Howard Schnellenberger (born March 16, 1934) is a retired American football coach with long service at both the professional and college levels. He was most recently the head coach at Florida Atlantic, he also coached for Oklahoma, Louisville, Miami, where his team won a national championship, and the Baltimore Colts. He also worked extensively as an assistant coach at the college and pro levels, including as part of the staff of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins. Schnellenberger is also famous for recruiting Joe Namath to Alabama for Bear Bryant in 1961.
Schnellenberger arrived to a Miami program that was on its last legs, with the program having almost been dropped by the university just a few years prior. Drawing from the boot camp methodology learned from mentors Bryant and Shula and a pro-style pass-oriented playbook not yet the norm in college football, Miami developed a passing game that allowed them to have advantage over teams not equipped to defend such an attack. By his third season at Miami, the team had finished the season in the AP Poll top 25 twice—something that had not happened there since 1966.
He coached Miami to a national championship in 1983, defeating Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. In 1985, Schnellenberger returned to his hometown to coach another struggling program, the University of Louisville Cardinals. Schnellenberger inherited a situation that was as bad, if not worse, than what he’d inherited at Miami. After going 8–24–1 in his first three years, Schnellenberger was able to turn the program around and go 24–9–1 the next three seasons. In 10 years, he led the Cardinals to their fourth and fifth bowl games in school history.
In 2008, Coach Schnellenberger led his 6-6 FAU Owls to a post-season bid at the Motor City Bowl against the Central Michigan Chippewa’s. This marked the first time a 6-6 Sun Belt Conference team that had not won the Conference Championship was invited to a post-season bowl. Although the Owls were underdogs, Coach Schnellenberger extended his post-season bowl record to 6-0, the most of any coach without a loss, with a 24-21 win. After his retirement, Schnellenberger was retained by Florida Atlantic University and named the first ever “Ambassador at large” his main responsibility is to help drive fundraising efforts for the athletic department. When Miami and FAU met in 2013, the former coach was lauded as honorary captain for both teams.