Yesterday Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops accepted the head coaching job at the University of Kentucky.
After initially turning down the Wildcats' overture, Stoops opted to start his head coaching career in Lexington and will likely leave the Seminoles after the ACC Championship game. Stoops' first media availability will be on Sunday morning in Lexington, leading to the logical conclusion that Florida State will be operating without Stoops in the lead-up to its bowl game.
My guess is linebackers coach Greg Hudson will be made the interim defensive coordinator while a search can be conducted for a new one.
One guy the Seminoles should look long and hard at during that search is TCU LB coach Randy Shannon.
I know, I know. But give me a minute.
At the University of Miami, Shannon had mixed results as a head coach but as a defensive coordinator from 2001-2006 his body of work speaks for itself. His defenses ranked 6, 7, 2, 28, 4 and 7th, he helped Miami play for two national titles, win one (and they didn't really lose the other...) all the while producing more pros as a program than any other school during that time.
It was Randy Shannon who ran the defense that Mark Stoops coached the secondary for– back when Ed Reed and Sean Taylor roamed the Hurricane defensive backfield.
Randy Shannon is a great defensive coach, even now at TCU as linebackers coach, the Horned Frogs have the 7th ranked run defense in the country.
He can also recruit. As an assistant and the head coach at Miami he helped lure major recruiting classes year in and year out, largely from the South Florida area– a place Stoops recruited well.
Shannon's problem as a head coach was that he never had a quarterback or any kind of offense. He had defenses, he turned out plenty of NFL players on that side of the ball. The problem was offense.
As Jimbo Fisher's defensive coordinator he wouldn't have to worry about that. He could go back to recruiting and coaching elite defenses and let Fisher handle decisions about pro-style or spread and who should call plays.
The other part of why I think Shannon fits with Florida State well is that him and Jimbo Fisher have similar values when it comes to how they approach team discipline and developing young men away from the field.
"We graduated the last two years... at 84 and 92 [percent of our players]," said Fisher. "We've got 11 guys on the current team that are graduating. We have very few off-field issues. Our guys are outstanding young men, they represent themselves very well it's not just– wins and loss are very important but it's how you conduct your program."
At Miami, Shannon ran a clean ship and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. When the NCAA throws the book at the 'Canes none of that will be on his doorstep.
According to multiple reports he avoided complete contact with Nevin Shapiro and threatened to fire any assistant coach that didn't follow suit. Seemingly in the entire decade of corruption and impropriety surrounding the Shapiro scandal the only Hurricane official publicly crying foul and attempting to steer the program clear of Nevin's influence was Shannon.
Shannon's mandate when he took over the U was to right the ship as much as it was to win.
In the wake of the fight between Miami and FIU, Shannon was hired to clean up the program. And he did. He got his graduation rates way up and had just one player arrest during his tenure (that player, QB Robert Marve, later transferred).
A lot of die-hard Seminole fans will object to him on account of his affiliation with Miami, but Stoops was a Cane once too. So was Mark Richt. This is a business, not a fraternity.
Fact of the matter is Randy Shannon can coach and he finds and develops a lot of good pros from an area where FSU is losing some recruiting pull.
If Florida State wants a guy who will come in, recruit well and develop players, plus has a proven track record as a D-Coordinator then they need to take a long look at Randy Shannon.
That will never happen though...