The Randy Shannon era is officially over at UM. Shannon was informed earlier tonight by athletic director Kirby Hocutt he has been fired.
The fate of all his assistants still isn't known. According to an ESPN report, offensive coordinator Mark Whipple has already been told he is out as well. Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland is expected to become the interim coach for the bowl game.
One assistant coach, who asked to remain anonymous, said he was already speaking to his agent about latching on at other programs. As for Shannon, the assistant said: "I can't imagine what he's going through right now. He loved this program with all his life. It's the tough part of the business."
The Hurricanes finished the regular season at 7-5 after a 23-20 overtime loss to South Florida at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday. Shannon compiled a 28-22 record, including a 16-16 mark in the ACC in four years as head coach of the Hurricanes. He received a four-year extension just before the start of the 2010 season.
Who made the decision? The Associated Press says Hocutt made the final call. But sources say UM President Donna Shalala and the board of trustees gave Hocutt the green light to get rid of Shannon after the Florida State debacle and loss at Virginia.
“We have made a decision to seek new leadership for our football program,” Hocutt said in a UM press release. “Our expectations are to compete for championships and return to the top of the college football world. We will immediately begin a national search.”
Hocutt will address the media Sunday at 1.
Over the past month, I've been told by several sources who have a vested interest in UM that Georgia's Mark Richt and former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach are at the top of UM's wish list. We'll see if that comes to fruition.