Shannon in line for new contract
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) -- The season's first month was a clear success for Miami, with three wins over nationally ranked teams and plenty of reasons to believe the Hurricanes are on the cusp of rejoining the nation's elite.
For that, Randy Shannon may be on the verge of being rewarded handsomely.
After No. 11 Miami beat Oklahoma 21-20 for the program's most significant win in several years Saturday night, Hurricanes athletic director Kirby Hocutt reaffirmed that the university has no intentions of letting Shannon slip away. Shannon's contract expires after the 2010 season, but formal talks about an extension haven't yet taken place.
And any whispers that Shannon's future could be in jeopardy are certainly nonexistent now.
"Randy Shannon is going to be our head coach for a long, long time," Hocutt said.
Hocutt has offered similar sentiments before and Shannon quickly dismisses any talk about his contract, even though he's acutely aware that trying to convince recruits to spend four years at a school but not having any assurance he'll be there past 2010 can be daunting.
"Not worried about it," Shannon said. "Really, I'm not."
But after this 3-1 start, there would figure to be motivation for Miami to get a deal done -- probably around season's end.
"The city of Miami has shown that they will support a winner," Hocutt said, referring to the nearly 62,000 fans who showed up to see the Hurricanes beat a top-10 team (Oklahoma came in No. 8) for the first time since 2005. "Randy has this thing going in the right direction."
Never moreso than Saturday, perhaps.
Down 10-0 early, Miami chipped away, getting three touchdown passes from Harris, 150 yards rushing from Javarris James (against a Sooners defense that gave up 122 in their first three games combined), and some huge defensive plays from Brandon Harris and Joe Joseph. Miami even got a game-changing special-teams hit from former walk-on Corey Nelms.
"We still have some things we've got to get done," Shannon said. "As far as record-wise, after the first four games, I think we achieved a lot of things, a lot of goals that most people didn't expect us to. And that comes from hard work by these football players and this coaching staff."
Would Miami pulled off such a comeback last year?
"I don't know," Shannon said. "Three years ago? No."
Miami finished 5-7 in Shannon's first season, then stumbled to a 7-6 record last year after losing its final three games. When the Hurricanes were in ACC title contention last fall, Shannon and the university spoke briefly about extending his contract, although there was no formal offer.
Some longtime Miami onlookers wondered if the extension delay was because the university wanted to see how the 'Canes opened this season.
If that was the case, Shannon might have hit the jackpot.
"The job Coach Shannon has done for us, I just want to thank him," Harris said.
Being a private university, Miami does not have to reveal contract figures, although it's believed Shannon's total compensation is about $1.5 million annually -- placing him roughly in the middle of the pack when compared with other ACC coaches. He took the job in late 2006, replacing Larry Coker, who was earning about $3 million a year when he got fired despite going 60-15 in six seasons and winning the 2001 national championship.
Things like going 3-1 against four ranked teams to start the season, along with having a team near the top of the national rankings in the Academic Progress Rating and often lauded for civic involvement will be among what Miami considers when determining what to offer Shannon.
It's a nice problem for Hocutt to have, and it came up in a discussion with Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione -- a South Florida native and longtime friend and mentor of Hocutt -- shortly after Saturday night's game ended.
"We've got a good football team," Shannon said. "That's all I can tell you."
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