CORAL GABLES, Fla. – As part of its 30th anniversary celebration, the University of Miami will honor the 1983 National Champion football team at halftime of its Aug. 30 season opener against Florida Atlantic.
More than 50 players and coaches from the 1983 team are planning to attend, with more names being added to the growing list daily.
The 1983 National Champions will be guests at the Hurricane Club Pre-Game Tailgate Aug. 30 at 5:30 p.m. at Sun Life Stadium, and the team will be honored at halftime of the FAU game.
"1983 was the linchpin that put into place the wonderful talent that was assembled and would continue to create the greatest college football dynasty since World War II," former Miami Hurricanes head coach Howard Schnellenberger said. "I was thrilled when I learned the University was going to move up the next scheduled reunion so that I and many others could participate and enjoy."
Upon his arrival in Coral Gables in 1979, Schnellenberger boldly predicted that the Hurricanes would win a National Championship within five years. Critics scoffed, but Schnellenberger’s players backed him up by doing exactly what their coach said they would – win a championship and become No. 1.
The 1983 Hurricanes ran the table on the season’s final 11 games. Victories over Notre Dame, Louisville and West Virginia helped move UM steadily up the national rankings, and a regular-season-ending 17-16 last-second win at Florida State propelled them into the 50th Orange Bowl Classic.
At the Orange Bowl, the underdog Hurricanes got off to a 17-0 start against No. 1-ranked Nebraska and never looked back, prevailing 31-30 in what many called the most exciting college football game ever played. The win gave Miami its first of five Football National Championships.
Albert Bentley, who scored what turned out to be Miami’s winning touchdown in the game, will be one of the 50+ players and coaches attending the reunion.
"That (1983 National Championship) was the foundation that put us on the map as a serious football program," said Bentley, who went on to play eight years in the NFL and is now a financial planner in Fort Myers. "The only thing that gives validation as a great team is a championship. I’m really looking forward to (the reunion). College is so different than the pros …in college you go in with the same class and you go out with the same class, college really is a band of brothers."
Also in attendance will be Kenny Calhoun, now in his 25th year in law enforcement in Polk County and the player who knocked down Nebraska’s two-point conversion attempt with 48 seconds remaining to seal the upset victory.
"It is important to remember that we did it first," Calhoun said. "We showed that with good leadership and a good bunch of guys, you can achieve your goals."
In anticipation of the 1983 National Champion team being honored as the season opener, the team, as well as Miami’s other four football national titles, was the focus of HurricaneSports.com’s #BuildingChampions summer series.