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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Miami Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon signs four-year deal




After years of uncertainty, the University of Miami and Randy Shannon agreed to a four-year contract.

BY SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

May 13, 2010

It took a while - a really, really long while - but University of Miami football fans finally know who their coach will be in 2011 and beyond.

The same one as the past three seasons.

After months -- even years -- of waiting and wondering when and if he would get a contract extension, Randy Shannon has been rewarded with a new four-year contract, the university announced Wednesday night. Shannon was about to enter his final season of the original four-year deal.

``There's no other place I'd rather be than coaching Hurricanes football,'' Shannon said in a statement. ``I'm excited about the momentum we continue to build and our strong recruiting classes. We have dedicated student-athletes and an experienced and committed coaching staff, a strong athletic program and the university leadership's support -- all important components consistent with long-term success.''

The financial terms of the contract were not announced. It is believed Shannon started his first season as the coach in 2007 with a salary approaching $800,000 and made about $1 million in 2009. The Associated Press reported that Shannon's new salary will be ``around the midpoint'' of coaches in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

``I think it's tremendous that we have agreed to a new contract,'' UM athletic director Kirby Hocutt said by phone. ``I couldn't be more excited and pleased with the direction our football program has made and will continue to make under Randy Shannon. There was never any doubt in Randy's mind or my mind that we were not going to be able to get this done. It's a testament to Randy's continued leadership that this was announced on the same day that the NCAA announced that the UM football team's Academic Progress Rate scores in the top-10 percentile in the country.

``Randy, as I've said all along, is going to continue as our football coach. We can now turn all our focus and attention to the summer and upcoming fall.''

Shannon, 44, is 21-17 since taking over the program after Larry Coker was dismissed. He finished 9-4 last season, with the Canes losing to Wisconsin in the Champs Sports Bowl.

The 2010 season will be Shannon's 17th on the football staff at Miami. He was the defensive coordinator for six seasons, linebackers coach for five and defensive line coach and graduate assistant for one year apiece.

In an e-mail to The Miami Herald, UM president Donna Shalala said having Shannon for four more years ``means stability and reassures recruits and their families that Coach Shannon has a long-term commitment.''

As delighted as anyone to hear the news: UM quarterback Jacory Harris, who will enter his junior season with UM expected to be ranked in the Top 25.

``I'm happy,'' said Harris, who celebrated his 20th birthday Wednesday. ``That's cool. He deserves it because he's a great coach. He does so much for the program, and he has since he's been here.Recruiting-wise, guys who are looking at Miami will know they'll have a head coach for the years they'll be here.''

Chavez Grant, a former cornerback who just finished his final season, said the extension will only make the program stronger. ``It will give us stability and give Coach more confidence knowing the university believes in him. He has shown progress over the years and instilled a lot of discipline into the team.''

Former UM defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, 41, whose name is enshrined in the UM Ring of Honor and played with Shannon for one season in 1988, was ecstatic when he learned the news.

``If it weren't for Coach Shannon, I wouldn't be where I am,'' Kennedy said. ``He got me in shape going into my senior year and stayed in my apartment, sleeping on the living room floor at night to make sure I didn't go into my refrigerator.

``That's my boy. I just left a message and said, `Congratulations!' and hung up. He'll call me back. I'm sure he's tickled to death.''

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