Shannon named UA linebackers coach
FAYETTEVILLE -Randy Shannon, who has won three national titles as a player and coach, has been named Arkansas' linebackers coach, head coach Bret Bielema announced Sunday.
"Randy Shannon is a great coach and a great person," said Bielema. "He has been a part of multiple national championship teams and, more importantly, he changed the lives of numerous young men. He has spent nearly his entire coaching career at Miami, and his defenses consistently ranked inside the top 10 nationally. I think a lot of people know Randy got a lot of great things done at Miami and most recently with TCU. He is a disciplinarian who has high standards, and he is skillful at relating to his players. He is a coach players turn to for guidance, and his players have always been prepared and played with intensity and desire."
Last season, Shannon coached linebackers at TCU following a four-year stint as head coach at the University of Miami, where he led the Hurricanes to a 28-22 record from 2007-10. Before rising to the head position, Shannon was the defensive coordinator for Miami from 2001-06 and was an assistant coach for the Hurricanes from 1991-97. In between his stints on the Coral Gables campus, Shannon spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the Miami Dolphins. Shannon, who lettered at Miami from 1985-88, was part of three of the Hurricanes' five national championships as a player and assistant coach.
Shannon's linebacker unit excelled in TCU's first season in the Big 12. Kenny Cain was a second-team All-Big 12 selection by the Associated Press and the conference's coaches, and Joel Hasley was an AP honorable mention all-conference performer. Cain made a career-high 14 tackles in a victory at Texas, the most for a TCU linebacker in a game since 2004, and Hasley ranked ninth in the conference in tackles for loss per game.
As a team, the Horned Frogs led the Big 12 in rushing defense and total defense and ranked second in the conference in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense. TCU's average of 103.92 rushing yards per game allowed was 10th in the NCAA, and the team's average of 332.00 total yards allowed per game ranked 18th in the country despite facing five of the nation's top-12 offenses. TCU also led the Big 12 in third-down defense, first downs allowed and three-and-outs per game.
In 2010, Miami earned a 7-5 record, including a 5-3 mark in the ACC, and a berth in the Sun Bowl. In 2009, Shannon guided his team to the program's best mark since the 2005 campaign as Miami made its 35th overall bowl appearance, finishing 9-4 overall and 5-3 in ACC play. Four Hurricanes earned first team All-ACC honors, and Miami was one of only nine teams to rank in the top 35 in both total offense and total defense. Miami knocked off three teams ranked in the Top 25 in its first four games, had nine players earn All-ACC postseason honors and saw its offense put up 5,199 yards, the most since 2002 when the team played for the national championship.
All of Shannon's Miami teams were able to uphold UM's academic success off the field. His UM football teams achieved NCAA Academic Progress Rates (APR) of 978, 977, 969 and 966, which have all ranked in the top 10 nationally. The 978 APR in the 2010 APR report was tied for the sixth-highest rate in the country. The 977 APR in the 2009 report was the seventh-highest rate in the country out of 119 Bowl-Subdivision football programs. Those rates also were the second highest in the Atlantic Coast Conference and highest among all schools in Florida.
In his second season in 2008, he guided the Hurricanes to the program's 34th overall bowl appearance at the 2008 Emerald Bowl. Miami finished the season 7-6 and one game out of first place with a 4-4 mark in the ACC. The squad had a five-game winning streak, which was the longest for the Hurricanes since 2005. Freshman linebacker Sean Spence was named the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year and kicker Matt Bosher was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award given to the nation's best kicker. Linebacker Sean Spence, defensive tackle Marcus Forston, defensive end Marcus Robinson and returner Travis Benjamin earned Freshman All-America honors. Miami also ranked No. 7 nationally in pass defense, 25th in tackles for loss and 28th overall in total defense yielding 317.56 yards per game. The 2008 Hurricanes also ranked in the top four in the ACC in punt returns, pass defense, scoring offense, net punting and tackles for loss.
