Randy Shannon wore a white pullover stitched with a giant orange-and-blue Florida Gators logo Thursday.
For a Miami native and former Hurricanes player and coach, it looked weird.
Shannon called it the perfect fit.
“There are a lot of programs in the country, but there are only a few programs in the country like Florida,” he said.
“Sometimes as a person you don’t ever want to stay the same and just get comfortable with a situation. Being at Florida you can never get comfortable because you always have to live on edge. You have to have that mindset that you’re going to win a championship.”
New Gators coach Jim McElwain believes Shannon is key in helping Florida resurrect its championship aspirations.
Shannon, who played for the Hurricanes from 1985-88 (he starred on the 1987 national-title team) and was UM head coach from 2007-10, is UF’s associate head coach, co-defensive coordinator and linebackers assistant.
He’s expected to boost the Gators’ recruiting reach, especially in South Florida and California, but also serve as sounding board and confidant for McElwain as a former head coach.
“He was a guy that was at the top of my list from a standpoint of the people and how they speak about his integrity, his discipline and his organization and ball-coaching ability,” McElwain said.
“The thing that gets lost, man, this guy is a great ball coach. … I feel it was an unbelievable hire to be able to get that done.”
Shannon was an assistant coach at Arkansas the past two seasons, but said he “didn’t want to get comfortable with [that] situation.”
He refuses to discuss his tenure as UM head coach, or the Nevin Shapiro scandal.
“I never look back,” said Shannon, who was fired in 2010 after going 28-22 at UM.
“If you keep looking back, you’ll forget about something, you’ll miss opportunities. … When you keep looking back in life, you’re going to miss out on a lot of opportunities. … Find a way to wash it and move forward.”
Shannon, 48, is excited about his new opportunity in Gainesville, and said he hasn’t caught too much flak from Hurricanes faithful.
He said he has turned down head-coaching offers in recent years but wants to be a head coach again someday.
Unlike his new Gators pullover, the timing and fit simply aren’t right.
“I look at my job at hand,” he said. “My job at hand is being apart of Florida’s staff and I’m excited about it.
“I’ve been offered defensive coordinator jobs, head-coaching jobs, but it wasn’t the right fit at that particular time. I’m not a guy that’s gonna rush into anything. Right now, my total focus is being at Florida and trying to get to a point where we can make Florida one of the teams in America that people are going to look at like they’ve done in the past and we can get it done.”