COACH HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER KEYNOTING CONCORD UNIVERSITY ATHLETIC CELEBRATION
Banquet to honor Mountain Lions 2011 WVIAC championship football team
ATHENS, W.Va. – Legendary football coach Howard Schnellenberger will be the keynote speaker for a football banquet honoring the Mountain Lions 2011 WVIAC championship football team Friday, March 30, 2012. The celebration begins at 7 p.m. in the Carter Center main gym on Concord University’s Athens campus.
Concord’s athletic department and Mountain Lion Club are sponsoring the event.
Schnellenberger grew up primarily in Louisville, Ky. He was a star tight end with the University of Kentucky, where he attended from 1952-56. He briefly played with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League before going into coaching. There, he quickly began building an elite resume at both the major college and NFL levels, serving under mega-icons Paul “Bear” Bryant, George Allen and Don Shula.
Schnellenberger was an assistant at the University of Kentucky from 1959-60, the University of Alabama from 1961-65, the Los Angeles Rams from 1966-69 and the Miami Dolphins from 1970-72 and 1975-78. The 1961, 1964 and 1965 Alabama teams won the national championship and the 1972 Dolphins are the only team in NFL history to have a perfect record, capping it with a victory in Super Bowl VII.
Schnellenberger’s blazing success as an assistant led to him becoming a head coach. His first head coaching job was with the Baltimore Colts from 1973-74. In 1979, he took over a struggling University of Miami program and quickly turned the program around. He amazingly led the Hurricanes to a national championship in 1983 with a thrilling 31-30 upset win over Nebraska in an Orange Bowl. That game is widely regarded as one of the greatest games in college football history.
He promptly left Miami in the afterglow of his national championship to become the head coach of the Orlando franchise in the short-lived United States Football League, but the franchise folded before playing a game.
Schnellenberger then undertook probably the biggest challenge of his career, returning to the city in which he grew up to re-build the University of Louisville program, which had hit rock bottom. In the 1990 season, just his sixth with the Cardinals, U of L won the Fiesta Bowl in a 34-7 blowout over heavily favored Alabama.
Schnellenberger’s presence at both Miami and Louisville continue to be felt to this day thanks to the groundwork he laid. In 1995, Schnellenberger coached Oklahoma, one of college football’s all time great programs, but which had fallen into mediocrity. In his only season there, the Sooners went 5-5-1. Though that is considered the only negative spot in Schnellenberger’s glorious coaching career, Oklahoma fared worse in each of the next three seasons.
In 1999, Schnellenberger returned to coaching, building a program from scratch at Florida Atlantic University. The Owls began play in 2001 and their rise to success was quick. They became the first team to make the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs in their third season; reaching the national semifinals in 2003. The next season, FAU joined NCAA Division I-A and in 2007 won the Sun Belt championship and the New Orleans Bowl. In 2008 the Owls won the Motor City Bowl beating Central Mich. 24-21 to win back-to-back bowl games.
He has coached more than 70 players who went on to play in the NFL, including Jim Kelly, Vinny Testaverde, David Akers, Jerome Brown, Sam Madison, Michael Irvin, Ted Washington and Bruce Armstrong.
Schnellenberger now serves as an “Ambassador At Large” for Florida Atlantic University. He is married to the former Beverlee Donnelly, who was a cheerleader for the Toronto Argonauts when he played for that team. The couple has three sons and three grandchildren.
Tickets for the meal and Schnellenberger’s presentation are $50 per person. Admission to the keynote address only is available for $25.
To purchase a ticket contact the Concord University athletic department at 304-384-5347.
Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679 extension 6086 if special assistance is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.
Coach Howard Schnellenberger