Former head coach of the Miami Dolphins and winningest coach in NFL history
On July 25, 1997, Don Shula capped an illustrious career when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Shula's unanimous election to the Hall was the ultimate honor in a career full of record-setting accomplishments.
Shula's record as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, from 1975-1995, and before that as head coach of the Baltimore Colts, from 1963-1969, is unmatched in National Football League history. In 1995 he concluded his 33rd season as an NFL head coach and his 26th season as head coach of the Dolphins. On November 14, 1993, when the Dolphins defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, Shula won his 325th career game, moving him past the immortal George Halas and setting an NFL record for most career victories. In addition, Shula won Super Bowl titles in 1972 and 1973, one of only five coaches in NFL history to win consecutive Super Bowls. His 1972 team went 17-0, recording the only undefeated season in NFL annals. He has appeared in more Super Bowls -- six -- than any other coach, and is one of only two coaches to reach the Super Bowl three straight seasons.
Shula broke into the NFL as the lone rookie on Coach Paul Brown's defending NFL champion Cleveland Browns in 1951. He was involved in the largest trade in modern NFL history, a 15-player deal with Baltimore in 1953. He played four seasons with the Colts (1953-1956) and one season at Washington (1957) at right cornerback. He had 21 career interceptions for 247 yards in seven seasons.
Shula also contributed to the growth of the NFL off the field by serving from 1975 through 1995 (including the last two years in that span as co-chairman along with George Young of the New York Giants) on the league's influential Competition Committee, which evaluates and recommends changes in playing rules as well as regulations designed to improve the safety of playing conditions.
Along with his football responsibilties, Shula has always given considerable time, plus financial and emotional support, to many area charities. The Don Shula Foundation, formed primarily to assist breast cancer research, was established as a tribute to his late wife, Dorothy. Shula has also been active in the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, American Red Cross, the United Way, and Catholic Charities. John Carroll University showed its appreciated for Shula's support of the school by naming its athletic complex the Don Shula Sports Center. Shula has received honorary doctorate degrees from John Carroll, St. Thomas University, the University of Miami, and Florida Atlantic University.
Because of his success on the football field and his long-time civic and charitable service, Shula has received countless prestigious awards recognizing his contributions, including the 1993 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Award, the 1994 Horatio Alger Award, the Bert Bell Award, the Lombardi Award, and the Pete Rozelle Award. In addition, along with Ken Blanchard, Shula co-authored "Everyone's a Coach," a highly-acclaimed book that outlines the application of their managerial philosophies for business and personal success. Shula personifies those business principles himself, serving as an equity partner in two highly successful enterprises: Don Shula's Hotel & Golf Club and Don Shula's Steak Houses.
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