Shula, Don (1930—)

views updated

Shula, Don (1930—)

Don Shula is the winningest coach in National Football League (NFL) history. Born on January 4, 1930, in Grand River, Ohio, Shula started his professional football career as a defensive back with the Cleveland Browns in 1951. He also played for the Baltimore Colts from 1953 to 1956 and the Washington Redskins in 1957. Shula is best known for his thirty-three seasons as a head coach, eight with the Baltimore Colts (1960-1969) and twenty-five with the Miami Dolphins (1970-1995). His teams compiled a record of 347-173-6, and reached the playoffs 20 times. Shula took the Colts to the Super Bowl in 1969, and the Dolphins in 1972, 1973, 1974, 1983, and 1985. He is also the only coach in NFL history to record an undefeated season, capped when his 1972-73 Dolphins beat the Washington Redskins 14-7 in Super Bowl VII. After several disappointing seasons, Shula stepped down as head coach of the Miami Dolphins on January 5, 1996. He was elected in his first year of eligibility to the National Football League Hall of Fame.

—Daniel Bernardi

Further Reading:

Brown, Jody. Don Shula: Countdown to Supremacy. New York, Leisure Press, 1983.

Shula, Don, with Ken Blanchard. Everyone's a Coach: You Can Inspire Anyone to Be a Winner. New York, Harper Business, 1995.

Stein, R. Conrad. Don Shula: Football's Winningest Coach. Chicago, Children's Press, 1994.