Florida Atlantic University’s Head Football Coach Howard Schnellenberger has announced that he will retire after the 2011 football season. At the conclusion of the season, he will focus his limitless energy full-time on continuing to generate support for the new FAU stadium, as well as for Athletics and the University as a whole.

“After looking at the situation, Beverlee and I are delighted that the University has welcomed our decision to leave the coaching ranks following the 2011 season,” said Schnellenberger. “We will continue our relationship with the University in the most pronounced way. I feel this will be the most seamless and best way to formulate a transition from coaching to an ambassador for the University.”

Schnellenberger, the only head coach in the FAU football program’s existence, welcomed the idea of bringing football to FAU in 1998 and has been the driving force behind the Owls. Since 2001, the Owls have had eight All-Americans, three National Player of the Week honorees, two bowl victories, two bowl MVPs, one defensive MVP, one Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, one preseason Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year and one Sun Belt Conference title. An average of 18.7 football players have earned a 3.0+ each semester, and more than 20 players have signed professional contracts, while two were drafted by the NFL.

“Let me make it quite clear that this does not detract from our avowed goal of providing the best football team this season, one that will challenge for the Sun Belt championship followed by the appropriate bowl appearance,” said Schnellenberger.

Schnellenberger’s career has been highly chronicled throughout the years, from winning the first National Championship as coach at the University of Miami in 1983 to ushering the University of Louisville from near obscurity to a top-20 national ranking. The legendary program-builder has been at the helm for six bowl games and has walked away with a perfect 6-0 bowl game record, the most bowl victories for a coach with a perfect record.

Schnellenberger is also among the top-10 active coaches in total victories with 157, and one of 10 active coaches who have captured a national title. Schnellenberger has one national title as a head coach and three national titles while an assistant at the University of Alabama under Head Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Schnellenberger also was the offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins and was a part of the staff that earned a perfect 17-0 season, the only team in the NFL’s history to finish the season undefeated and move on to win a Super Bowl championship.

”We are all going to miss Coach Schnellenberger’s leadership and vision for FAU football. He has been the architect and builder of the program and has also grown it to great heights,” said Craig Angelos, FAU’s Athletic Director. “Coach has accomplished many ‘firsts’ that have created a solid foundation that will always be cherished and remembered for generations to come. Schnellenberger has done so many great things for the football team, athletics and the University. We all owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his 13 years of service. Looking ahead, we are all excited that he will continue his work at the University to continue to raise funds and support for the new on-campus stadium and other university projects.”

Schnellenberger concluded his career at both Miami and Louisville prior to an on-campus stadium being completed. At FAU, however, the Owls will take to the field on Saturday, October 15 to play Western Kentucky University in the 30,000-seat on-campus stadium that Schnellenberger inspired.

“Coach Howard Schnellenberger’s legacy as FAU’s first football coach will remain with this university forever,” said FAU President Mary Jane Saunders. “His vision, remarkable fortitude, unwavering leadership and dedication to the sport of football have been the strength behind the development of the team and the remarkable football stadium that will carry his legacy. We are forever grateful for his founding leadership of our football program, and I personally look forward to working with Coach in his new capacity as our first Ambassador for Development and Athletics.”

“FAU’s Board of Trustees will always be thankful to Coach Schnellenberger for what he has done for this university,” said Anthony Barbar, Vice Chair of FAU’s Board of Trustees. “Schnellenberger put FAU’s name on the national map in the area of Athletics, and has created a foundation that FAU will continue to build upon in the years to come.”

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