Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger announced Thursday afternoon he is retiring after this season.
CBSSports.com first reported Schnellenberger's decision to retire.
"After looking at the situation, Beverlee and I are delighted that the University has welcomed our decision to leave the coaching ranks following the 2011 season," Schnellenberger said. "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."
The 77-year-old Schnellenberger began the FAU program in 2001. He is 57-63 with the Owls. He also has had head coaching jobs at Oklahoma (1995), Louisville (1985-94) and Miami (1979-83). He won the 1983 national championship with the Hurricanes. He has a 157-140-3 record in 26 seasons as a college head coach.
The Owls open this season with five consecutive road games against Florida, Michigan State, Auburn, Louisiana-Lafayette and North Texas before playing their home opener against Western Kentucky on Oct. 15.
Against WKU, FAU will debut its new 30,000-seat, $70 million football stadium, a project that Schnellenberger was instrumental in helping fundraise."Three university presidents were involved in this, but one coach," FAU president Mary Jane Saunders said last week. "And it's coach Schnellenberger that made this happen. The vision that this university that he came to after an incredibly illustrious career. We're grateful to have him. He's done a fabulous job with all the guys and I'm just so pleased I could share this day with you."
In 2007, Schnellenberger was named the Sun Belt’s Coach of the Year, the first time in his career he ever received a league coach of the year award. He guided the Owls to consecutive bowl games in 2007 and 2008.
Schnellenberger, who also was a head coach with the Baltimore Colts in 1973 and 1974, has been involved with college football for nearly 60 years. He played at Kentucky for Bear Bryant. His first coaching job was in 1959 as an assistant at Kentucky. He also was an assistant at Alabama and then the NFL's Los Angeles Rams and Miami Dolphins, including the Dolphins' perfect season in 1972.
After his two-year stint as the Colts head coach, he returned to the Dolphins in 1975 before taking over as the Hurricanes in 1979.At Miami, Schnellenberger went 41-16. He won the national title in his final season with a 31-30 victory against Nebraska when NU coach Tom Osborne opted to go for the winning two-point conversion. Schnellenberger left Miami for the USFL, but he never coached a game in that league and returned to the college ranks at Louisville, where he spent 10 seasons.
He was at Oklahoma for only one season, then began building FAU's program as the Owls moved from Division I-AA to FBS status as Sun Belt members.