I had a chance to catch up with Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt during the Hurricanes’ win against Florida A&M on Thursday night, and here is a little of what he had to say:
Andrea Adelson: You made big news this week when you said Miami was looking into playing a game at Yankee Stadium. Has there been anything new in those talks?
Kirby Hocutt: No, nothing new. Obviously we’ve been talking to them for a number of months about different possibilities and scenarios. It’s a market that makes such sense for us to be there. We have over 15,000 alums living in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut area. We’ve got a great fan base there. We’ve got one of the strongest brands in college football. We want to be aggressive as we look at neutral-site opportunities and taking our program to different locations across the United States.
AA: Does the opponent matter or is it just getting to play in New York?
KH: Opponent matters. It’s got to make sense to our non-conference schedule for that year. At the same time you want it to be a marquee game, one that television is interested in, one that’s going to sell out. We’re too early in this stage to say.
AA: Any timetable for an announcement?
KH: Not specifically. I don’t think it’s a sense of urgency on either of our parts right now. But it’s a great opportunity and one I’m hopeful in the coming months we can continue to talk about.
AA: What is your philosophy on the non-conference scheduling? Miami seems to embrace marquee games. Notre Dame is coming up, you have a big one next week against Ohio State.
KH: Our program has been built on that mentality of playing the best of the best. Randy Shannon is doing all the right things. Our young men are excelling in the classroom. We’re excelling off the field in our community services. He’s assembling the talent to be the marquee football program in the country again. The chance to play the best of the best, to show that we belong at the top of the college football world -- that’s our goal. There’s one way to achieve that, and it’s playing an aggressive non-conference schedule. That’s our philosophy here and will continue to be. Our fan base demands it and our football team deserves it.
AA: Is too much being made of the importance of the Ohio State game?
KH: It’s a national game. It’s a national stage and a great opportunity. It’s important because it’s the next game on our schedule. We’ll be ready. It will be fun. It will be a great environment for our young men to experience and show where this football program is.
AA: How has Shannon done now that he is going into his fourth year on the job?
KH: Randy’s doing a tremendous job. When you look at the progress he’s made in the three years under his leadership, it’s tremendous. The accountability, the discipline he has established in this program, the caliber of young person that he’s bringing into Coral Gables is exceptional. These are tremendously talented young men doing the right things.
Randy Shannon is Miami. He defines Miami, he’s been a part of this program literally his whole entire professional life since he was a student-athlete. He’s a champion. He’s won national championships as a player. He’s been a part of national champions as a coach. He knows what it takes. The first time I met Randy he said this is where the program is, this is my plan, we’re going to remain consistent and stick with that plan. It’s working.
AA: Do you embrace the high expectations on the team this season?
KH: We have the same expectations. Of course we embrace them. Anything short of a championship at the University of Miami would be less than expectations. That’s the way we want it and expect it to be.
AA: Where is this program now?
KH: I think we’re one of the premier college football programs in America -- if it’s in the classroom or on the field. What a great stage to show where we’re at next week.