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Howard Schnellenberger passes away at 87 years of age

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The architect of the State of Miami, 1983 National Championship, dies at 87 years of age.

Florida Atlantic at Miami Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The legendary football coach, Howard Schnellenberger, has passed away at the age of 87. An Indiana native, Schnellenberger, has left behind a legacy in the state of Florida between his time with the Miami Dolphins, Miami Hurricanes, and FAU Owls.

Schellenberger is most remembered for his time as the offensive coordinator for the 1972 undefeated Miami Dolphins, and as the National Championship winning head coach of the Miami Hurricanes in 1983. Coach Schnellenberger won four national titles in the college football world and one Super Bowl in the NFL.

Schnellenberger played tight end at Kentucky from 1952-1956 before coaching wide receivers and tight ends for the Wildcats from 1959-1960. Schnellenberger then became the offensive coordinator under Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama from 1961-1965. In his short time in Tuscaloosa, Schnellenberger won the National Championship in ‘61, ‘64, and ‘65.

After his time at Alabama, Schnellenberger went to the L.A. Rams as as tight end coach from 1966-1969 before heading to South Florida to serves as the Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator under NFL Hall of Fame coach Don Shula. Schnelly helped Shula win the Super Bowl for the Dolphins 1972 undefeated season.

Schnelly then went on to be the Baltimore Colts head coach from 1973-1974 before being fired. Schnellenberger then returned to the Dolphins as O.C. from 1975-1978 before taking over as the head football coach of the lowly Miami Hurricanes before the 1979 season.

The Hurricanes had been such an after-thought before Schnelly’s run that the program was nearly shut down. However, Schellenberger decided to cut off the counties of Dade, Broward and Palm Beach and create the “State of Miami.” In doing so, the Hurricanes quickly rose into being a dyansty of college football from 1983 through 1994.

Schnellenberger put the Miami Hurricanes on the college football map with an upset of the number one ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers, at the time considered the greatest college football team of all-time. The Huskers traveled to Miami’s Orange Bowl to faec the #4 Hurricanes. The Hurricanes upset the Huskers and following the season Schnelly was headed to the USFL.

Motor City Bowl - Florida Atlantic v Central Michigan Photo by Mark Cunningham/Getty Images

After the USFL folded before Howard ever coached a game, he wound up at Louisville from 1985-1994. Schnellenberger then coached the 1995 season at Oklahoma. Schnellenberger left coaching for some time after his lone season with the Sooners, and returned to football in 1998 to build the FAU football program from scratch. Schnelly coached his first game with the Owls in 2001, and stayed on as head coach through 2011.

Schnellenberger finished his time as the Hurricanes head coach with a 41-16 record that included Peach Bowl and Orange Bowl victories. Howard finished 54-56-2 at Louisville, winning the Fiesta and Liberty Bowls. Schnellenberger’s lone season at Oklahoma posted a 5-5-1 record.

At FAU, Howard led the Owls to the I-AA Semifinal in 2003, and wins in the New Orleans and Motor City Bowls. He finished his time at FAU with a 58-74 record.