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Thursday, August 25, 2011

To clean up its image, North Carolina should hire Randy Shannon



By Gregg Doyel

August 23, 2011

The ideal hire for the scummy North Carolina football program would be the guy from scummy Miami.

And I'm dead serious.

North Carolina should replace Butch Davis with Randy Shannon.

That's something I first thought months ago, well before North Carolina found the backbone to get rid of Davis, and that thought hasn't been shaken by the sleaze that Yahoo found under 70-plus rocks in Coral Gables. Actually, that thought has been strengthened by the UM scandal, because there was one guy at Miami -- and only one guy -- who sniffed out Nevin Shapiro as the jock-sniffing piece of scum that he is.

And that person was Randy Shannon.

Shannon also is the same person who replaced a long line of impotent Miami coaches -- one of them being Butch Davis, come to think of it -- and put his, um, foot down and said, "No more."

No more arrests. No more academic embarrassments. No more of the stuff that had been going on since Jimmy Johnson begat Dennis Erickson begat Butch Davis begat Larry Coker.

No. More.

And you know what? There was no more. Well, almost no more. In his four years as head coach at Miami, one player was arrested. One! Contrast that to what was happening up the road in Gainesville, a city with fewer temptations than Miami, where the Florida Gators endured 25 or 30 arrests -- accounts vary because there were so damn many players arrested under Urban Meyer -- in the same time period.

At Miami, Shannon also had the third-highest lifetime APR among active coaches in Division I-A. The only coaches ahead of him were at Navy and Air Force. Not at Duke or Vanderbilt or Stanford, by the way. Only two service academies. That was Miami's academic company under Randy Shannon.


But he won only 28 games in four years, so Miami fired him. Before that could happen, though, Shannon saw through Nevin Shapiro -- the same guy you've seen smiling in this photograph with the Miami president, Donna Shalala, who is such an astute judge of character that she ran off Randy Shannon but embraced Nevin Shapiro.

Shannon didn't embrace Shapiro -- he loathed him. He told his players multiple times to stay away from that snake, and he told his coaches he would fire them if they associated with Shapiro.

That's how clean Randy Shannon is as a football coach -- and North Carolina needs somebody spotless. North Carolina football is very much like Oklahoma basketball after the Sooners were dragged into the swamp by Kelvin Sampson, then held there by a staff member under Jeff Capel.

Oklahoma needed the cleanest coach it could find, and it found him in Lon Kruger. The guy doesn't have a Hall of Fame résumé, but Kruger wins a lot more than he loses, and he's so clean that he squeaks when he walks. Oklahoma needed a guy like that to restore public confidence in its program, and Oklahoma got him.

Now it's North Carolina's turn, but I'm not confident the Tar Heels understand what they need. Lord knows they didn't know it was time to get rid of Butch Davis when it was clearly time to get rid of Butch Davis -- a year ago, when the NCAA was investigating separate scandals, when nearly 20 percent of the team was suspended and when Davis' close friend and recruiting coordinator, John Blake, was being exposed as a longtime runner for an agent.

North Carolina needs Randy Shannon, but North Carolina was the last to know it didn't need Butch Davis. Then again, a different athletic director will be making this hire at UNC, so there is hope. Also, the list of realistic candidates for the job won't be impressive, given the NCAA sanctions sure to be facing the Tar Heels. There will be some ambitious head coaches at smaller schools willing to do anything to get into a BCS conference. There will be veteran assistants at big-time football schools who've never been able to land a BCS head-coaching gig.

And there will be the guy who went to three bowls in four years at Miami, graduated his players, kept them out of arrest reports and was the only person on campus who tried to steer the UM football team away from Nevin Shapiro.

If North Carolina can do better than Randy Shannon, do it. But I'm telling you, it can't. North Carolina needs the cleanest good coach it can find -- and Randy Shannon emerged from the muddy mosh pit at Miami without a grain of sand on him.

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