Miami Hurricanes Coaches Discuss Best Advice They Ever Received

Mar 16, 2017; Tulsa, OK, USA; Miami Hurricanes head coach Jim Larranaga during practice at BOK Center. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2017; Tulsa, OK, USA; Miami Hurricanes head coach Jim Larranaga during practice at BOK Center. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports /
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Miami Hurricanes
Sep 11,2015;Boca Raton, FL, USA; University of Miami and Florida Atlantic former head coach Howard Schnellenberger exits the field before his two old teams take on each other Friday night. Miami Hurricane and Buffalo Bills former quarterback Jim Kelly follows at left. Credit:Robert Duyos-USA TODAY Sports /

Sun Sentinel Columnist Dave Hyde Asked South Florida area sports figures what is the best advice they ever received. Legendary Miami Hurricanes Football Coach Howard Schnellenberger and Current Basketball Coach Jim Larranaga were among those who shared their best advice with Hyde.

Schnellenberger took over a Miami Hurricanes football program in 1979 that had been on the brink of elimination. The basketball program had been eliminated just eight years before he took over.

Schnellenberger spent nine seasons in the NFL. He was as an Offensive Coordinator with the Dolphins and Head Coach of the Baltimore Colts before being hired as the Head Coach of the Miami Hurricanes. He was one of the most innovative coaches in college football.

The Hurricanes instituted a high octane passing game way before most schools. Led by Jim Kelly and then Bernie Kosar at quarterback he helped the Miami Hurricanes create Quarterback U in the early 1980’s.

Schnellberger spent time as an assistant learning from some of the best coaches in a game. That was advice he got from his father he told Hyde.

"“My father told me, ‘If you want to be a coach, you’ve got to go coach with the best….I was the most blessed young coach coming into this business in 1958. I had five coaches at Kentucky that were all Hall of Fame coaches and let me sit in on their meetings, go to games and talk strategy. Don Shula, George Allen, Blanton Collier, Paul Bryant and my high school coach Paulie Miller. I wasn’t learning by studying or anything. I was learning by osmosis — low concentration of me sucking in high concentrations of them. First thing I learned was you’ve got to work (players) so hard that 20 percent of them quit — same thing they do in the Marines. When I went to Millersburg, Ky., as a freshman for Bryant, 140 of us went to camp. Four weeks later, we were down to 40. He ran off all the chaff and kept the wheat. The guys who stayed there said, ‘We’re the toughest sonuvabitches around.’ You can’t do that anymore, but that’s how to make a team.”"

Schnellenberger spent seven seasons as Shula’s offensive coordinator in the 1970’s. He was also the Colts Head Coach for 17 games in 1974 and ’75. They went just 4-13 during his tenure.

With the Dolphins he showed his ability to adapt to his personnel. While the Hurricanes had a high-wire passing game, it was the running game that powered the great Dolphins teams in the 1970s.

The Dolphins finished in the top ten in points six times, the top ten in yards four times and the top ten in rushing offense five times during his tenure.

The legendary 1972 Dolphins team that went undefeated led the NFL in points, total yards, rushing yards, attempts, and touchdowns.