Randy Leonard Shannon (born February 24, 1966) is an American football coach and former player who is currently the defensive coordinator at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Previously, Shannon was the head football coach at the University of Miami from 2007 to 2010, and has served as an assistant coach or defensive coordinator for the National Football League's Miami Dolphins and for several college teams, including at Miami, where he won the Frank Broyles Award as the nation's top collegiate assistant coach in 2001. Before UCF, Shannon served as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the University of Florida Gators and was the Gators' interim head coach for the last four games of the 2017 season.
|Born||February 24, 1966|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1991||Miami (FL) (GA)|
|1992||Miami (FL) (DL)|
|1993–1997||Miami (FL) (LB)|
|1998–1999||Miami Dolphins (assistant)|
|2000||Miami Dolphins (LB)|
|2001–2005||Miami (FL) (DC)|
|2006||Miami (FL) (DC/LB)|
|2017||Florida (DC/interim HC)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|1 National (2001) As Assistant|
|Honorable-mention All-American (1988)|
Broyles Award (2001)
Shannon was born and raised in Miami, Florida. As a football player, he was a linebacker for the Miami Hurricanes from 1985 to 1988 and played two seasons professionally for the Dallas Cowboys, all under head coach Jimmy Johnson.
Shannon was born in Miami, Florida, and grew up in the Liberty City neighborhood. When he was 3 years old, his father was murdered. His older twin brothers, who became addicted to crack cocaine when Shannon was 10, both died of AIDS, as did his older sister.
Shannon attended Miami Norland High School, where he earned All-state honors playing football as a defensive back in his senior year. He also played basketball, averaging 19 points a game, and was a member of the track team.
He was converted into an outside linebacker as a redshirt freshman. The next year as a backup, he tallied 82 tackles (fifth on the team), including 13 against the University of Pittsburgh that was led by running back Craig Heyward.
As a junior, he was named the starter at strongside linebacker and was considered a coach on the field. In the first game, he returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown against the University of Florida. He had 13 tackles against the University of Notre Dame and East Carolina University. He compiled 87 tackles (4 for loss), while helping the team win the 1987 national championship team.
As a senior, he was a part of a squad that ranked second in the nation in total defense. He had a career-high 14 tackles against the University of Michigan. He registered 83 tackles (fourth on the team), 8 tackles for loss (fourth on the team), 5 sacks (fourth on the team), 8 passes defensed (first on the team) and 3 forced fumbles (first on the team).
He graduated from the University of Miami with a bachelor's degree in 1988; he was the first member of his family to earn a college degree. Of the 25 games he started in his career, the Hurricanes won 24.
Shannon was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the eleventh round (280th overall pick) in the 1989 NFL Draft, after dropping because he did not have the prototypical size of an NFL linebacker. The Cowboys were coached by his former Hurricanes coach, Jimmy Johnson.
As a low round draft choice, he surprised observers by making the team. He was named a starter in the third game of the season against the Washington Redskins, becoming the first Cowboys rookie to start at outside linebacker since Dave Edwards did it in 1963. In his 4 starts he made 38 tackles (including 11 both against the Redskins and the Green Bay Packers). He also was second on the team with 14 special teams tackles and played in all three linebacker spots, including middle linebacker on passing downs. He finished the season with 50 tackles, 3 quarterback pressures, one pass defensed and one forced fumble.
On September 3, 1990, he was waived, but was later brought back to play in one game. He was released on October 1.
During his time in the league, Johnson credited him with teaching his "bigger, faster linebackers how to play the position." Shannon played in 17 NFL regular season games for the Cowboys during the 1989 and 1990 seasons, starting four of them.
Miami Hurricanes head coach Dennis Erickson hired Shannon in 1991 to be a graduate assistant. He later became the team's defensive line coach and linebackers coach. Shannon worked as a defensive assistant for the NFL's Miami Dolphins in 1998 and 1999, and became the linebackers coach for the Dolphins in 2000.
In 2001, Miami Hurricanes head coach Larry Coker hired Shannon to be the Canes' defensive coordinator. That year Miami won the BCS National Championship, and Shannon received the Broyles Award recognizing him as the best assistant coach in college football. The Hurricanes' 2001 national championship team is widely considered to be one of the greatest college football teams of all time. During Shannon's six years as the Hurricanes defensive coordinator, his defenses consistently finished among the best in the nation:
Miami Hurricanes head coach
Shannon was introduced as the head coach of Miami on December 8, 2006, replacing Larry Coker. Shannon reportedly agreed to a four-year deal worth over $4 million. He was the sixth African-American head coach at the time in Division I-A NCAA football. Coker stayed on to coach the team to a 21–20 MPC Computers Bowl victory over the University of Nevada; Shannon assumed all other functions, including recruiting, immediately upon his hiring.
Shannon's first decision as head coach was to remove the players' surnames from their jerseys, in order to emphasize the team over individual members. Some fans complained the decision made the game more difficult to follow.
