Source: OU Coach Leading Candidate For Canes

Tim Reynolds of the ASSOCIATED PRESS broke the news late Saturday that Miami Hurricanes football coach Randy Shannon had been fired and that Miami Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt, who made the call to jettison Shannon, would meet the media about his decision Sunday at 1pm ET.

Kirby Hocutt Brent Venables

(Canes AD, OU Coach were K-State teammates)

After firing Shannon, Hocutt said in a statement, “Our expectations are to compete for championships and return to the top of the college football world. We will immediately begin a national search

The PALM BEACH POST reports, “offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland has been told he will be named interim coach,” while UM Offensive Coordinator Mark Whipple has also been fired.

The Post reports candidates for the job may include former Univ. of Miami quarterback and current Georgia coach Mark Richt and perhaps current Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville, who served as a UM assistant under Dennis Erickson.

Former Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach actively pursued the Miami job in 2006 when Shannon was hired by University of Miami President Donna Shalala and then-athletic director Paul Dee.

Shalala was a big part of the coaching search that resulted in Shannon’s hire in 2006. A search that was confirmed to include Rutgers’ Greg Schiano and West Virginia’s Rich Rodriguez.

But Schiano and Rodriguez begged off the opportunity when Shalala made obvious that a major football facility upgrade and high salary wasn’t necessarily in the offing.

When he was hired by Miami, Shannon said in December, 2006:

“Players don’t come to Miami for facilities. They come to Miami to win. They want to win games. They want to graduate. They want a chance to every year be a champion. That’s what Miami is all about.”

If Hocutt’s comments following the coach’s ouster Saturday night was any indication, the latter is why Shannon is now looking for work.

This time around, all indications are that Hocutt will be the prime mover in the “nationwide coaching search.”

After the announcement that Shannon was fired, a Big 12 coaching source told me that the Miami opening could be very good news for Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

Venables, already long a hot coaching commodity, is a former football teammate of Hocutt’s at Kansas State in the early ’90s when the Wildcats were just starting their football revival under Bill Snyder.

Hocutt and Venables also crossed paths at Oklahoma, where Hocutt served on the OU Athletic Dept. staff for nearly a decade.

Though the obvious connection, I was told not to expect Venables to be an automatic hire. But it goes without saying that he will gain heavy consideration for the job if interested.