Don Shula, the NFL’s winningest coach who led the Miami Dolphins to the league’s solely undefeated season, died on Monday. He was 90.
The Dolphins issued an announcement saying that Shula died “peacefully at his residence.”
“Don Shula was the patriarch of the Miami Dolphins for 50 years,” the assertion stated. “He introduced the profitable edge to our franchise and put the Dolphins and town of Miami within the nationwide sports activities scene. Our deepest ideas and prayers exit to Mary Anne alongside together with his kids Dave, Donna, Sharon, Anne and Mike.”
Shula received an NFL-record 347 video games, together with playoff video games. He coached the Miami Dolphins to the league’s solely undefeated season (17-0) in 1972, culminating in a 14-7 victory over the Washington Redskins in Tremendous Bowl VII.
The Miami Dolphins repeated as champions the subsequent season, beating the Minnesota Vikings 24-7 in Tremendous Bowl VIII, the third straight title sport Miami had performed in; the Dolphins misplaced 24-Three to the Dallas Cowboys in Tremendous Bowl VI.
In all, Shula guided the Miami Dolphins to 5 Tremendous Bowls, together with losses to the Redskins (27-17 in Tremendous Bowl XVII) and San Francisco 49ers (38-16 in Tremendous Bowl XIX).
“Right now is a tragic day,” Miami Dolphins president Tom Garfinkel stated in an announcement. “Coach Shula was the uncommon man who exemplified true greatness in each side of his life. He can be so missed by so many however his legacy of character and excellence will endure. All my greatest to Mary Anne and the Shula household.”
Earlier than coming to Miami, Shula coached the Baltimore Colts, who made him the then-youngest NFL coach after they employed him at age 33 in 1963. He led the Colts to Tremendous Bowl III, the primary title sport to formally have “Tremendous Bowl” in its title. Baltimore misplaced 16-7 to quarterback Joe Namath and the New York Jets, who grew to become the primary AFL staff to win a Tremendous Bowl.
By the point he resigned as Dolphins coach after the 1995 season, Shula had been an NFL head coach for 33 seasons, 26 with Miami. Solely two of his Dolphins groups completed under .500 throughout these 26 seasons. He completed with an general teaching document of 347-173-6 (73-26-Four with Baltimore).
Shula additionally coached three Corridor of Fame quarterbacks: Johnny Unitas, Bob Griese and Dan Marino. Throughout his 26 seasons in Miami, he grew to become an establishment, and his title adorns an expressway, an athletic membership and a steakhouse chain.
“There was no higher man or coach within the historical past of the occupation than coach Don Shula,” Miami Heat president Pat Riley stated in an announcement. “He was robust, brave and an genuine chief with nice integrity in his pursuit of perfection, which he achieved!”
Shula was inducted into the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame in 1997. He, George Halas and Invoice Belichick are the one coaches in NFL historical past to win greater than 300 video games.
“Don Shula is likely one of the all-time nice teaching figures and the usual for consistency and management within the NFL,” Belichick stated in an announcement. “I used to be lucky to develop up in Maryland as a fan of the Baltimore Colts who, below Coach Shula, have been one of many excellent groups of that period. My first connection to Coach Shula was by my father, whose friendship with Coach Shula went again to their days in northeast Ohio. I prolong my deepest condolences to the Shula household and the Miami Dolphins group.”
Shula additionally performed seven seasons as a defensive again within the NFL after being drafted by the Cleveland Browns within the ninth spherical (110th general) of the 1951 draft out of John Carroll College in Cleveland. He had 21 profession interceptions in seven NFL seasons for Cleveland (1951-52), Baltimore (1953-56) and Washington (1957).
“Don Shula will at all times be remembered as one of many best coaches and contributors within the historical past of our sport. He made an awfully constructive impression on so many lives,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated in an announcement. “The winningest coach in NFL historical past and the one one to steer a staff to an ideal season, Coach Shula lived an unparalleled soccer life. As a participant, Corridor of Fame coach, and longtime member and co-chair of the NFL Competitors Committee, he was a exceptional instructor and mentor who for many years impressed excellence and exemplified integrity.”
