Coach Howard Schnellenberger Dies, Leaves Behind Legacy

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Coaching legend Howard Schnellenberger has died at the age of 87, his family announced Saturday.

Schnellenberger was the offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins for their perfect season in 1972 and again from 1975-78, before leaving to become the head coach of the Miami Hurricanes in 1979.

“Without him, there is no Miami Football,” the team tweeted. “Howard Schnellenberger leaves behind a legacy more impactful than he’ll ever know.”

Schnellenberger took over a Miami program that was nearing extinction in 1979.

“He installed a pro-style attack with quarterback Jim Kelly and led Miami to an Orange Bowl bid and a National Championship just four years later,” FAU Athletics said. “His teams lost only two home games in five years (22-2) while laying the groundwork for a program that went on to win three more national titles in the next seven seasons.”

Schnellenberger quickly turned the struggling Hurricanes program into a national force, culminating in a championship in 1983.

Schnellenberger returned to his home city of Louisville in 1985 to build a college football contender, where his top team finished 10-1-1 and defeated Alabama in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl — the highlight of the most successful decade in Louisville football history.

“The Schnellenberger era also generated support for the University’s 42,000-seat, on-campus stadium,” FAU Athletics said.

Throughout his career, Schnellenberger led two teams to four collegiate national football championships — the University of Alabama in 1961, 1964, 1965, and the University of Miami in 1983.

He also was awarded 1983 National Coach of the Year, and the 1983 National Champions defeating Nebraska 31-30 in the 50th Anniversary Orange Bowl Game, according to FAU Athletics.

He made seven NFL playoff appearances — with the Los Angeles Rams 1967, 1969, and with the Miami Dolphins 1970, 1971, 1972, 1976 and 1979 — and had the best record in NFL history as the Miami Dolphins’ offensive coordinator, going 17-0 in 1972.

“Coach Schnellenberger touched so many lives and left an impact upon those who were viewed by his steely blue eyes or addressed by his signature baritone voice,” FAU Athletics released in a statement. “His impact will be carried on through today’s leaders and through the strong men and women who were lucky to fall under his tutelage.”

Written by Megan Turner

Megan graduated from the University of Central Florida and writes and tweets about anything related to sports. She replies to comments she shouldn't reply to online and thinks the CFP Rankings are absolutely rigged. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


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