CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Randy Shannon gave Miami more wins. He's getting rewarded with more money and more time to get the Hurricanes back into the national championship picture.
Shannon has signed a new four-year contract from his alma mater, the university announced Wednesday night, ending a back-and-forth negotiating process that began more than a year ago. The deal included an undisclosed raise over the approximate $1.2 million Shannon made last season.
"There's no other place I'd rather be than coaching Hurricanes football," Shannon said in a statement.
Shannon told The Associated Press he would have further comment about the new contract on Thursday.
The 2010 season was to be Shannon's last under his current deal, and there was some thought he could wind up taking a chance — coaching this fall with no guarantees, basically betting that a breakout season this fall could net him a big payday.
In the end, Shannon and Miami found enough common ground to get something done now.
"We are very proud of the positive steps our football program has taken under the leadership of Coach Shannon," Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt said. "With a commitment to excellence in the classroom, in the community, and in competition, we are well on our way, once again, to the top of the college football world."
The sides agreed in principle last week, and Shannon's new salary is believed to be around the midpoint of coaches in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Shannon is 21-17 in his three seasons. The Hurricanes are expected to be among the favorites for this year's ACC title.
"Coach Shannon continues to bring together a special group of young men who will position our program for championship success," added Hocutt.
Getting this deal done was a top priority for Hocutt, who raves about Shannon for a number of reasons, perhaps most significantly the way the 'Canes have excelled academically. There's been few significant off-the-field disciplinary issues since Shannon took over, and the football program ranks among the national leaders in the Academic Progress Rates scores charted by the NCAA.
Earlier Wednesday, Miami was recognized by the NCAA for having a multiyear APR score in the top 10 percent — making the Hurricanes the only school from an automatic-qualifying BCS league among the teams that finished 2009 in the national rankings to have that distinction.
Under Shannon, the on-field product is getting better, too.
He went 5-7 in 2007, the first season after taking over from Larry Coker, then rebounded to go 7-6 and reach the Emerald Bowl one season later. The Hurricanes easily beat eventual Atlantic Coast Conference champion Georgia Tech last season, plus topped Florida State and Oklahoma in two other tests, then closed at 9-4 after falling to Wisconsin in the Champs Sports Bowl.
There's plenty of pieces in place for more improvement in 2010.
Quarterback Jacory Harris (3,352 yards, 24 TDs) will be back for his second season as a starter, running back Damien Berry could be poised to take over in the backfield and the Hurricanes might have the deepest crop of receivers in the nation, led by senior Leonard Hankerson and speedster Travis Benjamin. Defensively, lineman Allen Bailey is already being talked about as a first-rounder in the 2011 NFL draft, linebacker Colin McCarthy returns for his senior season and fellow linebacker Sean Spence could be among the ACC's best.
Shannon got them all to come to Miami. The way the Hurricanes see it, it's time for that potential to finally start paying off.
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