MIAMI (AP) — Howard Schnellenberger was a pipe smoker with a push-broom mustache and gruff baritone, and he paired his grandiloquent method with grandiose visions for soccer at Miami, Louisville and Florida Atlantic that brought on snickers.
In any respect three faculties, Schnellenberger disproved doubters. He revived the game at Miami and Louisville and began this system at Florida Atlantic throughout a training profession that spanned a half century.
Schnellenberger died Saturday at 87 in Boca Raton, Florida. FAU introduced his loss of life and mentioned he just lately had been in a care middle.
Schnellenberger had a profession document beneath .500, however when it got here to constructing, he was a winner. His legacy contains on-campus stadiums at Louisville and Florida Atlantic.
He led the Miami Hurricanes to the primary of their 5 nationwide championships in 1983, and coached Louisville to a Fiesta Bowl win over Alabama to cap the 1990 season. He then based this system at Florida Atlantic and retired as coach after 11 seasons highlighted by back-to-back bowl victories.
In all places Schnellenberger coached, he envisioned a successful group as a unifying pressure, the best way it was with the ’83 Hurricanes.
“I feel all of it goes again to the day that they had a parade in Miami for the nationwide championship group,” he as soon as mentioned.
“I noticed the folks on the sidelines — black households, Cuban households, Hispanics and Anglo households — all there, 100,000 robust, celebrating their ball group and group.
“That soccer group was capable of do one thing the federal authorities, metropolis and county tried to do and couldn’t: carry the group collectively.”
Schnellenberger’s profession bowl document was 6-0, and he skilled perfection within the NFL, too. He was the offensive coordinator beneath Don Shula for the Miami Dolphins in 1972, after they received the Tremendous Bowl to complete 17-0 for the NFL’s solely undefeated, untied season.
He would put on a championship ring on every hand, one for the Dolphins and the opposite for the ’83 Hurricanes. That College of Miami group completed No. 1 because of a 31-30 upset victory over Nebraska within the Orange Bowl, a sport nonetheless thought of among the many best in faculty soccer historical past.
“The factor I bear in mind most about that sport was the best way South Florida rallied behind our group,” Schnellenberger mentioned a decade later. “Within the Orange Bowl that night time was a cost of electrical energy I had by no means felt there. The hair on the again of my neck stood up due to the power from the group.”
That was the peripatetic Schnellenberger’s remaining sport with the Hurricanes. He left to teach Miami’s franchise in america Soccer League, however the group shortly folded earlier than enjoying a sport.
“I don’t remorse the choice I made,” he mentioned. “I’ve the complete realization it was type of dumb, however I’ve made plenty of dumb selections in my private life.”
Restlessness contributed to Schnellenberger’s so-so profession document: 158-151-3 in 27 years in faculty, and 4-13 with the NFL Baltimore Colts in 1973-74, for 162-164-3 total.
Schnellenberger was born March 16, 1934, in Saint Meinrad, Indiana, and performed for “Bear” Bryant and Blanton Collier at Kentucky. He started his teaching profession as an assistant at Kentucky in 1959. As an assistant for Bryant in 1961-65, he recruited Joe Namath and helped Alabama win three nationwide titles.
At Miami, Schnellenberger took over in 1979 amid debate about whether or not the moribund program ought to fold. Attendance started to enhance when the Hurricanes went 9-3 and received the Peach Bowl in his second season.
Thus started greater than a decade of dominance because the Hurricanes shortly turned a feeder faculty for the NFL. Schnellenberger’s quarterbacks included Jim Kelly and Bernie Kosar, who went on to star within the execs, and Mark Richt, who later turned the Hurricanes’ coach.
“He was an offensive genius, but additionally a person of integrity,” Richt tweeted Saturday.
Schnellenberger undertook one other rebuilding undertaking when he went to Louisville in 1985, inheriting a program that had endured six consecutive dropping seasons. He mentioned the Cardinals would return to the High 25, and mapped out plans for a brand new stadium, convention membership and renewal of the sequence with Kentucky — all of which occurred.
“He was one of many giants in faculty soccer,” Louisville coach Scott Satterfield mentioned in a press release, “and his impression on the game within the state of Kentucky is immeasurable.”
In 1990 the Cardinals went 10-1-1 and received the Fiesta Bowl, they usually received the Liberty Bowl three seasons later. However in 1995 Schnellenberger left to teach Oklahoma, and the transfer was a catastrophe.
Besieged by rumors relating to his ingesting and remedy of gamers, he bitterly resigned beneath strain after going 5-5-1 in his lone season there. When requested if the expertise at Oklahoma soured him on soccer, Schnellenberger replied: “It soured me on Oklahoma solely.”
He returned to South Florida and labored as a municipal bond dealer till he was employed by Florida Atlantic to construct a program from scratch. He employed himself as coach, and the Owls performed their first sport in 2001.
“That is an important factor I’ve ever undertaken,” he mentioned. “We’re on a collision course with a nationwide championship, and time is the one variable.”
It hasn’t occurred but, however Schnellenberger led the Owls to 2 bowl wins and oversaw the opening of their stadium in 2011. He retired following that season.
Survivors embody Beverlee, his spouse of 61 years. A personal memorial Mass shall be held.
Extra AP faculty soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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