Sunday, December 4, 2011

Loss Ends Schnellenberger Era

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH


The Howard Schnellenberger era is officially over, as the only coach in FAU Football History leaves the program with a 58-74 mark.

Schnellenberger's all-time record in 27 years of coaching college football is 158-151 with a National Championship for the Miami Hurricanes in 1983. He is 6-0 all-time in bowl games including a 2-0 mark with FAU.

The Owls can thank the UAB Blazers to avoid going winless this season as FAU pulled out a 38-35 win Saturday, November 26, thanks to Senior Running Back Alfred Morris' 198 yards and four touchdowns.

Morris became the first person in Schnellenberger's career to surpass 1,000 yards twice in his career. He finished with 1,186 yards in 2011 with a 72-yard effort against ULM. In 2009, he amassed 1,392.

The embarrassing defeat by UAB led to the firing a few days later of its' Head Coach Neil Callaway, who had a 3-9 season and was 21-51 in five years.

On Saturday, the 1-10 Owls were unable to build on their Thanksgiving Weekend momentum as they dropped a 26-0 decision to the University of Louisiana-Monroe (ULM) Warhawks.

ULM improved to 4-8, 3-5 while FAU dropped to 1-11 and 0-8 in the Sun Belt Conference.

FAU trailed 19-0 at half-time and Morris was held to 29 yards. ULM dominated the half by out gaining FAU in total yards 260-78. ULM added one more touchdown in the second half. For the contest, ULM outgained FAU 424-148 offensively.

Punter Mickey Groody had seven for 295 yards with a 42.1 average. Quarterback Graham Wilbert was limited to 79 yards passing.

When the game was over, FAU sent Schnellenberger out with a fireworks display. He also gave a game ending speech thanking everyone in the stadium for their support.

It took him longer to address the media because he spent extra time talking to his players. At the end of the press conference, the popular coach was busy signing media members press passes.

Schnellenberger said, “This is the first time I've turned a football team over in this type of situation. But I want the players to know that I value them being here. I didn't want these players to go out as losers. There are a lot of good football players on this team.”

But Schnellenberger was pleased that his retirement would turn out differently than legendary coaches like former Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden and Penn State's Joe Paterno by leaving on his own terms.

“I talked to Bowden about this and with the way coaches are getting disposed, and I didn't want to leave like that. I wanted this to be a seamless transition. I've never missed a day of work in 52 years of coaching and I'm glad that I can retire, relax, spend time with my wife Beverlee, children and grandchildren,” Schnellenberger added.

“I'll be moving out of my football office Sunday and into a new one in the administration building Monday helping out any way I can but won't be in the way of the new coach.”

My time with Coach Schnelleberger dates back to our days with the Miami Hurricanes in the early 1980's. It will be different without my friend in the future, but the UAB win meant so much that it would have been a major in justice for him to end his final season as the only winless team in NCAA Division I FBS.

Thankfully, it didn't happen and once again, and I'm pleased he left on his own terms.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can also be seen at www.scottsports33.com. 

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