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HS 280 – Passing the Torch: Building Winning Football Programs…with a Dose of Swagger Along the Way with 3-time College Championship Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger

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Howard Schnellenberger learned his football tactics as a player for “Bear” Bryant and Blanton Collier at the University of Kentucky. He served as an assistant to Bryant at Alabama, moved on to pro ball as an assistant to George Allen (Rams) and Don Shula (Dolphins). He was head coach of the Baltimore Colts from 1973-74. He and his wife Beverlee have three sons: Stephen, Stuart and Tim. Stuart was a tight end/center on his father’s 1983 national championship team. Grandchildren are Teather Ann, Joey and Marcus.

Howard Schnellenberger has been part of four collegiate national championships. His 1983 Miami Hurricanes won that school’s first title, defeating Nebraska in the 50th Anniversary Orange Bowl. He was offensive coordinator for Paul “Bear” Bryant at Alabama, when the Crimson tide won championships in 1961, 1964 and 1965. He is one of only 10 active collegiate head coaches who have won a national title.

In addition, Schnellenberger has also been part of seven NFL playoff teams and was part of two Super Bowl championship staffs. He helped the 1972 Miami Dolphins to the NFL’s only undefeated (17-0) season. Schnellenberger has recruited and/or coached several current and former pros such as quarterbacks Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar, Vinny Testaverde, Browning Nagle, and Jeff Brohm, and stars such as Michael Irvin, Brian and Bennie Blades, offensive tackles Bruce Armstrong and Jerry Crafts; fullback Carwell Gardner; wide receiver Earnest Givins; defensive end Joe Johnson, a first-round draft pick for the New Orleans Saints; defensive tackle Ted Washington; cornerback Ray Buchanan; defensive tackle Mike Flores. Schnellenberger’s former offensive coordinator, Gary Stevens, and defensive coordinator, Tom Olivadotti, had similar roles in the NFL. Three of his former assistants were on the staff of the Dallas Cowboys during their rise to consecutive Super Bowl titles.

He’s also the author of the book Passing the Torch: Building Winning Football Programs…with a Dose of Swagger Along the Way.

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Key Takeaways:

[2:00] The football education Coach received and how it impacted him in his career

[5:30] How Coach took his football program to the Cuban community in Miami

[10:50] Creating the “State of Miami”

[14:44] The difference between coaching college and pro players

[17:55] What swagger is…and what swagger IS NOT

Websites Mentioned:


Episode: 280

Guest: Coach Howard Schnellenberger

iTunes: Stream Episode