Friday, December 08, 2006

Del-“U”-sional

It appears Miami has decided to hire Randy Shannon, which in my opinion is the right move for the University. Shannon has a credible resume, is widely considered one of the top defensive coaches in the country, and is very much a Miami man, having played there from 1985-1988 as a linebacker, and coached there the last 6 years. During those years, only 1 time was his defense (2004) not in the top 10 in the nation in the total defense category.

That said, prior to hiring Shannon, as a resident of south Florida, I was treated to the delusional nature of the Miami fan – and media – on a daily basis since, and even prior to, the firing of Larry Coker.

Several premier coaching names – from Tommy Tuberville at Auburn, to Steve Spurrier at South Carolina, were freely discussed as “candidates” for the Miami job. On the Dan Le Batard show, Dan, and his sidekick Stugotz, regularly referred to the Miami coaching job as one of the “top five” in the country.

Tuberville? Spurrier? Top Five?

Who the hell are you kidding?

First of all, Miami has the most pathetic facilities of any major Division I-A program. When ESPN was covering Miami on Thursday night football against Boston College, Kirk Herbstreit couldn’t stop mentioning how bad the athletic facilities looked (that HAD to help recruiting), even saying “A coat of paint would be a nice start”.

Le Batard and Stugotz countered with “Yeah, but when you walk into the Miami weight room, you see Ed Reed and Willis McGahee working out in there.”

With all due respect to Le Batard and Stugotz, is that what you are relying on to recruit top athletes? Does Mr. Reed and Mr. McGahee spend so much time in the UM weight room that they are constant recruiting fixtures? Don’t they have NFL careers to pursue?

I have been to the Orange Bowl, as well as many, many other college stadiums. It is by far and away the worst stadium I have ever seen a game at, perhaps at any level.

It is not only the stadium. It is the inconsistent, non-committal and sometimes downright apathetic state of the Miami fan base that hurts the "U's" image. The Orange Bowl has a stated capacity of 74,500. For the “big games” (like once every two years against FSU), they fill it up. However, according to the NCAA’s 2005 figures, Miami ranked 49th in Division I-A attendance, with an average crowd of 45, 310, or 61% of full capacity. One can only imagine what they did this year going 6-6.

How does that sorry 45,310 figure compare to, oh say, the schools where Tuberville and Spurrier coach?

Auburn was 10th nationally in 2005, averaging 84,161 per game, or about full capacity. South Carolina was 16th, with 79, 867 per game, at full capacity.

At 49th, Miami is behind such notables as

8th - Florida
12th – FSU
26th – Purdue
27th – Kentucky
32nd – BYU
44th – UTEP
46th - Mississippi State

In fact, the following ACC schools outdraw Miami-

FSU
Clemson
Virginia Tech
NC State
Maryland
North Carolina
Georgia Tech

When more people are watching games at perennial loser UNC, you know you have a problem (maybe that is why Butch Davis chose them over UM).

But hey, seeing Ed Reed working out can convince any recruit that playing in a half empty, decrepit stadium is A-OK.

Le Batard also like to promote the Miami job by saying “You will have a chance to play for the National Title”. This is true, of course, for every coach since Howard Schnellenberger except Butch Davis. Larry Coker actually got to play for two, winning one. He went 59-14 in six years.

And then he got fired.

Message to coaches out there – playing in that national title game gives you 4 years of breathing room. Have a bad season after that, and don’t let the doorknob hit you on the way out.

But don’t take my word for it – take the coach’s actions. Greg Schiano of Rutgers (average 2005 attendance 33, 184), a former Miami assistant coach – not interested. Steve Spurrier – staying at South Carolina. Houston Nutt of Arkansas – don’t even put my name in the mix. Even former head coach Butch Davis, surely knowing Coker was to be fired, went to UNC.

But Bernie Kosar wants the job!

It is no coincidence that Miami has hired 3 consecutive UM assistants in Davis, Coker and now Shannon for the head coaching job.

Promote from within, before you are totally humiliated from outside.

Can Shannon succeed? Certainly, in an area as talent rich as south Florida, he has the chance, even recruiting against the Florida’s and FSU’s, and even with Schiano, and now Davis, recruiting heavily in his back yard.

Just don’t tell me that the “U” is a desirable job. The talented coaches out there say different.

3 comments:

Henry Gomez said...

2006 home attendance for "da U"

FSU 71,481
FAMU 40,208
Houston 36,107
UNC 29,621
FIU 51,130
VaTech 41,504
BC 23,308

Total 293,359

Average 41,908

It should be noted that the average is being propped up by games with above average attendance against state schools with large alumni bases in South Florida (FSU and FIU) The FAMU game is another one that probably brought out quite a few fans of the opponent.

The BC and UNC games probably give you a good idea about how many hard core fans "da U has", somewhere around 25,000.

Those aren't the obnoxious Miami fans strut their stuff even though they don't even know the campus is in Coral Gables. I feel bad for those true fans to be saddled with the undesirables for which Miami is a pro team like the Raiders and the Raider Nation. Just win baby, yeah right.

The classiest Miami fans can be found at Mark Light Stadium on campus during baseball season. With as little support as the Hurricanes get in football, the baseball team is one of the tops in the country, not just in quality but in attendance.

Anonymous said...

Dude, ya have to change your logo. That Gator is a fatass. Looks like he's been eating those books instead of reading them :) Ol' Albert needs a cross between Steve Irwin and Richard Simmons to help him drop a few pounds. :)

Henry Gomez said...

Albert's fat because he's been feasting on Tigers, Bulldogs, and Wildcats. He chased that down with Chief Osceola and Renegade and a roasted Hog for dessert.