Miami tried to do things the "right" way. It didn't work out.
At least, it didn't work out the way they would have liked. I mean, the "clean" program stuff--the stuff that Randy Shannon handled so well, and with such class--was just fine and dandy. But the so-so results on the field? All those embarrassing losses? Yeah, those were a problem.
Which is why Shannon is now out of a job.
So now what?
Well, now maybe it's time for Miami to reclaim a little bit of that old renegade 'Canes spirit. Maybe it's time for the boys from Coral Gables to get their swagger back. Maybe it's time for Miami to be Miami again.
Maybe it's time for the powers-that-be in Coral Gables to bring in (wait for it) ...
... Mike Leach.
Yes. That's right. Mike Leach.
In the days that have passed since Shannon was canned down in Coral Gables, the rumor mill has been spinning wildly with names supposedly attached to the Miami job. Predictably, the first name to come up was that of Jon Gruden, the former Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach who currently serves as an ESPN analyst (apparently, Gruden's job must come up in relation to every coaching vacancy, no matter how remote the possibility of his actually taking the job is). After Gruden politely declined (well, at least, we think he declined) there arrived the other usual suspects: Connecticut's Randy Edsall (we hear his name every year, in connection to almost every job; he's a poor man's Gruden); TCU's Gary Patterson (TCU to Miami? That's what you call a 'lateral move,' folks); Rutgers' Greg Schiano (um, no comment); Temple's Al Golden (wouldn't be a bad choice, but the guy has yet to win a MAC title); and, finally, Georgia's Mark Richt (absolute zero percent chance).
There are some fine coaches in that bunch. Very fine coaches, in fact.
But I'm sorry. None of them are a more perfect fit for Miami than Leach, the coach/pirate/administrator's worst nightmare who, to his enduring credit, actually turned Texas Tech into a national title contender and made that program nationally relevant (and, yes, that's a big deal).
Yes, Leach comes along with some, well, baggage. Yes, he can be a handful for administrators to deal with. And yes, he may wear out his welcome in five years or so (or less, depending on his mood).
But you know what? He also would be almost guaranteed to make Miami matter again.
For all of his faults (and there are many), the fact is that Leach is an offensive genius. An absolute offensive genius. I mean, just imagine what this guy could do with a team of full of South Florida talent. And provided that he would bring along a defensive coordinator with some experience (and, more importantly, recruiting connections in the Sunshine State), you'd have to figure that his defense would be at least, you know, passable. In the ACC, "passable" just might be good enough.
The bottom line? Leach would win at Miami. He would give Miami an identity. He would put butts in seats. He would probably recruit and develop a couple of NFL-quality quarterbacks. Heck, he might even win an ACC title or two.
And for Miami, isn't winning what's most important right now?
Yes, Leach is a wildcard. He's outspoken. He is, for lack of a better term, a "rebel."
But rebellion is what the Miami program was built on in the first place. Now that Shannon has done the hard work--now that he's brought a sense of discipline and responsibility to Miami's off-the-field affairs--the time has come for the 'Canes to bring some sense of excitement back to their collective on-the-field persona.
And of all the coaches available today, Leach is the only guy up to that task.
All due respect, of course, to Jon Gruden.
Photo: Mike Leach to Miami? It's a perfect fit. (Getty Images)