|Coach Randy Shannon's son comes to play at Miami|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 07 August 2008 11:21|
``That was it,'' Randy Shannon said.
That was it, the tale of how Xavier Shannon passed up his final season of eligibility at Florida International and enroll in a master's program at Miami, where his father just happens to be the football coach. No recruitment, no wink-and-a-nod at the dinner table, no pressure from within the family.
Quite the opposite, actually.
See, Randy Shannon needed to be convinced by assistant coaches that his son - a 6-foot-1, 302-pound offensive lineman who could be Miami's starting center this fall - actually merited a spot on the team. It's a situation the elder Shannon truly never wanted a part of, not out of lack of belief in his son's abilities, but out of the natural cries of favoritism that his child may have to deal with.
``No one ever says anything about it anymore. I'm just a player on the team,'' Xavier Shannon said. ``I don't want to be treated differently. I don't feel like I have to do more than any other players or do less. I'm going to do what every other person on the team does and whatever I can do to help the team, that's what I'm going to do.''
They are very much alike, in so many ways.
Facially, their looks are nearly identical. Physically, there's no comparison, of course: Randy has the body of a person who gets up and runs for several miles each morning, while Xavier has the body of a person who gets up and lifts weights for hours. Both can seem relatively quiet, both can be direct with their answers, both have a penchant for looking people squarely in the eye when talking.
On the field, you'd never know they were related, though, because they're hardly ever around each other. The father went through nearly the entire spring practice season without talking to the son, only breaking the silence in the final practice after a botched snap.
``It seemed like the entire field got quiet,'' Xavier said. ``I just put my head down in the huddle and the whole huddle just started laughing. But we've done a very good job of separating coach Randy Shannon from father Randy Shannon.''
Xavier is not on scholarship at Miami; he does, however, qualify for tuition remission from the university because his father is an employee.
After graduating from FIU, he decided on a very specific career: He wants to be a dean of students at an institute of higher learning someday. To get there, he decided he needed to get his master's degree in enrollment management - which, loosely defined, prepares students to become college administrators.
The first school in the country to offer such a program? The University of Miami.
``This is home,'' Xavier Shannon said. ``And I'm loving it.''
It's mildly surprising that their paths are now joined.
Father coached against son twice; the Coral Gables High grad was starting for FIU in 2006 and 2007, when the neighboring schools played each other. Neither side enjoyed those games, at least from the family-versus-family aspect.
But now, for the first and last time, they'll be on the same sideline.
And even though the father isn't in meetings with the son and insists that he won't have any influence over playing time or any issue like that, they both are relishing the chance to be together.
``I think the team knows how I am,'' Randy Shannon said. ``They know I'm not going to play favoritism. But he's always known that I'm the type of guy that I'll support you in anything that you do, if you're my son, if you're not my son, if you're on the team. But he also knows the consequences of it. He knows he's going to have to work hard and even though I'm his dad, he knows I'm going to treat him just like a regular player.''