Don Shula, legendary Miami Dolphins head coach, dies at 90
Often regarded as one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, Shula was primarily known four leading the Miami Dolphins' unbeaten streak to the Super Bowl in the 1972 season
Don Shula, the legendary NFL coach who led the Miami Dolphins to two Super Bowl victories, has died at the age of 90.
Miami Herald's Barry Jackson was the first to report Shula's death, citing one of his children. The tragic news was later confirmed by the Dolphins in a separate statement, Fox News reports. The cause of death was not immediately known, but a source revealed that it was not from coronavirus, Miami Herald reported.
“Don Shula was the patriarch of the Miami Dolphins for 50 years. He brought the winning edge to our franchise and put the Dolphins and the city of Miami in the national sports scene," they said in a statement. "Our deepest thoughts and prayers go out to Mary Anne along with his children, Dave, Donna, Sharon, Anne, and Mike.”
Often regarded as one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, Shula was primarily known for leading the Miami Dolphins' unbeaten streak to the Super Bowl in the 1972 season. Under his leadership, the Dolphins became the only team in NFL history to finish an entire season undefeated.
Shula first began his coaching career in 1963 with the Baltimore Colts. He was just 33 at the time. He stayed with the Colts from 1963 to 1969 and led the team to an NFL Championship in 1968, before eventually taking over the Dolphins in 1970.
Shula went on to coach the Dolphins for a whopping 26 seasons until 1995. During his time with the Dolphins, they secured five AFC Championships and two Super Bowl victories. Shula broke a number of records with the Dolphins, and his team with Bob Griese and Larry Csonka became the only one to win the Super Bowl after finishing the regular season unbeaten. The New England Patriots, which eventually became the second team to finish the regular season with an unbeaten run, ultimately lost in the Super Bowl.
It is worth noting that out of the 33 years Shula spent as head coach in the NFL, he only had two losing seasons.
What's more? Shula was named NFL coach of the year a stunning six times -- three times while leading the Dolphins. In 1997, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and still holds the record for most wins ever by a head coach at 328. As of now, Bill Belichick has an active record of 273 victories as head coach.
Prior to coaching, Shula was a defensive back in the NFL. After seven NFL seasons -- 1951-52 seasons with the Cleveland Browns, 1953 -56 with the Colts, 1957 with the Washington Redskins -- Shula retired from the game. In all, he had played 73 games throughout his career, intercepting 21 passes and recording four fumbles.
Following his pro football career, Shula started the Don Shula Foundation for Breast Cancer Research after his beloved wife Dorothy died from the disease. President Barack Obama hosted Shula and members of the 1972 team at the White House in 2013, noting how they "never got their White House visit."
Shula previously had a health scare in May 2016 after he was hospitalized due to fluid retention and sleep apnea.
He is now survived by his current wife Mary Anne and his five children.