The speculation over the past few months and the reports from earlier today regarding Howard Schnellenberger have, unfortunately, come to fruition.
In a scheduled press conference Thursday afternoon, the Florida Atlantic University head coach announced that he will be retiring from coaching at the end of the 2011 season. The 77-year-old Schnellenberger has been a head coach for 29 of the past 32 seasons — Miami of Florida (1979-83); Louisville (1985-94); Oklahoma (1995); and FAU (1998-present, although the program did not play its first game until the 2001 season).
“After looking at the situation, [his wife] Beverlee and I are delighted that the University has welcomed our decision to leave the coaching ranks following the 2011 season,” said Schnellenberger. “We will continue our relationship with the University in the most pronounced way. I feel this will be the most seamless and best way to formulate a transition from coaching to an ambassador for the University. …
“Let me make it quite clear that this does not detract from our avowed goal to providing the best football team this season, one that will challenge for the Sun Belt championship followed by the appropriate bowl appearance.”
Schnellenberger will officially become the school’s first “Ambassador for Development and Athletics”, and will remain involved in aspects of the university both inside and outside of athletics.
“We are all going to miss Coach Schnellenberger’s leadership and vision for FAU football. He has been the architect and builder of the program and has also grown it to great heights,” said Craig Angelos, FAU’s athletic director. “Coach has accomplished many `firsts’ that have created a solid foundation that will always be cherished and remembered for generations to come. Schnellenberger has done so many great things for the football team, athletics and the University. We all owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his 13 years of service. Looking ahead, we are all excited that he will continue his work at the University to continue to raise funds and support for the new on-campus stadium and other university projects.”
Schnellenberger will carry a career mark of 157-140-3 into the final season of his career. Included in that total is the 1983 national title he won with the Hurricanes.
With the Owls, Schnellenberger boasts a 57-63 overall record, including a 22-13 Sun Belt Conference record.