The season opened with a victory over Marshall in his first game as head coach. The second game was a 51–13 loss to No. 6 University of Oklahoma. Miami rebounded by defeating Florida International, Duke, and then-16th ranked Texas A&M, but then lost close games to unranked North Carolina, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State. One highlight was Miami's fourth quarter comeback against rival Florida State. However, this was offset by a 48–0 loss against No. 21 University of Virginia in the team's final appearance ever at the Orange Bowl, the worst loss for the program in the history of its play at the Orange Bowl and the worst overall loss since 1998. Miami finished the season losing to No. 16 Boston College 28–14. Under Shannon, the team lost six out of their last seven games, finishing with a losing record and failing to qualify for a bowl game for the first time in over a decade.
Two days after the season ended, one of Miami's former players, Sean Taylor, was shot in his home in Miami. Shannon expressed frustration over the media's handling of such incidents, stating that the coverage made it appear as though the University of Miami is a haven for crime.
Shannon's squad finished the 2008 season with a 7–6 record (4-4 ACC) and a loss to Cal in the Emerald Bowl. The regular season was highlighted by losses to eventual National Champion Florida and rival Florida State, and a surprising victory over eventual ACC Champion Virginia Tech. The 'Canes briefly returned to the Top 25 rankings for the first time since early in the 2006 season before surrendering 472 rushing yards to Georgia Tech in a 41–23 late-November loss that eliminated Miami from ACC Championship contention. Tech's 472 yards on the ground were the second most ever allowed by Miami. Miami then received an invitation to the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco, where the Hurricanes fell 24–17 to Cal.
In the immediate aftermath of the bowl game, Shannon fired his offensive coordinator, Patrick Nix, over philosophical differences. Nix wanted to employ more of a spread attack, whereas Shannon remained committed to Miami's traditional pro style offense. Shannon eventually hired former Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles assistant coach Mark Whipple for the position.
Nix's departure was followed by news that Robert Marve, a redshirt-freshman quarterback who had been suspended from the bowl game for repeatedly missing class, asked for a release to transfer to another school. Marve cited a strained relationship with Shannon, who had previously suspended him after his arrest for criminal mischief, as his reason for leaving. Marve was the only Hurricanes player to be arrested during Shannon's tenure as head coach.
Shannon's staff suffered more upheaval when defensive coordinator Bill Young left to assume the same position at Oklahoma State, his alma mater, in late January. Young's departure made him the third coordinator to leave the program during Shannon's two seasons as head coach, joining Nix and former defensive coordinator Tim Walton, both of whom were fired. North Carolina assistant John Lovett was hired to replace Young in February.
Randy Shannon's Hurricanes showed improvement in the 2009 season, in which the Canes finished with a record of 9–4. The Canes were the first college football team in nine years to face four consecutive ranked teams to start the season. They surpassed expectations by going 3-1 in those games, including wins over No. 19 Florida State, No. 13 Georgia Tech, and No. 8 Oklahoma. The Hurricanes went 6-2 over the remainder of the regular season, then lost 20-14 against No. 22 Wisconsin in the Citrus Bowl. Miami finished the season ranked No. 19 in the country. It marked the second consecutive year that Shannon's team had shown a two-win improvement.
The Hurricanes started the year with high expectations, ranked 13th in the Associated Press and Coaches Poll. However, after winning three of their first four games, they were beaten at home by No. 24 Florida State, 45–17. They went 4-3 over the rest of the regular season, with losses to Virginia, No. 15 Virginia Tech and South Florida. Though they were ranked in the top-25 until the final two games of the season, the season-ending loss to South Florida left them unranked heading into the Sun Bowl.
Although he left Miami with an unremarkable win-loss record by the program's previous standards, Shannon still left a significant legacy at the program. He guided the school to the third-best Academic Progress Rate in NCAA Division I FBS. In his four-year tenure at Miami, only a single player was arrested. Perhaps most significantly, he was apparently untainted by the scandal that engulfed the program in the 2011 season, as he avoided contact with Nevin Shapiro, the rogue booster who admitted to providing massive amounts of improper benefits to Miami players from 2002 to 2010. Sports Illustrated writer Alexander Wolff, in an August 2011 open letter to university president Donna Shalala, noted that Shannon "seems to have been the only person in Coral Gables who wanted nothing to do with Shapiro, reportedly warning his players to avoid him and threatening to fire assistants caught dealing with him."
Though Shannon's teams went through some struggles on the field, he consistently brought in recruiting classes ranked in the top 25. Three members of his second recruiting class—Marcus Forston, Sean Spence and Marcus Robinson—were recognized by College Football News as freshman All-Americans.
TCU Horned Frogs linebackers coach
In July 2012, Shannon became the linebackers coach at TCU. Shannon participated in his first game as a member of the TCU coaching staff on September 8, 2012, a 56-0 victory over Grambling. As of October 2, TCU was undefeated and ranked 2nd in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 7.3 points per game. They ranked 2nd in passing efficiency defense, 2nd in interceptions, 9th in rushing defense, and 7th in total yards allowed per game.
Arkansas Razorbacks linebackers coach
In December 2012, Shannon was hired by the new incoming Arkansas Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema to be a part of his staff as a linebackers coach and be a major part of their recruiting efforts in south Florida. Shannon was promoted to associate head coach before the 2014 season.
