Randy Shannon has one of the more compelling personal stories that you’ll find in college football.

He grew up in a tough Miami neighborhood of Liberty City where drug use and crime were a way of life. He had two brothers and a sister who died of AIDs. His father was murdered. Another brother went to prison.

He overcame it all to play on a national championship team at Miami (1987) and eventually became the head coach of the Hurricanes (2007-2010).

So don’t think for a minute that Shannon, now 51, was overwhelmed when he was tapped on Sunday to serve as Florida’s interim head football coach. Shannon replaces Jim McElwain, who brought Shannon to Miami as a linebackers coach and eventually moved him to the Gators’ defensive coordinator.

Now he has to steer this struggling Florida team (3-4, 3-3 SEC) through its final four games with Missouri, South Carolina, UAB, and Florida State.

“This is a tough situation but we have to help these men be the best that they can be,” said Shannon when we talked earlier this week.”

 The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.