Friday, January 4, 2008
Happy Birthday Don Shula
Happy 78th birthday to former Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula. Shula retired as the Dolphins head coach after the 1995 season with more career victories (347) than any other coach in NFL history. He earned the respect of nearly everyone connected with professional football.
After an NFL playing career that was built more on dedication and hard work than athletic ability, Shula became a very young head coach in 1963 with the Baltimore Colts. From 1963-69, he compiled a 73-26-4 record and guided the Colts to Super Bowl III. However, the Colts suffered a devasting to loss to the New York Jets at the Orange Bowl. When the Dolphins offered him its head coaching job in 1970, he took it.
Shula immediately amplified his standing in the coaching community. In 1972, he coached the Dolphins to the only perfect season (17-0) in NFL history, including a victory in Super Bowl VII. He won Super Bowl VIII too. Before he retired, Shula took six teams to the Super Bowl.
Throughout his career, Shula adapted to his personnel. With Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick and Mercury Morris in the early 1970s, the Dolphins won mainly with a powerful rushing attack. With Dan Marino in the 1980s and 1990s, the Dolphins opened up the passing game.
"The secret of success is getting inside different personalities and getting the most out of them." Shula said.