Before the start of the 2011 season, Howard Schnellenberger announced that this would be his final year of coaching.
With Schnellenberger’s retirement looming on the horizon, FAU is wasting no time in searching for a successor. And wasting no time in preparing to swing for the coaching fences.
FAU athletic director Craig Angelos told the Miami Herald earlier this week that his school is interested in both Mike Leach and Randy Shannon as potential replacements for Schnellenberger. It doesn’t appear that Angelos has reached out to either former coach as of yet, with the A.D. saying only that he “would consider Mike” and would, speaking of Shannon, “want to see if he’s interested.”
A source close to Shannon, who was dismissed by Miami following the 2010 season, told the Herald the coach would prefer a head-coaching job out west, specifically mentioning the Arizona opening as desirous to Shannon. On Monday, UA announced that Mike Stoops had been fired after seven-plus years at the school. Interestingly, and apropos of just about nothing, Shannon and Stoops share the same agent.
After Shannon was canned by the ‘Canes in late November, he was mentioned as a potential candidate for openings at Minnesota and Vanderbilt. He also interviewed for the defensive coordinator jobs at Texas, UCLA and Maryland — he turned down the latter opportunity after the job was offered to him — and has spent the 2011 season on the coaching sidelines.
On the Leach front, the former Texas Tech head coach plans to return to coaching as soon as possible and did not close the door on the FAU job if it were to be presented to him.
“I do plan to coach,” he said. “Craig is a great man and FAU is a great program. Anything negative that happens to Miami can only help FAU and FIU.”
Leach, who currently calls Key West home, has been out of coaching since his messy split from the Red Raiders following the 2009 regular season. While he was in the mix for the Maryland opening when Ralph Friedgen was fired following the 2010 season, his less-than-amicable split from Tech — and the subsequent lawsuits — prevented many a school with a vacancy from pursuing him.
The Herald writes Leach’s previous “issues” would not be a major concern for FAU.