Anthony Russo

Don Shula, a two time NFL championship coach passed away on may, 4. 2020. This highlights his achievements and successes during his legendary coaching career from being the winningest head coach in NFL history to being the only head coach to make it to the Super Bowl six times.

Don Shula May be Gone, but Never Forgotten

May 10, 2020

For a professional sports career, it takes a good work ethic, intelligence and the motivation to just make it in, but every so often, there will be an individual that exceeds expectations and ends up as one of the most prominent figures to ever enter the sport. And no, this is not a player but rather a coach by the name of Don Shula. On May 4, 2020, the sports world mourned for all time legendary head coach Don Shula who passed at the age 90. Although never long enough, passing at 90 did give him the time to build up his unforgettable legacy on the sports world.

Shula began his football career back in 1951 when he was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the ninth round, from there he would bounce around a couple of other franchises such as the Baltimore Colts and the Washington Redskins until he retired and decided to change paths into coaching in 1958 for the University of Virginia. From there, he was able to build such a great reputation that he was able to become the head coach of one of his former teams, the Baltimore Colts, in 1963.

Don Shula’s passing is definitely a tragic one. He impacted the sport of football in Miami forever by leading a mediocre franchise to great success and even the greatest single season in NFL history,” senior Chris Diaz said.

By that point, Shula was being recognized as a great coach as he led his Colts team to be division champions in 1964 and 1968 and made it all the way to the Super Bowl, but ultimately fell short there. By the end of his stint with the colts, he had accumulated a record of 71 wins and 23 losses, solidifying himself as a very successful coach, but little did everyone know, he was just getting started.

In 1970, Shula became the new head coach for the Miami Dolphins and instantly found success. In 1971, the Dolphins won the conference championship and found themselves in the super bowl, but could not go all the way. In the following season, Shula’s Miami Dolphins became the only franchise in National Football League history to go undefeated, a perfect 16-0 record, they were also able make it back to the Super Bowl and defeat the Dallas Cowboys in 1972 which capped off the best season in NFL history. As for Shula, he became the first NFL head coach to win 100 regular season games in 10 seasons (1963-1972). In 1973 the Dolphins mimicked their success and repeated as champions against the Washington Redskins.

Anthony Russo
A record of Don Shula’s coaching career, highlighting his incredible statistics and winning success that he found for the teams that he coached.

From there, Don Shula continued to lead the Dolphins to great seasons, but they were never able to repeat the success that they previously had. Shula had guided the Dolphins to the 1982 and 1984 Superbowls. Shula would continue his coaching career up until the 1995 NFL season where he announced his retirement. Shula finished with a total of 347 wins for his entire coaching career becoming the most “winningest” coach in the history of the NFL. He was later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997 to seal his legacy.

When you think of great head coaches in sports, you think of Belichick, Phil Jackson, Popovich and especially Don Shula. He reinvented the game with his style of offense which was never seen before he brought it into existence. The city of Miami really loves him and he will never be forgotten,” sophomore Justin Benitez said.

Although the loss of Don Shula is definitely a tragic one, as a person, he was able to put his passion out there into the sport he loved and found success. Shula was not only a football head coach, but an inspiration to millions for working hard and doing the unimaginable, breaking records left and right. Without Don Shula, the sports world would not be what it is today.

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Anthony Russo, CavsConnect Sports Editor

Anthony Russo is a junior at Coral Gables Senior High in the Academy of Finance. He is thrilled to be returning to CavsConnect for his second year. Anthony...

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