Howard Schnellenberger to receive Paul ’Bear’ Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award
Howard Schnellenberger may have been overlooked once again when the recent College Football Hall of Fame ballot came out, but the former Miami and Florida Atlantic head coach has earned the 2021 Paul "Bear" Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award.
Schnellenberger will accept the award, presented annually by Memorial Hermann Health System, at a dinner in Houston on Jan. 13, 2021.
His name will be inscribed alongside those who have dedicated their lives to football, including Bill Snyder (2020), Frank Beamer (2019) and former Florida coach Steve Spurrier (2018), to name the most recent award winners.
That inscription identifies a man whose coaching tenure spanned more than 50 years, included four NCAA championships and an unmatched 6-0 bowl record. He coached in seven NFL playoff and Super Bowl games, including as the offensive coordinator for the 1972 undefeated Miami Dolphins.
"I am truly honored to receive the Paul ’Bear’ Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award," said Schellenberger upon hearing the news. "It is an even greater honor to be placed with past honorees, most of whom have been friends and colleagues at one time or another. I am reflecting on the five years we were with Coach Bryant at Alabama and the three national championships. Coach Bryant was always a mentor and friend, and one of my favorite memories is being tasked by Coach Bryant to recruit Joe Namath. We look forward to celebrating this Lifetime Achievement Award with everyone."
As much as resurrecting and coaching UM to its first national championship, and rebuilding the Louisville football program, Schnellenberger also helped start the FAU football program. He first lent his legendary status to the Owls in 1998 as a consultant, hired to explore the option of the university fielding a football team.
On December 4, 2011, Schnellenberger coached his final game in the newly opened Florida Atlantic University Stadium. He rounded out his historic coaching career with a collegiate record of 158-151-3.
During his four collegiate head coaching stops, including one season at Oklahoma, he recruited more than 100 players drafted by the NFL and that number only soars when adding the CFL or NFL free agents. The coaching footprint laid by his mentors, including Bryant, Don Shula, Blanton Collier, and George Allen has been carried on by his former players and those who assisted Schnellenberger on the sidelines.