Each of Shula’s sons adopted him into the NFL teaching ranks. Mike Shula is the quarterbacks coach for the Denver Broncos. David Shula was the Cincinnati Bengals’ head coach from 1992 to 1996; he additionally performed one season with Baltimore (1981).
Shula’s lively retirement included loads of journey and social occasions.
In January 2010, the Dolphins threw him an 80th birthday celebration at their stadium, and friends included Goodell, former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham and former NFL coaches Marty Schottenheimer and Dan Reeves.
Corridor of Fame fullback Larry Csonka was among the many 1972 Dolphins who threw a shock get together for Shula in December to have a good time his 90th birthday.
“It was the primary time in the complete time I’ve identified him the place he was genuinely stunned,” Csonka stated. “I believe he was very blissful.”
Shula at all times loved speaking concerning the 17-Zero staff, and he and his 1972 gamers drew criticism for the way in which they savored their distinctive standing every season.
“Individuals suppose we’re a bunch of offended outdated guys who cannot anticipate that final undefeated staff to get beat,” Shula stated in 2010. “We’re very happy with our document, and if any person breaks it, I will name that coach and congratulate them. Till they do, it is our document, and we’re happy with it.”
As for regrets, Shula put not profitable a Tremendous Bowl with Marino on the high of the listing. They have been collectively for 13 years, and Marino grew to become probably the most prolific passer in NFL historical past, however he performed on just one AFC championship staff — in 1984, his second season.
Shula was born Jan. 4, 1930, and raised in Painesville, Ohio. He performed working again in faculty and cornerback for seven seasons within the execs. He entered teaching as an assistant at Virginia in 1958.
Earlier than his 1970s triumphs with Miami, Shula had a repute as a coach who thrived in the course of the common season however could not win the large sport.
In Shula’s first season as head coach in Baltimore, the Colts completed 12-2 following his 1963 rent and have been extensively seen because the league’s dominant staff.
However they misplaced 27-Zero to Cleveland within the title sport, and for the subsequent few years, the Colts continued to come back up brief.
The humiliation was best within the Tremendous Bowl to finish the 1968 season. The Colts steamrollered by the NFL, ending 13-1 and outscoring opponents by a virtually 3-1 margin. After crushing the Browns 34-Zero within the title sport, the Colts have been overwhelming favorites to defeat the Jets of the upstart AFL, which had misplaced the primary two Tremendous Bowls.
However the Colts blew quite a few scoring alternatives and allowed the Jets’ Namath to regulate the sport.
The end result remains to be regarded by many as the largest upset in professional soccer historical past, and it contributed to Shula’s departure after the 1969 season. In 1970, after the NFL-AFL merger, Shula joined the Miami Dolphins , a fourth-year AFL enlargement staff that had gone 3-10-1 the earlier yr.
Miami improved to 10-Four in his first season and made the playoffs for the primary time, and the 1971 Miami Dolphins reached the Tremendous Bowl earlier than shedding to Dallas. The next season, when Miami took a 16-Zero document into the Tremendous Bowl towards Washington, Shula thought of his legacy on the road.
“If we had received 16 video games in a row and misplaced the Tremendous Bowl, it could have been a catastrophe, particularly for me,” he stated in a 2007 interview of beating the Redskins. “That will have been my third Tremendous Bowl loss. I used to be 0-2 in Tremendous Bowls, and folks at all times appeared to convey that up: ‘You may‘t win the large one.'”
After Shula retired, he traveled extensively together with his spouse, Mary Anne. He additionally would wrestle together with his grandchildren, lose to his spouse at gin, learn John Grisham novels and go to sleep watching late-night TV.
He supported many charities. The Don Shula Basis, shaped primarily to help breast most cancers analysis, was established as a tribute to his late spouse, Dorothy. They have been married for 32 years and raised 5 kids earlier than she died in 1991. Shula married Mary Anne Stephens throughout a bye week in 1993.
Shula spent greater than 20 years on the highly effective NFL Competitors Committee, which evaluates enjoying guidelines in addition to rules designed to enhance security.
“If I am remembered for something, I hope it is for enjoying throughout the guidelines,” Shula as soon as stated. “I additionally hope it will likely be stated that my groups confirmed class and dignity in victory or defeat.”
Shula is survived by his second spouse, two sons and three daughters.