- MAXWELL HISTORY
- JOIN THE CLUB
- FAN SHOP
- CONTACT US
Former Miami Dolphins Coach
On November 14, 1993, Don Shula was carried off the Veterans Stadium field by his Miami Dolphin players after a 19-14 win over the Eagles. That victory was No. 325 in Shula's career and made him the winningest coach in NFL history, surpassing the legendary George Halas.
"Don is like the Lou Gehrig of the NFL," said Ted Marchibroda, another veteran of NFL coaching. "But I don't think there will ever be a Cal Ripken to break his record."
Shula was a head coach for 33 seasons, starting with the Baltimore Colts in 1963, then guiding the Dolphins from 1970 until his retirement in 1995. He took his teams to the post-season 20 times in his brilliant career and he coached in six Super Bowls. His 1972 Dolphins are the only team in NFL history to complete a perfect season, winning all 17 games, including a 14-7 decision over Washington in Super Bowl VII.
For his long and distinguished career, Shula was chosen to receive the Maxwell Football Club's 12th annual Reds Bagnell Award for contributions to the game of football. The award is presented to someone who has helped promote the integrity of the game and it would be hard to find anyone who fits that description better than Shula.
"Styles changed over the years, situations changed and players changed, that's the nature of the game," said Marty Schottenheimer, who will return to coaching this season in Washington. "What never changed was Don's ability to win, no matter what the circumstances might be."
Shula was only 33 when he was hired as coach of the Colts. He led Baltimore to seven consecutive winning seasons and sent the Colts twice to the NFL title game under his direction.
When he went to Miami in 1970, the Dolphins were coming off a three-win season. In his very first season, playing with five rookie starters on defense, Shula led the Dolphins to a 10-4 record and a playoff berth. The following year, he had Miami in the Super Bowl for the first time, although the Dolphins lost that game to Dallas.
In 1972, the Dolphins made history with their 17-0 season, which they compiled despite losing quarterback Bob Griese with a broken ankle. Veteran Earl Morrall took over and kept the unbeaten streak going until Griese finally returned in the playoffs.
The following year, the Dolphins repeated as NFL champions, defeating Minnesota 24-7 in Super Bowl VIII. That victory gave Miami a two-year record of 32-2, regular and post-season.
Shula, who played seven seasons in the NFL as a defensive back with Cleveland, Baltimore and Washington, proved he could coach successfully in any era, maximizing his available talent. His Super Bowl teams of the 1970s were built around the power running of Larry Csonka, while in the 1980s, he returned to the title game with the league's most prolific passing attack, featuring quarterback Dan Marino.
In 1997, the coach who once described himself as "subtle as a punch in the mouth" was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He finished his career with 347 victories and a .665 winning percentage.
Asked to define coaching, Shula once said: "The important thing isn't what (the coach) knows. The important thing is what the coach can impart to the people he's responsible for. If we win on Sunday, it means the information got through. That's what coaching is, the ability to transmit information."