Larry Coker


Larry Coker

College coach infobox


Name = Larry Coker
| ImageWidth =
DateOfBirth = birth date and age|1948|6|23
Birthplace = Okemah, OK
DateOfDeath =
Sport = Football
College =
Title =
CurrentRecord =
OverallRecord = 60-15 (.800)
Awards = 2001 Bear Bryant Coach of the Year
2001 AFCA Coach of the Year
Championships = 2001 National Championship
2001-03 Big East Champions
CFbDWID = 411
Player = Y
Years = 1966-69
Team = Northeastern State (OK)
Position = Defensive back
Coach = Y
CoachYears = 2001-2006
CoachTeams = University of Miami
FootballHOF =

Larry Coker (born June 23, 1948 in Okemah, Oklahoma) is the former head coach at the University of Miami from 2001 to 2006. He was fired by the University of Miami on November 24, 2006 following a 6-loss season. He is currently a television analyst for ESPNU.

Coaching career

Coker had served as an assistant at several universities (including Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State) and as Miami's offensive coordinator from 1995 to 2000 before taking over as head coach following the departure of then-coach Butch Davis to the Cleveland Browns of the NFL.

2001 Season

Coker was hired as head coach of Miami at the behest of the team, who had been edged out of appearing in the BCS Championship Game the year before and lobbied to the Miami Athletic Department that Coker be promoted. Coker met with immediate success, as he guided the Hurricanes to a 12-0 record and the national championship in his first season, dominating a Nebraska Cornhuskers team in the Rose Bowl. For his efforts, Coker was given numerous honors, including the Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year Award and the 2001 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Coach of the Year Award.

2002 season

The Hurricanes won their first 12 games in 2002, pushing a winning streak that dated back to the 2000 season to 34 games and giving Coker an unblemished 24-0 record heading into the Fiesta Bowl National Championship Game. In a controversial game, the 11 1/2-point underdog Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the Hurricanes 31-24 in two overtimes to win the national championship and finish with a 14-0 record. With the Buckeyes trailing 24-17 and facing a fourth-and-3 from the Miami 5-yard line in the first overtime, Ohio State quarterback Craig Krenzel threw a pass to the right corner of the endzone to receiver Chris Gamble, who was being covered by Miami defensive back Glenn Sharpe. Gamble reached back and got his hands on the ball, but couldn't hold on. Fireworks were set off and Miami players and fans streamed onto the field in celebration of what they thought was another national championship. However, after a bit of a delay, official Terry Porter threw a flag on the field and called Sharpe for pass interference for pushing Gamble, a controversial call that continues to be disputed. Regardless, three plays later, Ohio State scored a touchdown to tie it up and send the game into a second overtime. The Buckeyes quickly scored a touchdown at the start of the second overtime period to take the lead and clinched the championship when the defense stopped Miami and quarterback Ken Dorsey on a fourth-and-goal pass play from the Ohio State 1-yard line.

Despite the loss, Coker tied Walter Camp for the best record by a college football head coach in his first 32 games (31-1).

2003 season

In 2003, things took a different turn when a pair of late season losses kept Miami out of the BCS National Championship Game for the first time during Coker's tenure. Nevertheless, the 'Canes won the Big East Conference and defeated their archrivals, the Florida State Seminoles, for the second time that season in the 2004 Orange Bowl and finished the campaign with an 11-2 record and ranked fifth in both polls.

2004 season

Miami joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004 and the team finished with a somewhat disappointing 9-3 record and #11 ranking in the final polls. However, Miami ended the season by beating the rival Florida Gators 27-10 in the Peach Bowl.

2005 season

In late September 2005, Coker agreed to a five-year contract extension with the university. The new contract would have paid Coker in the neighborhood of $2 million per season, which made him one of the highest-paid coaches in college football.

However, the 2005 season ended on a disappointing note for Coker and Miami, as the Hurricanes lost 2 of their last 3 games, including a 40-3 loss to LSU in the Peach Bowl, the worst bowl loss in school history. The loss was marred by a postgame fight in the tunnel leaving the stadium, and it was evident that Coker's team quit on him in the 2nd half of the game. In the wake of the loss, Coker fired four longtime Miami assistants. The school finished 9-3 for the second consecutive season.

Coker drew tremendous criticism after the season, as his teams were producing diminishing results since his first season, losing no games in 2001, one in 2002, two in 2003, three in 2004, and losing three games and suffering the worst bowl loss in school history in 2005. It wasn't just the increased number of losses, but the wins were getting closer and closer as well. Lesser teams were able to stay in games, Coker's teams looked lackadaisical and unfocused more times than not. Coker fired four assistants in the aftermath of the LSU loss in an attempt to rejuvenate the team: offensive coordinator Dan Werner, offensive line coach Art Kehoe, running backs coach Don Soldinger, and linebackers coach Vernon Hargreaves.

