Florida football still a top brand, Shannon says

[Cyndi Chambers/Correspondent]

While the Florida football program is in danger of finishing the season with a losing record for the second time in five years, the rebuilding shouldn’t take as long as some are predicting.

Despite all the problems with Florida at the moment, UF interim football coach Randy Shannon said the head coaching job at UF remains one of the best in college football.

“Yes, very good football job,” he said. “It’s probably still going to be one of the top programs in the nation, because you’re able to go and recruit nationally. You’re always going to recruit the Florida and the south Georgia areas where you always tend to get great players at. And now you always can go national because the Gator brand is big.

“You all sit back and say, ‘Well there’s no talent here.’ No, there’s a lot of talent still on this football team. It’s young talent, there’s a lot of young players on this football team and future-wise it can be unbelievable.”

UF athletic director Scott Stricklin and staff are in the process of hiring a new coach, with Central Florida’s Scott Frost, Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen and Memphis’ Mike Norvell topping many speculated lists.

“This is a pretty good job,” Stricklin said. “You look up out at that (stadium wall), it lists three pretty recent national championships (1996, 2006 and 2008). This is a place you can have a lot of success. Certainly the facility enhancements (more than $100 million in upgrades planned) will be a really important part of our future, but I like the opportunity for somebody wanting to come in here and start building something in the present.”

Shannon selling UF brand

Even though he might not be around after the season, Shannon is reaching out to recruits, trying to sell them on Florida.

“We did a tremendous job of communicating with the guys that, ‘Hey it’s not about me, it’s not about anybody on this team, it’s about the University of Florida.’” Shannon said. “It’s about the Gator brand. You want to come to the University of Florida because you want to play at a high level. You want to get a great education. You want to get a family atmosphere. And every young man that we talked to last night was unbelievable.”

Shannon said several recruits have already reaffirmed their commitment to Florida.

“They were upbeat, ‘Yeah coach, I’m still ready to come. Coach, I’m still ready to do this.’ They’re still excited,” Shannon said. “And I say ‘Listen, we may not be here.’ They said, ‘Coach I understand that but you’re right, It’s about the Gator brand.’

“Those are the guys you want to be a part of this football team. When you have young men like that that really want to be a part of it, those are the guys you have to embrace. That’s the guys that you have to say, ‘OK, we need this guy to be a part of this football team. We need this guy to be a part of this university. We need this guy to be a part of this organization.’ And that’s what we go for.”

Play like a veteran

In an attempt to end the slow starts that doomed Florida in back-to-back blowout losses to Georgia and Missouri, Shannon is demanding that his young players start playing like veterans at the opening of games.

“I don’t make excuses, but like I said the other day, we don’t have any veterans right now,” Shannon said. “We’ve got to build on a guy like (David) Reese, build on some other guys to start fast and do certain things. Early in the year when we had a lot of veterans on this team, we were starting fast.

“Right now, we’re counting and depending on these young guys to crank it up a little bit. Because they’re at Florida. Don’t make any excuses because you’re young. You’re a veteran now, you’ve played some games and you’re representing the Gators.”


  1. How long are we going to ignore the fact that Foley single handedly took down our football program. And he is still meddling. Why do you think Foley could not hire a big time coach? Because he wanted someone he could control. Why do you think SOS left? Foley is why.
    How much longer is this tyrant allowed to stay and back stab Strickland?
    Message to Scott Strickland…CLEAN HOUSE!

    • I agree with Dave Foley had nothing to do with departure of SOS & Urban in the the they both wanted to leave the pressure cooker. Hank is right in being critical of Foley. Foley was great at hiring coaches in non football sports. We have some great coaches due to his ability in this area. In football he failed by letting our facilities fall way behind our competitors and was terrible at hiring a football coaches. I give more credit to Fuch’s for the Urban hire. I never liked Foley personality and thought in many aspects he was overated.

  2. John D. class of 52 mosey back
    Yes, I am convinced that the Foley years were a real downer for the Gators. He hired three losers and then there was Meyer, whocame because the then university president brought him into our program. Although Urban had two U.S. championships he still caused much of what has happened since he went to Ohio U. I think Hank Moody is correct. Get Foley out of the UF influence.

  3. It’s got to be difficult to recruit for a school that might drop you with a new HC. He’s been through this before so knows how to play the game and maybe chosen to stay or move to a good job. He has all the experience as a HC and DC, but lacked the talent, especially at S and LB to be as effective as he would like. Good luck either way.

  4. You guys are nutz. Yeah, Foley whiffed on 3 FB hires but EVERY OTHER HEAD COACHING POSITION has been solid. Aside from Spurrier, only one coach in CFB in the last 25 years has had success and longevity and that is Nick Saban. You idiots expect a home run every time you step to the plate? Foolish. Great coaches as hard to come by.

    Best AD in the history of college athletics hands down. Best Ever.

  5. I agree, out with Foley’s influence. I think Spurrier left because Fooly didn’t have his back when Spurrier spoke out about the Ernest Graham injury by an FSU player who twisted Graham’s leg while on the ground. I’m glad I can’t remember the puke’s name. When Steve spoke out about it the FSU AD attacked him and Fooly didn’t speak up and defend Steve. What a coward he is.