Shannon coached Miami to a 31-3 win over Marshall in his head coaching debut on Sept 1, 2007. The Hurricanes went on to finish 5-7 and 2-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. His Hurricanes showed promise for the future of the program. Miami's 2008 signing class ranked as the top class in the country byESPN.com. The 2009 signing class ranked in the top 10 nationally as Miami signed six players ranked in the ESPN.com Top 150.
Prior to being named head coach at Miami, Shannon was the school's defensive coordinator for six seasons and coached top 10 defenses in five of those six seasons. In his first season back, 2001, the Hurricanes won their fifth national championship and he became the first UM coach to be named the winner of the Frank Broyles Award, presented annually to the nation's top assistant coach. The Hurricanes had 25 defensive players taken in the NFL Drafts from 2002-07, including 12 first-round picks.
Shannon produced defenses that rank among the best in the history of the program. Despite a 7-6 record in 2006, the defense ranked seventh in the country in total defense, allowing just 255.5 yards per game, fourth in rushing defense with a school-record 67.9 yards allowed per game and 13th in scoring defense at15.5 points allowed per game.
In 2005, Shannon was named defensive coordinator of the year by Rivals.com. His aggressive 4-3 scheme led the nation most of the season in nearly every category and finished No. 1 in pass defense with a mark of 152.17 yards per game allowed and pass efficiency defense at 89.48. The Hurricanes also ranked fourth in total defense at 270.08 yards per game allowed and scoring defense with a mark of 14.25 points per game allowed, and their average of 117.92 rushing yards per game allowed ranked 23rd in the nation.
In 2004, Shannon's defense ranked ninth in the country in pass defense despite having three new starters in the secondary. The UM defenses in 2002 and 2003 led the nation in fewest passing yards allowed, and the 2003 unit was fourth nationally in pass efficiency defense with a mark of 96.16 rating while finishing second in the nation in total defense at 257.5 yards per game allowed. The 2003 Hurricanes also ranked fourth in the country with an average of 15.1 points per game allowed.
His 2002 unit led the nation with 119.7 passing yards per game allowed and in pass efficiency defense with an 83.91 rating, while finishing seventh in the nation in total defense at 285.0 yards per game allowed. That year, Miami fielded an entirely new starting unit in the defensive secondary.
In 2001, Miami led the nation in turnover margin by forcing a school-record 27 interceptions and 45 turnovers. Miami defenders allowed a national-best 9.4 points per game, led the nation in pass efficiency defense with a 75.60 rating, ranked second in pass defense with an average of 138.2 yards per game allowed through the air and was sixth in total defense with an average of 270.9 yards per game allowed. The 2001 Hurricanes gave up just 12 touchdowns while adding seven touchdowns of their own.
In his six seasons as defensive coordinator, the Hurricanes had seven All-America players, and he tutored eight other All-Americans as a position coach. As a head coach and defensive coordinator, he's coached 14 defensive players who were selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.
He was a graduate assistant in 1991 when the Hurricanes won their fourth national championship and in 1992 became a full-time assistant coach working with the defensive line. From 1993-97 he coached linebackers, including Ray Lewis, a 13-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year who was a first-round pick by the Baltimore Ravens in the 1996 NFL Draft. Shannon was a defensive assistant with the Miami Dolphins in 1998 and 1999 before assuming the role of linebackers coach in 2000.
As a player at Miami, Shannon was a four-year letterman at linebacker and the starter on the 1987 national championship team. He received the Christopher Plumer Award for most inspirational player as a senior in 1988. Shannon concluded his career in 1988 when he ranked fourth on the team in tackles, sacks and tackles for loss, while leading the team in passes broken up and forced fumbles.
Shannon attended Miami's Norland High School and earned all-state and honorable mention All-America recognition from Street & Smith's as a senior linebacker. He also lettered in basketball, averaging 19 points per game, and competed in the triple jump on the track and field team.
An 11th-round draft choice of the Dallas Cowboys in 1989, he became the first rookie to start at outside linebacker for Dallas since 1963 and also was a standout on special teams. Shannon played for the Cowboys for two seasons before going into coaching.