69 Facts About Don Shula


Donald Francis Shula was an American professional football player and coach who served as a head coach in the National Football League from 1963 to 1995.


Don Shula played seven seasons as a defensive back in the NFL.


The head coach of the Miami Dolphins for most of his career, Shula is the NFL's winningest head coach at 347 career victories and 328 regular season victories.


Don Shula held his first head coaching position with the Baltimore Colts, whom he led for seven seasons, and spent his next 26 seasons with Miami.


Don Shula had only two losing seasons during his 33 years as a head coach and led the Dolphins to two consecutive Super Bowl titles in Super Bowl VII and Super Bowl VIII.


Don Shula is widely considered to be one of the greatest head coaches of all time.


Don Shula was the first head coach to appear in six Super Bowls, five with the Dolphins and one with the Colts.

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Don Shula was the first head coach to bring two franchises to the Super Bowl and appear in three consecutive Super Bowls, which he accomplished with the Dolphins from 1971 to 1973.


Don Shula was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997.


Don Shula was born on January 4,1930, in Grand River, Ohio, a small town along the Lake Erie shore in the northeastern part of the state.


Don Shula played football in his neighborhood as a child, but his parents forbade it after he got a gash on his face when he was 11.


Don Shula attended elementary school at St Mary's, a private Catholic school in Painesville; his mother was a devout Catholic, and his father converted to that denomination when they married.


Don Shula later attended Harvey High School in Painesville and played on its football team starting in 1945.


Don Shula did not try out for the team because of his mother's prohibition and because he was recovering from a bout of pneumonia, but an assistant football coach noticed him in a gym class and convinced him to join.


Don Shula ran track at Harvey and was an 11-time letterman in his three years there.


Don Shula received a one-year scholarship at the private Jesuit school in University Heights, a suburb of Cleveland.


Don Shula ran for 175 yards and scored two touchdowns substituting for the injured starting halfback.


Don Shula graduated in 1951 as a sociology major with a minor in mathematics, and was offered a job teaching and coaching at Canton Lincoln High School in Canton, Ohio for $3,750 a year.


Don Shula was joined in the Browns' training camp by John Carroll teammate Carl Taseff, whom Cleveland coach Paul Brown selected in the 22nd round.


Don Shula signed a $5,000-a-year contract and played as a defensive back alongside Warren Lahr and Tommy James.


Don Shula played in all 12 of Cleveland's games in 1951, making his first appearance as a starter in October, and recorded four interceptions.


Don Shula signed a $6,500-a-year contract with Baltimore, which was preparing for its first season after relocating from Dallas, where the franchise had been called the Dallas Texans.


Don Shula got married in the summer before the season to Dorothy Bartish, who grew up near Painesville.


Collier had been an assistant to Paul Brown when Don Shula played in Cleveland.


Detroit's defense was near the top of the league in fewest points allowed when Don Shula coached there, including a second-place finish in 1962.

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Weeb Ewbank, under whom Don Shula had played in Cleveland and Baltimore, was fired as the Colts' head coach in 1963 following three disappointing seasons and disagreements over team strategy and organization with owner Carroll Rosenbloom.


Don Shula was only 33 years old, making him the youngest coach in league history at the time, but Rosenbloom was familiar with his personality and approach from his playing days in Baltimore.


Don Shula tried to ease Unitas back into the lineup, but the quarterback's injury flared up numerous times, culminating with a game against Cleveland in which he had just one completion and three interceptions.


The Dolphins had been one of the AFL's worst teams in the years leading up to Don Shula's hiring, which came as the AFL and NFL prepared to merge starting in the 1970 season.


The team's stars included several future Pro Football Hall of Fame members: quarterback Bob Griese, fullback Larry Csonka, guard Larry Little, center Jim Langer, linebacker Nick Buoniconti and wide receiver Paul Warfield, whom Don Shula acquired from the Browns in 1970 for a first-round draft pick.


Don Shula strung together the wins despite the loss of his quarterback, Griese, due to injury in the fifth game of the season.


Don Shula was replaced by 38-year-old Earl Morrall, who had been the backup to Unitas during Shula's years in Baltimore.


