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Don Shula, Winningest Coach in NFL History, Dead at 90
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

If you are a football fan, you know the name Don Shula. He is an icon who won more games than any other NFL coach in history. Sadly, he passed away on May 4. He was 90 years old.

The news of his death was first reported by Miami Herald reporter Barry Jackson and was confirmed by one of his children. The cause of death is unknown at the time of this publishing. All that anyone knows is a legend has passed away.

Don Shula Passes Away at 90

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For many football fans, this is a very sad day. Whether it was his days as the head coach of the Baltimore Colts or Miami Dolphins, Donald Francis Shula is one of the greatest and most-respected coaches of all time.

Shula was an NFL champion coach with the Colts and a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Dolphins, including the historic 1972 season when Miami went undefeated. He was an AP NFL Coach of the Year four times, named to the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team, awarded Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year in 1993, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

Born in Grand River, Ohio, Shula attended high school in nearby Painesville, where he became a star football player. He played his college football at John Carroll University before being selected in the ninth round of the 1951 NFL Draft. The defensive back managed to play seven seasons in the league with the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts and Washington Redskins.

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After a short stint as the defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions, Shula got his shot to be a head coach in the National Football League. He guided Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas and the franchise to new heights, which included the NFL Championship in 1968.

In 1970, Shula became the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, and everything took off from there. The undefeated season down in South Florida in 1972 is still an NFL record — It’s still the only perfect season in NFL history. The Dolphins football team also won the title the following year.

Shula retired in 1995 as the winningest coach in league history. He has the most regular season wins and total wins, including Super Bowl victories in Super Bowl VII and Super Bowl VIII. He coached great players such as quarterbacks Bob Griese and Dan Marino, offensive linemen Jim Langer and Bob Kuechenberg, running back Larry Csonka, and linebacker Nick Buoniconti, among others.

Whether it was during the regular season or the AFC Championship Game in the playoffs, Shula always had his Dolphins teams ready to play a football game.

Shula, who is also known off the field for Shula’s Steak House and his humanitarian efforts, was married twice. He had five children with his first wife, Dorothy, who died of breast cancer in 1991. He married Mary Anne two years later.

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As if the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 outbreak couldn’t get any worse, the world lost an amazing football coach, too.

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With over 10 years of sports writing experience, Brett has covered some of the top local, regional, and national sporting events in the Heartland for both print and digital platforms. He is a graduate of Kansas State University and resides in Austin, Texas.
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