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Posted at 12:06 PM ET, 02/ 9/2011

Terps should hire Randy Shannon

By Ryan Cooper

As shocked as I was when I read that Terps Defensive Coordinator Don Brown had taken the same job with Connecticut, I was even more shocked when I read the Terps were interviewing Randy Shannon to take over his spot. I, for one, could not be happier with that decision, and I hope he gets the job.

Shannon didn’t do too well at Miami as head coach (28-22 in four seasons), but I love the fact that the guy graduated his players (which is certainly something that could not be said for too many other coaches of major Maryland sports at the moment), and that he fills some really immediate needs. Brown was Maryland’s “Florida” recruiting guy, and Shannon would do quite nicely in that role. But to further the point, in the world of major college football coaching, where there are far too few African-American faces, he gives the Terps instant credibility on that front. The program looks progressive, as it has not been for much of its history (even though it had the first black player in the ACC, Darryl Hill, Art Shell was forced to attend Maryland State, now UM-Eastern Shore).

You always have to tread lightly around the subject of race, especially on a story like this. I don’t want to imply that Randy Shannon will do well with black athletes simply because he is black and they are too. But what Shannon brings most of all is character. He lost his two twin brothers to crack, a sister to AIDS and became a father at 16.  Despite the adversity in his life, he still became a great football player and a great coach. No matter what your background or ethnic makeup, that kind of story resonates. It gives you the ability to go into places where kids have been through hell, where their only out is athletics, and say to them “I’ve been here too, and I understand”.

I love that he cleaned up the program at Miami. I love that one of his first acts was to take the names off the backs of the jerseys, and tell the players who had guns to lose them yesterday. And I love what he could potentially do for this program on so many levels.

By Ryan Cooper  | February 9, 2011; 12:06 PM ET
Categories:  Ryan Cooper, Terps  | Tags:  Ryan Cooper, Terps  
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Actually, Gary has turned around the graduation rate issue and Ralph never had a problem with it.

Posted by: CapsNut | February 9, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Hi Ryan,
A point of information. Md's Men's basketball team is going great with graduations. All of last year's seniors and I'm pretty sure all of this year's are graduating. It appears you didn't actually do any research about this before taking your cheap shot.

While the football team's graduation rate has slipped recently, it's hardly a problem.

As someone who is a writer, I pride myself getting facts correct before publishing something. It would be nice if someone writing for a major paper like the Post did the same.

Posted by: homertuckumd | February 9, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Homertuckumd: I think Cooper's referring to stats like this - Yes, this year and last year were better, but Maryland had a history of not graduating basketball players (think of the Gilchrist/McCray/Garrison classes), and when you talk to fans of other teams in the ACC, that's a huge part of our current reputation. Fortunately, that's turning around now, but it's hard to pretend that the comment is coming completely out of nowhere.

Posted by: flyingplates | February 10, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

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