How much is my raise?
That's what Miami opted for in signing head coach Randy Shannon to a new deal today. The feeling around the ACC, at least from comments on ACC related blogs, is one of relief. That's certainly my feeling. Shannon is, by most accounts, a pretty good guy who has brought discipline & accountability to a once lawless program. And yes, it was Miami that was honored with Duke for their football APR (Academic Progress Rate) this week. So they've got that going for them. But while they may be in a position to win Quiz Bowls are they any closer to winning real bowl games?
I'll grant you Larry Coker did a hell of a job in eviscerating a once mighty program during the short time he ran the Canes' empire. And while Shannon has shown progress, it's been at best slow. His record overall at Miami is 21-17. He's managed to go 5-7, 7-6, 9-4 in his three seasons at the helm. Steady, but this is Miami, a team that served as basically a farm club for the NFL in the 1990's & early in the 00's (aughts, love that....). Shannon actually has a losing record, 11-13, in ACC play during his tenure. So will progress continue?
Maybe, but while Miami president Donna Shalala believes that Shannon "will get us back where we belong, competing for a national championship year after year", we just don't see it. Shannon is a caretaker coach, a program manager at best. Can he win? Yes, there's still fertile recruiting ground in South Florida & a heavy dose of tradition that benefits Miami. Can he compete for national championships every year & return the Miami program to its glory days? We're not buying. As we said earlier, Shannon is a caretaker coach & thus really only as good as his coordinators. Yes, he has two good ones right now in Mark Whipple & John Lovett.
John Lovitz is Miami's defensive coordinator? Who knew?
But how long will they stick around? It's no secret that Whipple wants to be a head coach & has already interviewed or been mentioned for other jobs (South Florida). And lest ye' forget, Shannon did famously hire away Patrick Nix from Tech, a move so baffling that even Steven Hawking couldn't figure it out. We do, however, thank him for ridding us of Mr. Nix.
So while Miami did the correct thing in extending Shannon, much as Tech did in extending Chan Gailey after his first deal, it may not be the best thing for the program. That's an apt parallel & one that will most likely hold true. Will they ever be bad? No, they'll win games & be above average, much like Tech was under Gailey. But will they rise to the once lofty heights the Miami program once occupied? Not under Shannon. So while the slumbering giant in South Florida may have stirred a bit, it's four more years of calm while Shannon's at the helm. And that, without a doubt, is good for Tech......