Coker was reported to be on the hot seat entering the 2006 season, with many speculating that he would need to at least take the team to a BCS bowl in order to keep his job.

2006 season

Miami began the 2006 season 1-2, with losses to Florida State and Louisville, leaving the team unranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 1999. After rumors following the Louisville loss that Coker's firing was imminent, Miami Director of Athletics Paul Dee gave Coker a vote of confidence, stating that he would coach at least through the end of the season.

After the team's October 14 win against FIU, which was marred by a bench-clearing brawl, questions were raised in the media as to whether Coker would resign or be fired, but he was again given a vote of confidence by the school administration.

The next week, with 13 players suspended by the ACC, Miami defeated winless Duke 20-15. All but one of the players returned the next week, as Miami jumped out to a 10-0 lead over Georgia Tech, but struggled in the fourth quarter, losing the game 30-23. This left the team at 5-3 for the year, further encouraging speculation that Coker may be dismissed by season's end.

The following week, Coker's team lost to Virginia Tech 17-10, as ESPN analysts questioned his management of the clock in the game's final minutes. This was the first time Miami had been an underdog at home in Coker's six seasons as the coach. The team fell to 5-4 and just 2-3 in the ACC, and suffered its first four-loss season since 1999.

Firing

Miami defeated a ranked Boston College team on Thanksgiving to finish the regular season 6-6. Revealing an apparent lack of communication between Coker and UM President Donna Shalala, Coker predicted after the loss that he would be back as head coach in 2007. The following day, however, Coker was fired as head coach.

On December 8, 2006 the University of Miami announced Larry Coker's successor to be Randy Shannon. Shannon was UM's defensive coordinator from 2001-2006 under Coker. Coker was allowed to coach the team in the MPC Computers Bowl on December 31, 2006. [ [http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=2674282 ESPN - Coker fired by Miami after .500 season - College Football ] ] in which Miami narrowly defeated the University of Nevada 21-20.

In January, 2007, Coker interviewed for the head coach position at Rice University. According to several media sources, Coker was one of two finalists for the position. However, Rice selected David Bailiff, formerly head coach at Texas State University, and Coker was not affiliated with any team at the beginning of the 2007 season.

Record as head coach

CFB Yearly Record Subhead
name = Miami Hurricanes
startyear = 2001
conf = Big East Conference
endyear = 2003
CFB Yearly Record Entry
championship = national
year = 2001
name = Miami
overall = 12-0
conference = 7-0
confstanding = 1st
bowlname = Rose Bowl
bowloutcome = W
bcsbowl = yes
ranking = 1
ranking2 = 1
CFB Yearly Record Entry
championship = conference
year = 2002
name = Miami
overall = 12-1
conference = 7-0
confstanding = 1st
bowlname = Fiesta Bowl
bowloutcome = L
bcsbowl = yes
ranking = 2
ranking2 = 2
CFB Yearly Record Entry
championship = conference
year = 2003
name = Miami
overall = 11-2
conference = 6-1
confstanding = 1st
bowlname = Orange Bowl
bowloutcome = W
bcsbowl = yes
ranking = 5
ranking2 = 5
CFB Yearly Record Subtotal
name = Miami
overall = 35-3
confrecord = 20-1
CFB Yearly Record Subhead
name = Miami Hurricanes
startyear = 2004
conf = Atlantic Coast Conference
endyear = 2006
CFB Yearly Record Entry
championship =
year = 2004
name = Miami
overall = 9-3
conference = 5-3
confstanding =
bowlname = Peach Bowl
bowloutcome = W
bcsbowl =
ranking = 11
ranking2 = 11
CFB Yearly Record Entry
championship =
year = 2005
name = Miami
overall = 9-3
conference = 6-2
confstanding =
bowlname = Peach Bowl
bowloutcome = L
bcsbowl =
ranking = 18
ranking2 = 17
CFB Yearly Record Entry
championship =
year = 2006
name = Miami
overall = 7-6
conference = 3-5
confstanding =
bowlname = MPC Computers Bowl
bowloutcome = W
bcsbowl =
ranking =
ranking2 =
CFB Yearly Record Subtotal
name = Miami
overall = 25-12
confrecord = 14-10
CFB Yearly Record End
overall = 60-15
bcs =
poll =
polltype =

Highlights

*Career Record: 60-15 (.800)
*Bowl Record: 4-2
*2001 National Championship
*5-2 record vs. Florida State
*3-0 record vs. University of Florida
*2002 American Football Monthly magazine National Coach of the Year
*2001 Bear Bryant Coach of the Year
*2001 AFCA Coach of the Year (Shared with Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen)
*Two-time Big East Conference Coach of the Year (2001, 2002)

References

External links

* [http://hurricanesports.collegesports.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/coker_larry00.html Larry Coker Biography at UM Athletics Official Web Site] .


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