Florida coach Jim McElwain is out after a largely disappointing two-and-a-half seasons as head coach of the Gators. In his place steps defensive coordinator Randy Shannon as interim, the school announced Sunday evening.
You likely remember Shannon’s name.
Where’d he come from?
Shannon was at the helm of Miami from 2007 to 2010. It was a largely forgettable run that got off to an inauspicious start in his first season. Shannon’s Canes lost 48-0 to Virginia in the last game at the Orange Bowl Stadium.
Shannon was a Miami lifer. He played for the Canes in the mid-1980s and was drafted by his former college coach, Jimmy Johnson, in Dallas. After it didn’t work out in the league, he returned to the Canes to coach in different roles from 1991 to 2010. The only break in that time was a three-year stint with the Miami Dolphins.
His time in South Florida ended after he was ousted thanks to middling Canes teams.
From removing player surnames on jerseys to establishing GPA limits, Shannon strove to reset the culture of the team. He had the support of his colleagues and fans until the results did not translate into wins. Fans wanted to see the program return to the dominance it had enjoyed earlier in the decade. The institution likely would have agreed with the assessment.
Shannon spent some time at TCU and Arkansas before coming to Florida as a defensive assistant in 2015.
Will the team improve noticeably under him?
Doubtful, given what Florida’s shown against good teams this season. An interim can create a momentum swell, but Florida’s got issues that aren’t just fixed by simply putting a new man in charge. It’s hard to imagine a magical run through the end of the season. And Shannon’s defense wasn’t the biggest of Florida’s problems.
He does have some interim experience at Florida, having stepped in as defensive coordinator for a successful bowl game to end the 2016 season before getting that promotion. UF’s defense has slipped, however, from No. 7 in yards per play allowed in 2016 to No. 85 so far through 2017.
The schedule the rest of the way isn’t even that favorable. Missouri might prove a tough out for Florida next week, as will South Carolina in two weeks. As for the game against Florida State at the end of the season: That’s anyone’s guess.
Will he keep the job in the long-run?
The smart money is no. Even with a miraculous turnaround and big margins of victory in every game left, Shannon would still have a tough road ahead.
Florida has the resources and cachet to swing for the fences, rather than promote a coach who was 28-22 in his previous HC stint.