Matt Jones has been the online sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and NWA Media since 2010. He is also a feature writer for Hawgs Illustrated magazine and is currently working on his Master's degree at the University of Arkansas.
Favorite Sport: Basketball
Best Sports Memories: Watching Arkansas' basketball national championship in 1994; being at the Georgia Dome when the tornado hit during the 2008 SEC Tournament; countless hours spent at Baum Stadium in the spring.
Favorite Fayetteville Restaurants: Noodles, Penguin Ed's and Mojitos
Education: University of Arkansas
Shannon promoted on UA staff
Arkansas linebackers coach Randy Shannon talks with reporters following the Arkansas Razorbacks' national signing day press conference at the Fred Smith Center in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Randy Shannon has been promoted to senior associate head coach of Arkansas' football team.
Shannon, the Razorbacks' linebackers coach, will receive an amended contract as part of the deal, though a new contract has not been finalized. Shannon was set to receive $315,000 annually as part of his original agreement at Arkansas.
The former Miami head coach had been considered a candidate for the Razorbacks' vacant defensive coordinator position. Shannon was the 2001 Broyles Award winner while defensive coordinator at Miami.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said he expects to announce a new defensive coordinator within the next week. Chris Ash left the position last month for a similar role at Ohio State.
"Randy and I talked right away after the departure of Chris and he's going to bump up a little bit on our staff," Bielema said. "He helps me in so many ways in everything from football and recruiting, to I've hired a couple of people he had hired in the past to work in our academics and work in our strength staffs.
"(The coordinator position) is something I've been concentrating on, but I think of because where we're at in the recruiting cycle and what we needed, it wasn't something that was an issue with any kid we came across. That's why I really opted to put that decision off until now."
Shannon, 47, is one of the most respected coaches on the Razorbacks' staff. His ties to South Florida helped Arkansas sign five players from the Miami area on Wednesday.
"I think he means a great deal to us," defensive assistant coach Taver Johnson said. "You've got a former head coach and a former assistant coach who was successful in both areas. When you have a person like that who can relate to anyone who walks through the door, whether it be players, coaches or families, that's someone you can learn from. I'm extremely excited and thrilled for him. When Coach (Bielema) announced that I shook my fist and clapped my hands because we really respect him."
Johnson, a former assistant head coach who served as the team's interim head coach following Bobby Petrino's firing two years ago, said Shannon's new position is important.
"He's really just another head coach," Johnson said. "If Coach Bielema's not around or something else is going on, he's just the next guy in charge. There is a ranking system in the military and there's one on a coaching staff. Everyone understands that rank."