Arkansas media Monday morning, noting he's recruited far beyond his hometown of Miami.

Randy Shannon has been hired to coach the Arkansas linebackers, leaving TCU after one season in a similar job. UA head coach Bret Bielema made the announcement Sunday night.

Bielema's staff still has two openings, presumably in responsibilities to coach tight ends and cornerbacks.

Shannon has won three national titles as a player and coach.

"Randy Shannon is a great coach and a great person," said Bielema. "He has been a part of multiple national championship teams and, more importantly, he changed the lives of numerous young men.

"He has spent nearly his entire coaching career at Miami, and his defenses consistently ranked inside the top 10 nationally. I think a lot of people know Randy got a lot of great things done at Miami and most recently with TCU.

"He is a disciplinarian who has high standards, and he is skillful at relating to his players. He is a coach players turn to for guidance, and his players have always been prepared and played with intensity and desire."

Shannon is perhaps viewed first as a Miami guy. He's spent almost all of his life in Miami and he does have recruiting ties to South Florida. But he said Monday morning in an interview with the Arkansas media that his past recruiting areas are vast.

"I was a universal, national recruiter," he said. "I was in Memphis, California, New Jersey, Chicago and parts of St. Louis," he said. "This last year (coaching at TCU), I was in Houston and Florida. My background is that I can go everywhere."

Shannon said he's been friends with Bielema since they met at a hospital. He said he regularly visited with Bielema during the season, sometimes as often as twice a year. He said they had run across each other recruiting in South Florida. He said he also had become friends with new UA assistants Charlie Partridge and Sam Pittman on the recruiting trails in Florida.

"I met Bret a longtime ago," he said. "Both of us were assistants. We've communicated during the season since then.

"I look at Arkansas and think it's a great place. One of my former players, (Cortez) Kennedy, is from Arkansas. He played at Miami, but he called me and told me he was excited for me to be coming to Arkansas and it's a great opportunity."

Shannon said it's "thrilling" to be a part of the staff Bielema is assembling with the Hogs.

"It's an unbelievable staff," he said. "I've known a couple of guys. It's a unique chance to work with a very great staff. I know we are going to accomplish great things.

"I know Charlie Partridge. He is from Ft. Lauderdale. I know Sam Pittman. I know about Chris Ash. He's done great things as a coordinator at Wisconsin and will continue to do great things at Arkansas. I look forward to working for Coach Ash. I just want to be the greatest linebacker coach that there is for him. He's running this defense.

The Hogs finished the season with two true freshmen in the starting lineup at inside linebacker. Shannon was asked if he was aware of the depth situation and his thoughts on those two sophomores-to-be, A. J. Turner and Otha Peters.

"If you look at my track record, I take the approach that whoever shows up to play, I coach them like they are All-Americans," he said. "When Gary Patterson called me about the TCU job last year, he said they didn't have any linebackers and that I might be coaching walk-ons that are 5-11, 205. We had a walk-on make second team All-American and he was eighth or 10th in the Big 12 in tackles for lost yardage.

"I think we'll be alright if we have guys who really want to work. I told Gary then that we'll be fine."

There were reports last year that Shannon was going to be named Arkansas defensive coordinator. Shannon said there will "always be rumors" in the coaching business. He said he never talked to then Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino.

But he's been to Arkansas -- as the winner of the Broyles Award in 2001 at Miami -- and to Fayetteville for track meets.

"That was a great award for me to win," he said. "I didn't think I would win it because I was a first-time coordinator. It was an exciting time. I met a lot of people from Arkansas and a lot of them have reached out to me.

"I've been to Fayetteville for track meets, because I'm a big fan of track," he said. "I've had dual sport athletes at Miami -- Santana Moss and Ed Reid. I believe you can have dual roles, but what I look for is a playmaker who runs track, not a track athlete who plays football. I look for playmakers."

Shannon said he was busy packing and hoped to be in Fayetteville before the weekend.

Last season, Shannon coached linebackers at TCU following a four-year stint as head coach at the University of Miami, where he led the Hurricanes to a 28-22 record from 2007-10. Before rising to the head position, Shannon was the defensive coordinator for Miami from 2001-06 and was an assistant coach for the Hurricanes from 1991-97.

In between his stints on the Coral Gables campus, Shannon spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the Miami Dolphins. Shannon, who lettered at Miami from 1985-88, was part of three of the Hurricanes' five national championships as a player and assistant coach.