  6. Agree David. Jeremy Foley was one of the best AD’s in the country without question, if not the best while at the helm IMO. He had 3 NCs in football as the AD. Our current AD’s name is Scott Stricklin, not Scott Strickland. I can only hope Scott will be as super an AD as Jeremy was. I’m sure we’ll get a good HC in the near future. Hope we can get a W at South Carolina. Go Gators!

    • I think Scott Stricklin will be fine. Liked the way he handled the presser after the McElwain firing. Smart guy and I believe he will bring in a great football coach on this hire. The fact that he fired Mac in October gave us a great time jump on the hire, while other schools still have their lame-duck coaches on the payroll. Great move to keep the recruiting class together too.

  7. I’m not necessarily pro or con Foley, but I think you guys are going overboard with criticism of him. You have to look at the timing of things. When Spurrier left, there were not a lot of great options. Zook was a perfect interim coach in a way. He recruited well and did just bad enough to get fired in three years. Who thought Champ was bad hire at the time? Not many. He was “the hot” AD that everyone wanted to hire for a top program, much like Smart was recently. Turned out Champ wasn’t good as a HC, but Smart was. Smart wasn’t available at the time, but UGA sure is happy they hired him now. When Champ was fired, there weren’t a lot of great options, but Mac looked like one of the better options at the time. He was the AD who coached the offense that kicked our awesome defense’s ass in the SEC Champ game Tebow’s senior year. Who was doing well at CSU.

    Great coaches are not that easy to find. Look how many years Alabama struggled until they got Saban. I will say the current situation has more potential coach possibilities than I have seen in a while. Keep your fingers crossed because a lot of this is luck. We need it this time.

  8. Listen to yourself…”brewing for years” there is one constant in the equation – JEREMY FOLEY He needs to go, get off campus get far away from UF. Jeremy Foley is the cancer that needs to be removed if we are truly going to get this mess of a football program back on the track.

  9. Foley was the AD for all Gator Sports. If you’ve notice just about all Gator sports have or are excelling. Not another program can consistently compete with what UF has done in sports under Foley. Most colleges it seems have built up their cash cow as in Football facilities at the expense of other sports. So yes they are way ahead of UF when it comes to football. The thing was, so long as we had SOS and UM, we won in spite of inferior facilities. But now, the shine is off with back to back bad choices and we do need to upgrade. But I agree, hindsight, Foley has not done well picking football coaches. I’m hoping Strictland will do much better.

  10. I guess the ONLY emotion that you all (in the media) can get out of us (fans) is ”anger”.
    Because U.F. has the infrastructure, they have ”the history”, they have the fan base, they even have an indoor practice facility now.
    But the ”football program” is as fragile as a dozen eggs from Publix (see this year’s team for proof).
    It’s been a rotating door for Q.B.s, even 5th year transfer Q.B.s, if we’re honest.
    But in fairness, there are some ”kickers” that get some ”national attention” lately, but that’s about it.
    U.F has to get some coaches who can teach offense, period!
    Kerwin Bell ”isn’t good enough”, but a ”former ‘Bama O.C.” was? Not!
    Well, this much I know for certain, there are 3 games left and I’m already becoming apathetic.
    And that’s NOT FAIR to the University, the players and coaches, (us) the fans, and the media, even. Nothing to write or talk about!

    • Well, we know who isn’t good enough to be the Gator HBC. Jim McElwain, who was hired under the false assumption that he had superior skill as an “offensive guru” and “QB Whisperer”. Mac was a fraud and he knew it, therefore he went after the low-hanging fruit of facilities upgrades. That’s great, but not what he was hired to do. And he brought with him a weak-as-water staff with Nussmeier, Nord and whoever is pretending to be our strength and conditioning coach. Soon we will have a brand new staff that will hit the ground running and begin to straighten this mess of a program out. No thanks to Mac – he sucks, good riddance.

  11. I think three years is long enough time to get a pulse on what the program your running is about, if your not improving then your falling behind and the Gators were definately going in the wrong direction. Foley has made great hires, FB just hasnt worked out. Lets support the next head ball coach and realize we are not going to win every game, every championship, however we atleast need to look like we belong on the same field. GO GATORS!

  12. For all the Foley bashers on here, please tell me one AD in the country that has hired more than 1 great football coach. I can’t think of one. And I know for certain that Foley hired multiple coaches for UF that have won National Titles in their sport. Donovan and Sully are two of the best hires any AD has made. And that doesn’t count several other coaches that are great that he hired. So for you fans, make sure not to ever brag about all the other sports that UF leads the SEC in!

  13. Mullen is the only big name coach that seems possible and he already worked here and doesn’t want the job.

    Look at what Miami did, got Mark Richt, a guy with experience, in his second year top 10 team. Is Miami a better job than Florida ?

    FSU is having a bad year but they have Jimbo Fisher. Is FSU a better job than florida ?

    Who is our big name coach ? Why are we unable to get one ?

    Why are we HOPING to hire a coach with a short track record at a small school ?