The Florida Gators and head coach Jim McElwain have mutually agreed to a contract buyout. Defensive coordinator Randy Shannon has been named interim head coach for the Gators. This decision was made after the Gators were blown out 42-7 by SEC rival Georgia. Florida has now lost three straight games and is 3-4 overall on the season.
Who is Randy Shannon?
Randy Shannon has spent most of his career (playing and coaching) in Coral Gables for the Miami Hurricanes. He played for the Hurricanes from 1985-1988. He went on to be drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the eleventh round of the 1989 NFL Draft. Shannon played 17 games over two seasons for the Cowboys, but decided to switch over to coaching after the 1990 NFL season. He was an assistant coach for his alma mater from 1991-1997, and then joined the Miami Dolphins coaching staff from 1998-2000. He rejoined the Hurricanes in 2001, and became the head coach in 2007. Shannon was at the helm for Miami from 2007-2010, going 28-22 in his four years there. He then went on to have different stints at TCU and Arkansas before heading to Florida in 2015.
That moment when Miami Hurricane Randy Shannon beats the Florida State Seminoles as the Head Football Coach of the Florida Gators: pic.twitter.com/uclWopx9XC
— GO 'CANES! (@83_87_89_91_01) October 29, 2017
What’s Next for Shannon and the Gators?
There are a lot of questions and concerns in Gator nation. Who will the next head coach be? Have the players given up on the season? Can the team finish strong enough to make a bowl game? Will the team lose some future commits because of McElwain’s departure?
All of these questions will be answered over time, but Shannon remains consistent that the current focus is coming out and competing against Missouri on Saturday.
Shannon’s experience running a major program should help keep the Gators afloat for the rest of the season. The former Dallas Cowboy could easily let his team crawl through the remainder of the season. However, he has made it clear to his players that the season is far from over. Shannon gave praise to McElwain as a coach and as an individual, but continued to emphasize that the bigger picture is about winning and competing at the highest level.
Shannon also discussed the changes he has already made as the new head coach, which includes staffing decisions and practice routines.
The Gators will have to finish out the season without two key players, running back Malik Davis and linebacker Kylan Johnson. This will not make winning games any easier for Shannon, who is acquiring a team that has very limited depth because of injuries and suspensions to key players.
What to Expect?
While Shannon is not expected to keep the head coaching job for Florida beyond this season, this is a good opportunity for him to show he can be a successful head coach after a mediocre stint at Miami. No one knows when the Gators plan to name their new head coach, but becoming bowl-eligible should be the main goal for Shannon and the Gators going forward.