Former Louisville football coach Howard Schnellenberger dies at 87

Schnellenberger, a Flaget high school alumni, coached at UofL from 1985-1994.

MIAMI — Former college football coach Howard Schnellenberger has died. Schnellenberger revived football at the University of Miami and Louisville and started the program at Florida Atlantic during a coaching career that spanned half a century. 

Schnellenberger had a career record below .500, but when it came to building, he was a winner. His legacy includes on-campus stadiums at Louisville and Florida Atlantic. 

He led the Miami Hurricanes to the first of their five national championships in 1983, and coached Louisville to a Fiesta Bowl win over Alabama to cap the 1990 season. 

Schnellenberger is a native of Saint Meinrad, Indiana and later graduated from Flaget High School in Louisville. 

He would go on to star at the University of Kentucky as an All-American Tight End.

Before ending up with the Cardinals in the mid-1980’s, Schnellenberger served as offensive coordinator for Bear Bryant at Alabama and was on the coaching staff for the last team in the NFL with a perfect season, the 1972 Miami Dolphins. 

“Coach Schnellenberger fostered hope and success in our football program,” UofL Vice President and Director of Athletics Vince Tyra said in a statement. “His legacy lives on as we continue chasing the “variable of time” per his memorable quote. Our best to Beverlee and their extended family.”

Schnellenberger arrived in Louisville in 1985 and rebuilt a program that was potentially being scraped. Although his record overall at the school was sub. 500, Coach Schnellenberger’s best season is remember in 1991 when he led the Cards to a Fiesta Bowl win against Alabama to cap off a 10-1-1 season. 

“Howard always allowed me to be a part of his football life,” his wife, Beverlee said. “Watching him on the sidelines was an opportunity that gave us a special closeness – win or lose – that not many wives get. Even though he never smiled, he was always smiling in his heart. We loved all the moves and challenges. I will miss his warm heart, his warm hands and soft kisses. Howard always treated me special, like a queen, and was truly a husband that every Canadian girl dreams of. You will always be my love, now and forever. I’m proud to be your wife. You were a great leader of men and the leader of our lives.”

Schnellenberger died March 27 in Boca Raton, Florida.

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