That season, Don Shula would be the first American professional football coach to reach 100 wins in his first decade as a head coach.


Trump said negotiations hit a snag when Don Shula insisted on getting a rent-free apartment at Trump Tower.


Don Shula broke off talks and called the courtship "a huge distraction", deciding to stay in Miami.


Years later, Csonka, by then an executive with the Jacksonville Bulls, said that he believed Don Shula would have taken the job, but was angered at being "thrown out to the press" by Trump.


Don Shula's teams posted only one losing record as Miami's coach after the 1984 season, but did not advance again to the Super Bowl.


Don Shula said he was "at peace with myself" in making the decision to step away from the game at 66 years old.


Dozens of Don Shula-branded restaurants opened in the ensuing years, primarily in Florida, including steakhouses, burger restaurants and bars.


Don Shula put his name on other Graham-owned properties in 1991, including the family's hotel in Miami Lakes where his first steakhouse was located.


Don Shula remained active in the branding business during his retirement, and the company bearing his name expanded, although his son Dave took over management in his later years.


Don Shula became a frequent product pitch-man in his later years, working for Miami-based auto dealership Warren Henry, HearUSA hearing aids, NutriSystem diet plans, Humana health insurance and Budweiser beer, among others.


Don Shula maintained other connections to football in retirement, too, often appearing in ceremonial roles.


In 2007, at Super Bowl XLI in Miami Gardens, Don Shula took part in the Vince Lombardi Trophy presentation.


Don Shula was an avid golfer after his coaching career, and had a home near the Indian Creek Country Club in the wealthy enclave of Indian Creek, Florida as well as a condominium overlooking the Links at Pebble Bay in Pebble Beach, California.

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On March 25,2007, Don Shula presented the Winners Cup to Tiger Woods, winner of the 2007 WGC-CA Golf Tournament held at the Doral Resort in Miami.


Don Shula was involved in a number of activities outside of sports.


Don Shula suffered from sleep apnea and heart issues toward the end of his life, and had a pacemaker implanted in 2016.


Don Shula died on May 4,2020, at the age of 90 at his home in Indian Creek.


Don Shula married Painesville, Ohio native Dorothy Bartish, with whom he was in a relationship since high school, on July 19,1958, after his playing career ended.


Don Shula married his second wife, Mary Anne Stephens, on October 15,1993.


Don Shula said in 1974, at the peak of his coaching career, that he attended Mass every morning.


Don Shula once considered becoming a Catholic priest, but decided he could not commit to being both priest and coach.


Don Shula set numerous records in his 33 seasons as a head coach.


Don Shula is the all-time leader in victories with 347 when including the postseason.


Don Shula is first in most games coached, with 526, most consecutive seasons coached, with 33, and Super Bowl losses with four, tied with Bud Grant, Dan Reeves, and Marv Levy.


Don Shula's teams won 15 division titles, six conference title wins, two NFL championships and six Super Bowl appearances.


Don Shula's teams were consistently among the least penalized in the NFL.


Don Shula was known as a tough and practical coach who worked players hard and put an emphasis on discipline, which helped reduce errors in games.


However, while he looked the tough-guy part, Don Shula paired it with a sharp football mind that helped keep him ahead of the competition.


Don Shula had losing records against Tom Flores Raymond Berry, Walt Michaels, and Vince Lombardi.


Don Shula has the distinction of having coached five different quarterbacks to Super Bowl appearances: Johnny Unitas and Earl Morrall in 1968, Bob Griese in 1971,1972, and 1973, David Woodley in 1982, and Dan Marino in 1984, three of them future Hall of Famers.


Don Shula coached Johnny Unitas to another World Championship appearance in the pre-Super Bowl era in 1964.


Don Shula was added to the Miami Dolphin Honor Roll on November 25,1996, not long after he retired.


Don Shula was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

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In 1999, Don Shula was honored with the "Lombardi Award of Excellence" from the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation.


The stadium's street address is 347 Don Shula Drive, making reference to his career win total.


Don Shula co-authored three books: The Winning Edge with Lou Sahadi.


Four of Don Shula's executives became general managers in the NFL:.