Shannon's linebacker unit excelled in TCU's first season in the Big 12. Kenny Cain was a second-team All-Big 12 selection by the Associated Press and the conference's coaches, and Joel Hasley was an AP honorable mention all-conference performer. Cain made a career-high 14 tackles in a victory at Texas, the most for a TCU linebacker in a game since 2004, and Hasley ranked ninth in the conference in tackles for loss per game.

As a team, the Horned Frogs led the Big 12 in rushing defense and total defense and ranked second in the conference in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense. TCU's average of 103.92 rushing yards per game allowed was 10th in the NCAA, and the team's average of 332.00 total yards allowed per game ranked 18th in the country despite facing five of the nation's top-12 offenses. TCU also led the Big 12 in third-down defense, first downs allowed and three-and-outs per game.

In 2010, Miami earned a 7-5 record, including a 5-3 mark in the ACC, and a berth in the Sun Bowl. In 2009, Shannon guided his team to the program's best mark since the 2005 campaign as Miami made its 35th overall bowl appearance, finishing 9-4 overall and 5-3 in ACC play. Four Hurricanes earned first team All-ACC honors, and Miami was one of only nine teams to rank in the top 35 in both total offense and total defense. Miami knocked off three teams ranked in the Top 25 in its first four games, had nine players earn All-ACC postseason honors and saw its offense put up 5,199 yards, the most since 2002 when the team played for the national championship.

All of Shannon's Miami teams were able to uphold UM's academic success off the field. His UM football teams achieved NCAA Academic Progress Rates (APR) of 978, 977, 969 and 966, which have all ranked in the top 10 nationally. The 978 APR in the 2010 APR report was tied for the sixth-highest rate in the country. The 977 APR in the 2009 report was the seventh-highest rate in the country out of 119 Bowl-Subdivision football programs. Those rates also were the second highest in the Atlantic Coast Conference and highest among all schools in Florida.

In his second season in 2008, he guided the Hurricanes to the program's 34th overall bowl appearance at the 2008 Emerald Bowl. Miami finished the season 7-6 and one game out of first place with a 4-4 mark in the ACC.

Prior to being named head coach at Miami, Shannon was the school's defensive coordinator for six seasons and coached top 10 defenses in five of those six seasons. In his first season back, 2001, the Hurricanes won their fifth national championship and he became the first UM coach to be named the winner of the Frank Broyles Award, presented annually to the nation's top assistant coach. The Hurricanes had 25 defensive players taken in the NFL Drafts from 2002-07, including 12 first-round picks.

Shannon produced defenses that rank among the best in the history of the program. Despite a 7-6 record in 2006, the defense ranked seventh in the country in total defense, allowing just 255.5 yards per game, fourth in rushing defense with a school-record 67.9 yards allowed per game and 13th in scoring defense at15.5 points allowed per game.

He was a graduate assistant in 1991 when the Hurricanes won their fourth national championship and in 1992 became a full-time assistant coach working with the defensive line. From 1993-97 he coached linebackers, including Ray Lewis, a 13-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year who was a first-round pick by the Baltimore Ravens in the 1996 NFL Draft. Shannon was a defensive assistant with the Miami Dolphins in 1998 and 1999 before assuming the role of linebackers coach in 2000.

As a player at Miami, Shannon was a four-year letterman at linebacker and the starter on the 1987 national championship team. He received the Christopher Plumer Award for most inspirational player as a senior in 1988. Shannon concluded his career in 1988 when he ranked fourth on the team in tackles, sacks and tackles for loss, while leading the team in passes broken up and forced fumbles.

Randy Shannon Coaching History
Dec. 2012 Arkansas (Linebackers)
2012 TCU (Linebackers)
2007-10 University of Miami (head coach)
2001-06 University of Miami (defensive coordinator)
2000 Miami Dolphins (linebackers)
1998-99 Miami Dolphins (defensive assistant)
1993-97 University of Miami (linebackers)
1992 University of Miami (defensive line)
1991 University of Miami (graduate assistant)

Home Town: Miami, Fla. Birthdate: Feb. 24, 1966

Bowl Games: Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, 2012; Sun Bowl, 2010; Champs Sports Bowl, 2009; Emerald Bowl, 2008; MPC Computers Bowl, 2006; Peach Bowl, 2005; Peach Bowl, 2004; Orange Bowl 2004; Fiesta Bowl 2003; Rose Bowl 2002; Carquest Bowl, 1996; Orange Bowl, 1995; Fiesta Bowl, 1994; Sugar Bowl, 1993; Orange Bowl, 1992

Gene's Page Top Stories