GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Ever since he took over as Florida’s interim coach, Randy Shannon was peppered with questions about where his future lies in the coaching world.
Has he talked with athletic director Scott Stricklin? Does he feel his spot on the staff is secure? Does he even want to stay at Florida?
Each time he was asked over the past four weeks, Shannon gave the same answer: He’s focused on the present.
So with the season over — the Gators finishing 4-7 following a 38-22 loss to Florida State on Saturday — the question was asked yet again.
The answer remained the same.
“You know the only thing that’s been talked about, being honest with you, is being the interim coach,” Shannon said. “And that’s the only thing I worried about. I’m still the interim coach. We’ve got meeting [Sunday] at 4, I’ve got to make sure the guys academically is OK. And like I said, fellas, that’s the only thing I worry about. I don’t worry about a lot of many things. … My job is to be where I am at this point in time.”
At this point in time, though, the season is over. The Gators suffered their second season with just four wins in a five-year span.
A season that was ravaged from the start when nine players were suspended for alleged credit card fraud and saw many twists and turns has ended.
And soon, a new regime will come in.
Before that, though, Shannon said the current staff still have a few loose ends to clean up.
“Our job is to make sure the guys are doing all the right things on and off the field. Academics is a really big key, and that’s our job. We’re not going to slack off just because the season is over with,” Shannon said. “When you’re professional about it, you’re going to be professional about your job. We’ve got to make sure [we] maintain and stay on top of those guys.”
Shannon said the Gators are still recruiting, too.
Even with the coaching situation in flux and Florida’s reeling season falling further down the hole every passing week, the Gators still had a group of recruits on hand for the game on Saturday.
Shannon knows the Gators need to find a way to keep their recruiting classes intact. Florida’s 2018 class is ranked ninth nationally and second in the SEC, according to the 247Sports composite. The 2019 class is No. 1 overall.
“The unknown sometimes can steer you the wrong way, but this staff, they professionals, they going to do their job,” Shannon said. “Our job is to recruit for the University of Florida. … We’ve got to keep selling the University of Florida, selling the family, selling the academic part of it and selling the brand.”
But in the midst of the unknown, if an offer to remain with the Florida Gators was offered, Shannon said he would have no hesitation with his answer.
“I like Florida. I like Gainesville,” Shannon said. “It’s a great place, like any other place, but this is a unique, fun place to be at.”