Miami’s loss to South Florida on Saturday didn’t get Randy Shannon fired -- four years of mediocrity did.
The embarrassing 23-20 loss to the Bulls of the Big East was just one more glaring blemish the UM administration couldn’t ignore -- especially on a day when rival Florida State was basking in the glory of beating up on Florida and celebrating a trip to the ACC championship game in Jimbo Fisher’s first season.
Miami’s speed gets a lot of attention, the problem is how they've used it -- the Canes have gone nowhere fast.
In four seasons under Shannon, Miami failed to win the Coastal Division, has yet to win a bowl game, and is 3-4 against BCS opponents from the state of Florida. Meanwhile, it took one season under Fisher for the Seminoles to earn the title of state champs. It was only a matter of time before Shannon was held accountable at a program whose standard is five national titles.
None of Shannon’s 28 wins were all that memorable. Some of his 22 losses, though, were hard to forget.
Once again, Virginia handed the Canes one of their most embarrassing losses of the season. In 2007, it was the 48-0 loss in the final game at the Orange Bowl. This year, it was a 24-19 loss in Charlottesville to a team that had yet to win a conference game. There was also the 31-7 collapse last year at Virginia Tech.
The highlight of Shannon’s coaching career at Miami just might have been this year’s win over Butch Davis -- the first time he was able to beat Miami’s former coach since both took over their respective programs. Maybe it was the win over then-ranked No. 8 Oklahoma last year, but it wasn’t the same Oklahoma team without Sam Bradford.
The bottom line is that none of those 28 wins amounted to anything in the postseason. And Miami fans have grown tired of it. Week after week this season, somebody takes a snapshot of an empty Sun Life Stadium and it makes its way around Twitter. It’s been embarrassing to the program and the ACC, but it’s not like Shannon has given the fan base much to cheer about.
This failure, though, doesn’t fall squarely on Shannon’s shoulders. It also falls on the administration who hired him, and it’s up to athletic director Kirby Hocutt and university president Donna Shalala to get it right this time.
It wasn’t a complete disaster.
Shannon changed the perception of the program. He instilled discipline, and leads all active BCS coaches with a 977 lifetime APR average. Those things count, but fans want to see Miami leading the BCS standings more. Shannon was given a contract extension prior to this season with the expectation that a championship of some form would be won either this year or next. The expectation was that he had the talent to do it and had finally found some stability at the coordinator position.
Instead, nothing changed. The loss to South Florida only magnified that.
Everything from Shannon's ability to lead to his ability to coach has been questioned during his tenure. Miami's administration just decided to answer sooner than later.