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Former coach Schnellenberger headed to FAU Hall of Fame

Florida Football Insiders

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Robert Duyos-USA TODAY Sports

Legendary former Miami Hurricanes coach and the architect of Florida Atlantic’s football program, Howard Schnellenberger, will be honored later this year by being put in the FAU Hall of Fame along with two former prominent players of the football program.

The announcement came Monday that FAU will be holding the Hall of Fame induction for the first time in seven years with Schnellenberger headlining:

Schnellenberger is most famous for having lead to Hurricanes to the 1983 National Championship capped by their Orange Bowl dramatic 31 – 30 upset of the number one ranked, unbeaten and seemingly unbeatable, Nebraska Cornhuskers. Led by Bernie Kosar that season, the Canes became a national powerhouse that sustained for the next decade with three more national titles.

Schnellenberger was hired by FAU to start a football program in 1998, at a time when USF in Tampa and UCF in Orlando had already blossomed with new football programs. Their three year building process culminated with FAU fielding a football team under Schellenberger for the first time in 2001.

Here’s more from the FAU release Monday on the Hall of Fame announcement about Schnellenberger:

He secured the funding, gained the state’s approval and signed his first recruiting class in February of 2000. Under Schnellenberger’s direction, FAU took to the field for the first time in 2001. In 2003, the fledgling program advanced to, and hosted, the I-AA semifinal game. FAU captured the Sun Belt Conference Championship in 2007, earning an invitation and win in the New Orleans Bowl, and became the fastest start-up program to receive a bowl bid and record a victory.

One year later, the Owls became the only team in the state of Florida to record back-to-back bowl victories. Schnellenberger marshalled the sideline 132 times wearing a suit of FAU colors, proving victorious 58 times. His continued efforts to transform the Boca Raton campus into a more traditional university, through the efforts of football, culminated with an on-campus stadium in 2011. He would roam the sidelines that final season on a field that bared his name.

Along with the legendary coach, the owls will also welcome in two former star players who helped establish their program. QB Rusty Smith and RB Alfred Morris will both also be inducted later this year. Smith led the Owls to those two bowl victories under Schellenberger and also became the first Owls player to ever be drafted in the NFL in 2010.

Morris had two 1,000 yard rushing seasons in 2009 and 2011. He finished his FAU career as the school’s second all time leading rusher and was drafted in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Redskins, where he rushed for a Washington record 1,612 yards (2nd in the NFL) in his rookie season. And, he followed it up with two more consecutive seasons of over 1,000 yards, as well. He is the most noteworthy Owls player in NFL history.

The school will put eight total members into its Hall of Fame on Friday night October 11th and then will honor all of them at the Saturday October 12th home game with Middle Tennessee State.

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