Don Shula, winningest NFL coach who led Dolphins to perfect season, dead at 90

Don Shula, winningest NFL coach who led Dolphins to good season, lifeless at 90 | Soccer Information

Don Shula, a masterly coach with a sq. jaw who gained extra Nationwide Soccer League video games than anybody else and guided the Miami Dolphins to 2 Tremendous Bowl titles and the one good season in league historical past, died on Monday at 90.

Shula, whose NFL teaching prowess with the Dolphins and the Baltimore Colts from 1963 to 1995 made him one of the vital well-known sports activities figures in America, died peacefully at his house, the Dolphins mentioned in an announcement.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell mentioned Shula will probably be remembered as one of many best coaches and contributors within the historical past of American soccer.

“He was a exceptional trainer and mentor who for many years impressed excellence and exemplified integrity,” mentioned Goodell. “His iconic legacy will endure by his household and proceed to encourage generations to come back.”

The 1972 Miami Dolphins crew that Shula guided stands as the one crew in NFL historical past to publish an ideal report – 17-0 – as they marched to a Tremendous Bowl victory over the Washington Redskins. The subsequent season, Shula led them to a second straight victory within the Tremendous Bowl, America`s greatest sporting occasion.

His teaching report in 33 NFL seasons, together with common season and playoff video games, was 347 wins, 173 losses and 6 ties. No coach gained extra NFL video games. Just one different coach, Chicago Bears stalwart George Halas, exceeded 300 wins, with 324. Shula took six groups to the Tremendous Bowl, profitable twice.

“I wish to depend my blessings. I`ve been capable of do one thing for a lifetime that I’ve loved doing,” Shula, with sun shades, combed-back white hair and his trademark jutting jaw, mentioned in 1997 as he was enshrined within the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame in Canton, Ohio. “I`ve had good well being and I`ve met a number of nice individuals alongside the best way.”

In 2013, he wore the cream-colored jacket given to members of the Corridor of Fame to the White Home when President Barack Obama invited Shula and the remainder of the 1972 Dolphins for a particular tribute. Obama lauded Shula, who at age 83 sat in a motorized scooter, as a legendary coach.

Shula was such an everlasting determine in skilled soccer that one in all his former gamers, fearsome defensive lineman Bubba Smith, as soon as joked: “If a nuclear bomb dropped, the one issues I`m sure would survive are AstroTurf and Don Shula.”

Fellow Corridor of Fame coach John Madden in 1997 advised the Miami Herald: “No person else has accomplished it in so some ways, in so many various eras, with so many various sorts of gamers.”

Donald Francis Shula was born on Jan. 4, 1930, in Grand River, Ohio, the son of Hungarian dad and mom. He performed school soccer at John Carroll College in Ohio earlier than spending seven seasons as a defensive again with the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts and Washington Redskins of the NFL. He retired after the 1957 season earlier than working as a university soccer assistant coach on the College of Virginia.

He got here again to the NFL in 1960 when the Detroit Lions made him their defensive coordinator. In 1963, the Baltimore Colts employed Shula as head coach. At age 33, Shula was the youngest head coach ever within the NFL on the time.

A PUNCH IN THE MOUTH`

Shula as soon as referred to as his teaching type “as refined as a punch within the mouth,” and his gamers knew he was firmly in cost. However he additionally knew human psychology sufficient to know that completely different gamers wanted to be motivated based on their very own particular person personalities – with a tongue-lashing for some, a peaceful rationalization for some and humor for others.

Shula did expertise some noteworthy failures. On Jan. 12, 1969, his Colts had been closely favored to beat the New York Jets in Tremendous Bowl III in Miami. However Joe Namath, the brash Jets quarterback, assured his crew would win.

On the time, the Tremendous Bowl pitted the champion of the venerable NFL in opposition to the champion of the upstart American Soccer League. The 2 leagues had already revealed plans to merge (they did so in 1970) however NFL groups had thrashed the AFL`s champions within the first two Tremendous Bowls.

In one of many greatest upsets within the annals of American sports activities, the underdog Jets shocked Shula`s Colts, 16-7. Shula coached the Colts another season earlier than going to the Dolphins, a former AFL crew struggling to make it within the merged league.

He coached the Dolphins from 1970 till 1995, taking them to the Tremendous Bowl 5 occasions. The primary time they reached the Tremendous Bowl – following the 1971 season – they had been flattened by unflappable coach Tom Landry`s Dallas Cowboys, 24-3.

The 1972 Dolphins had been a crew on a mission. Shula guided them to victories in all 14 common season video games and their first two playoff video games to earn a spot in Tremendous Bowl VII.

The crew was led by quarterback Bob Griese, again from a damaged leg, with further offensive firepower from working backs Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris and large receiver Paul Warfield. Miami`s sturdy “No-Title Protection” featured the likes of linebacker Nick Buoniconti and security Jake Scott.

Miami beat Washington, 14-7, within the Tremendous Bowl on Jan. 15, 1973, in Los Angeles to complete the season 17-0. Shula`s gamers carried him off the sphere on their shoulders as he punched his proper fist skyward in triumph.

He led the Dolphins to a 3rd consecutive Tremendous Bowl berth the following season – and a second straight victory – as they walloped quarterback Fran Tarkenton`s Minnesota Vikings, 24-7.

Shula by no means once more gained a Tremendous Bowl. He took the Dolphins to the title sport after the 1982 season, shedding to the Redskins, and after the 1984 season, falling to the San Francisco 49ers.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Shula coached quarterback Dan Marino, one of the vital prolific passers in NFL historical past, however the two had been unable to win a Tremendous Bowl collectively. Shula mentioned his greatest profession remorse was failing to win one other Tremendous Bowl.

“Coach Shula – you’ll actually be missed! You embody the definition of `greatness.` You introduced that profitable perspective with you day-after-day and made everybody round you higher,” Marino wrote on Twitter.

“Thanks for at all times believing in me. You made me a greater participant and particular person. My ideas & prayers are with your entire Shula household. Love you Coach!”

Shula was married twice and had 5 kids.

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