Field at FAU Stadium to honor Howard Schnellenberger

Dr. Saturday
Field at FAU Stadium to honor Howard Schnellenberger
Field at FAU Stadium to honor Howard Schnellenberger

The name of the man who led the Florida Atlantic football program from the start will now grace the field at FAU Stadium.

The university announced Wednesday that the field at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla., will be named Howard Schnellenberger Field. Schnellenberger coached the Owls during their first 11 seasons, leading the program from the Division I-AA (FCS) level into the Division I-A (FBS) Sun Belt Conference in 2005.

Upon retiring in 2011, Schnellenberger registered a 158-151-3 record as FAU’s head coach. The decision to name the field after him was approved by FAU’s Board of Trustees Wednesday morning.

“I am humbled beyond belief that the University would bestow this great honor on the Schnellenberger family, and me personally,” said Schnellenberger. “This is probably the highlight of my coaching career. Thanks to the FAU Board of Trustees, the University, the fans, the players and the coaches that were an integral part of this.”

The school said in a release that Schnellenberger will be honored before the Owls’ home opener against Tulsa on September 13 – the start of the fourth season in FAU Stadium.

“Coach Schnellenberger is a legend – a true visionary who always will be synonymous with FAU football,” said FAU President John Kelly. “The University, the community, and fans of college football everywhere look to Coach as the consummate leader, and are thankful for all he has done for the sport. I know FAU will always remember this as we cheer our team on the beautiful field that will forever bear his name.”

After being hired as FAU’s director of football operations in 1998, Schnellenberger built the FAU program from scratch and the school played its first football season in 2001. Ultimately, Schnellenberger led the Owls to two bowl victories in 2007 and 2008 and won the 2007 Sun Belt Conference championship.

The 2007 New Orleans Bowl victory over Memphis was “the quickest a program had advanced to a bowl game after moving to Division I-A,” according to FAU.

“We are thankful we have the opportunity to honor Coach Schnellenberger with the naming of our football field,” said Pat Chun, FAU’s vice president and director of athletics. “As our first football coach, he forever changed Florida Atlantic University. To permanently honor Coach Schnellenberger will serve as a great reminder to all who enter our stadium of his vision, impact and legacy.”

Before his time at FAU, Schnellenberger had stints as an assistant at Kentucky, Alabama and in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Colts. He took over as head coach of the University of Miami in 1979 and led the program to the 1983 National Championship.

After leaving Miami, Schnellenberger coached at Louisville from 1985 to 1994 and also coached Oklahoma for one season in 1995.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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