|Randy Shannon will make his SEC coaching debut for Arkansas. (US Presswire)|
Bret Bielema's latest hire is one that even most casual college football fans will be able to recognize as a hugely positive one for Bielema's new team at Arkansas.
The Razorbacks announced Sunday night that former Miami coach and player Randy Shannon has agreed to become Arkansas' new linebackers coach after a single season in the same position at TCU.
"Randy Shannon is a great coach and a great person," said Bielema in a statement. "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 ... He is a coach players turn to for guidance, and his players have always been prepared and played with intensity and desire."
Shannon was the starting outside linebacker for the 1987 Hurricanes national championship team before spending six seasons as the Miami defensive coordinator and four as the Hurricanes' head coach. Shannon went 28-22, dismissed following the 2010 season.
But Shannon's head coaching experience did nothing to tarnish his reputation as one of college football's better recruiters -- particularly in the fertile greater Miami area -- or better defensive minds. His Hurricanes finished in the top 35 in total defense all four years of his head coaching tenure, with (as Bielema points out) five top-10 finishes during his time as coordinator.
Assuming Shannon preserves some of his recruiting acumen (why wouldn't he?) and works well alongside two defensive assistants who followed Bielema from Wisconsin -- including defensive coordinator Chris Ash -- the question might not be how well he performs in Fayetteville, but if he performs well enough that he receives a bigger, better offer before Bielema's ready to see him go.