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Howard Schnellenberger, Miami architect, to leave coaching after 52 years

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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Howard Schnellenberger said earlier this summer that the moment he knew it was time for him to step away from the game, he'd let everyone know.

On Thursday, Schnellenberger, 77, plans to announce during a press conference that he is retiring from college football coaching.

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The move is not unexpected. Schnellenberger came to Florida Atlantic in 1998 as the director of football operations and got the program off the ground by 2001. From the beginning, Schnellenberger's goal was to build a stadium for FAU and put it on par with other programs in the state.

The new stadium opens this fall.

Schnellenberger had pushed for on-campus stadiums at his various stops in Miami and Louisville. The Cardinals finally did build an on-campus stadium in 1998 — four years after Schnellenberger had left — and dubbed the facility the Howard L. Schnellenberger Football Complex.

Schnellenberger is a legend in south Florida. He won two Super Bowl titles as an assistant with the NFL's Miami Dolphins and laid the foundation for the Miami Hurricane dynasty that would dominate college football for a decade after his departure, beginning with the 'Canes' first national championship in 1983. He also had a successful stint as Louisville's head coach in the early nineties before taking over for a single season at Oklahoma in 1995.

When he got a chance to start up the Florida Atlantic program, the remaining item on his bucket list was to see a on-campus stadium erected and coach his team in it.

That dream will come true on Oct. 15.

Schnellenberger, who will best be known for his colorful comments and pipe smoking, is in the final year of his contract with FAU and has long said there would be no contract talk until the end of the season.

Schnelleberger is 157-140-3 as a collegiate head coach.

Now Florida Atlantic must start the search for the second coach in school history. According to's Tom Dienhart, some names to watch include, Mike Leach, Randy Shannon, Butch Davis and Purdue offensive coordinator Gary Nord.

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Graham Watson is on Twitter: Follow her @Yahoo_Graham. Catch up with Dr. Saturday on Facebook for all your college football needs

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