Florida Gators associate head coach / defensive coordinator
Shannon returned to his home state in January 2015 when he became the Florida Gators' associate head coach, co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach under new head coach Jim McElwain. McElwain stated that Shannon was at the top of his list for potential assistants, and media sports commentators opined that Shannon would be a significant recruiting asset for McElwain and the Gators, especially in south Florida. With Shannon serving as the co-coordinator with Geoff Collins, the Florida defense was ranked in the top 20 in the nation in 2015 and fifth nationally in 2016.
Collins accepted the head coaching position at Temple in December 2016, and Shannon was promoted to be Florida's full-time defensive coordinator for the 2017 season. On October 29, 2017, he became Florida's interim head coach when Jim McElwain was fired eight games into the season. Shannon coached the Gators to a 1-3 record to finish the year, after which Florida hired Dan Mullen to be the Gators' new head coach. Mullen brought in an entirely new coaching staff, and Shannon was not retained.
UCF Knights defensive coordinator
On December 5, 2017, Shannon was hired as the defensive coordinator for the University of Central Florida (UCF).
Head coaching record
|Miami Hurricanes (Atlantic Coast Conference) (2007–2010)|
|2008||Miami||7–6||4–4||T–3rd (Coastal)||L Emerald|
|2009||Miami||9–4||5–3||3rd (Coastal)||L Champs Sports||19||19|
|Miami:||28–22||16–16||*Shannon was fired from Miami before bowl game.|
|Florida Gators (Southeastern Conference) (2017)|
|Florida:||1–3||0–2||*Shannon was named Florida's head coach on Oct 29|
- "Shannon's On Board - UCF". UCF Athletics (Press release). December 5, 2017. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
- Susan Miller Degnan; et al. (December 7, 2006). "UM chooses Shannon as head football coach". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on December 13, 2006. Retrieved December 7, 2006.
- Wine, Steve (December 9, 2006). "Shannon: 'Hard Times' to 'Canes Coach". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
- Hyde, David (September 23, 2009). "Miami coach Randy Shannon brings real life experience to Hurricanes". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
- "Randy Shannon: Profile". HurricaneSports.com. Archived from the original on August 27, 2009. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
- "Transactions". Retrieved April 30, 2018.
- Smith, Gary (September 4, 2007). "Hiding in Plain Sight". CNNSI. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
- Pro-Football-Reference.com, Players, Randy Shannon. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
- The others being Sylvester Croom (Mississippi State), Karl Dorrell (UCLA), Tyrone Willingham (Washington), Ron Prince (KSU), and Turner Gill (Buffalo).
- The Associated Press, Mark Schlabach & Joe Schad (December 7, 2006). "Defensive coordinator Shannon new Miami Coach". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
- "A No Name Offense and Defense," The Miami Herald, July 24, 2007, page 3D.
- "Shannon, 'Canes seeking quick turnaround".
- "Shannon exclusive (part I)". Miami Herald. November 28, 2007. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
- "Georgia Tech racks up 473 rushing yards, dampers No. 23 Miami's ACC title hopes". ESPN.com. November 20, 2008. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
- Joey Johnston (December 31, 2008). "Drama-Filled Marve Saga at UM Comes to End'". Tampa Tribune.
- "Marve granted release from Hurricanes scholarship". ESPN. December 30, 2008. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
- Murphy, Austin (September 22, 2010). "Shannon leading Miami through renaissance on and off the field". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
- "Canes choose Lovett as D.C." CNN. February 9, 2009. Archived from the original on February 12, 2009.
- "Miami begins season with four tough games". USA Today. August 25, 2009. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
- Wolff, Alexander (August 29, 2011). "16 Years Later, It's Time To Get Real". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
- 2007 Team Ranking. rivals100.rivals.com
- "Miami claims top 2008 recruiting class – insider – ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. June 1, 2009. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
- Cirminiello, Richard (December 11, 2008), "2008 CFN All-Freshman Defensive Team", College Football News, archived from the original on December 14, 2008
- "Miami fires coach Randy Shannon", ESPN, November 27, 2010, retrieved February 28, 2018
- "Arkansas hires former Miami coach Randy Shannon as LBs coach". Retrieved February 28, 2018.
- "Shannon Sees 'Chance To Win Championships' At Arkansas". Retrieved February 28, 2018.
- Harper, Doc. "Reports: Randy Shannon Leaving Arkansas Razorbacks For Florida". arkansasfight.com. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
- Simonton, Jesse (January 5, 2015). "Former UM coach Randy Shannon joins Florida Gators' new staff". The Miami Herald. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
- Thompson, Edgar (January 7, 2015). "Randy Shannon 'at the top of my list' when hiring Gators assistant coaches". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
- University of Florida. "2017 Florida Football Media Guide" (PDF). floridagators.com. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
- "McElwain, UAA Mutually Agree to Part Ways". Florida Gators. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
- "University of Florida Selects Dan Mullen as Head Football Coach" (Press release). Florida Gators. November 26, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2018.