FAYETTEVILLE — When Randy Shannon left his alma mater after the 1997 season, Miami turned to Vernon Hargreaves to replace him as linebackers coach.

FAYETTEVILLE — When Randy Shannon left his alma mater after the 1997 season, Miami turned to Vernon Hargreaves to replace him as linebackers coach.


Hargreaves is following the same rout to Arkansas 14 years later.


"It worked out pretty good last time," Hargreaves said during a teleconference Tuesday afternoon. "So hopefully we can make history repeat itself."


Hargreaves was announced as the Razorbacks’ linebackers coach Tuesday, stepping into a position that opened when Shannon accepted a job on Jim McElwain’s staff at Florida. The veteran brings 30 years of coaching experience to the Razorbacks, including a national championship season with the Hurricanes in 2002.


He also brings recruiting ties to South Florida after working as a linebackers coach for the Hurricanes (1998-2005) and defensive ends coach at South Florida (2010-12). It was one of the characteristics Arkansas coach Bret Bielema was looking for when he set out on his search to replace Shannon on his defensive staff.


"I am very excited about Coach Hargreaves as the newest addition to our excellent coaching staff," Bielema said in a statement Tuesday. "I have known Vernon for more than a decade and he has the ability and proven experience to adapt to multiple systems as a linebackers coach. His championship pedigree will make our linebackers better and help us continue recruiting from coast to coast."


Hargreaves agreed to a contract that will pay him $275,000 annually through June 30, 2016. It includes a $100,000 buyout if he were to leave for another position. The buyout drops to $50,000 on Feb. 16, 2016 through the end of the contract.


He’ll take over a unit that showed plenty of growth under Shannon’s watch the past two seasons, playing a role in Arkansas’ defensive turnaround in 2014.


Martrell Spaight, the SEC’s leading tackler, will not be back as he prepares for a pro career. But Brooks Ellis will return as the group’s leader. Hargreaves said he’s eager to work with the returning players and defensive coordinator Robb Smith.


"What we’re doing right now and what coach Smith is doing right now kind of falls in line with a lot of the things that I actually believe in," Hargreaves said. "First and foremost, I think the guys have to be good fundamentally. They have to know how to play the position, learn how to play with their hands and play with leverage and all those types of things. I think a lot of the guys that we’re going to have and the guys we’re going to be able to recruit are going to have ability."


Hargreaves said he spoke with Bielema about the position roughly 10 days ago, but didn’t know if he’d land the job. He said Bielema was "very thorough" in making sure he "gets the right guys in place" and completed the interview process.


In the end, Hargreaves was tabbed as Shannon’s replacement.


"I was fortunate enough to come out with it at the end," Hargreaves said.


Hargreaves will join Arkansas’ staff after spending the past two seasons as a linebackers coach at Houston. He also worked as the special teams coordinator/defensive ends coach at South Florida (2010-12) and East Carolina (2007-09), and was linebackers coach at Florida International in 2006. Hargreaves spent the first 13 years of his career as the linebackers coach at Connecticut, his alma mater, where he also was an All-American.


Hargreaves’ greatest coaching success came at Miami, where he replaced Shannon as linebackers coach in 1998 and was part of teams that reached two national title games and won the championship in 2002. He was the position coach for future NFL linebackers Jonathan Vilma, Dan Morgan and D.J. Williams during his Miami tenure.


Shannon worked with Hargreaves from 2001-05 after returning from his three-year stint in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins. Shannon was the Hurricanes’ defensive coordinator, while Hargreaves coached linebackers.


Hargreaves said he spoke with Shannon about the Arkansas job.


"He didn’t have anything but great things to say about everybody on the staff and everything else," Hargreaves said. "So that’s why I was really excited about the opportunity and the chance to be part of this and take it on to the next level."


His first task will be on the recruiting trail, helping Arkansas finalize its 2015 class.


Hargreaves will likely spent much of his time recruiting in Florida, which has become a fertile area for the Razorbacks under Bielema. The Razorbacks have signed players like running back Alex Collins, offensive lineman Denver Kirkland and wide receivers Kendrick Edward and Jojo Robinson the past two seasons.


Hargreaves — who will be on campus when Arkansas hosts official visitors Friday — said he plans on helping the Razorbacks secure more.


"Bret and I have known each other for a long time and I am honored to join such an outstanding coaching staff," Hargreaves said in a statement announcing his hire Tuesday morning. "I’m very passionate about recruiting South Florida, and cannot wait to start bringing more Florida Hogs to Fayetteville."