Friday, December 26, 2008

You'll never see a man coach with as much passion and energy

Seventy-four-year-old Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger is 5-0 in bowl games during his career.

He goes for his sixth win tonight against Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl.

If you recall, Coach Schnellenberger led the University of Miami to a "stunning 31-30 victory over Nebraska in the 1984 Orange Bowl Classic that propelled the University of Miami to its first national championship."

He "credits his bowl savvy to his days as an assistant coach under Bear Bryant at Alabama in the early 1960s."

"Those days that I was helping him prepare his teams for the bowls and saw what he did, I probably patterned a lot of the stuff after that," he said. "He got us ready physically, mentally, emotionally and technically and let the game become the motivator."

FAU assistant coch Gary Nord, who's been with Coach Schnellenberger for 16 years, says the key to Coach Schnellenberger's bowl success are "detailed, demanding practices leading up to the games and a philosophy that a victory in late December or early January can be a springboard into the next season."

"We really work harder than we do in the regular season. Most people kind of use it as an extracurricular activity in practice, but we run gassers. You're not going to see another team in the country that runs gassers in bowl preparation."

Lloyd Carr, the former Michigan coach who was an assistant coach to the late legendary Bo Schembechler, remembers watching Coach Schnellenberger when he was coaching at Louisville.

According to Coach Carr, preparation and hard work are only part of Coach Schnellenberger's formula for success:

"You'll never see a man coach with as much passion, as much energy."