In January 1996, Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history, was named as vice-chairman of the Miami Dolphins, in addition to his status as a part-owner of the team. He concluded his thirty-third and last season as an NFL head coach in 1995. His career marks are unmatched in NFL history. He holds a career record of 347-173-6 (.665), including a regular season mark of 328-156-6 (.676). His 328 regular season victories is an NFL record, a mark once thought to be unreachable.
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During his tenure with the Dolphins (1970-95), Shula's winning percentage of .658 (257-133-2) was the best in all of professional sports. The Dolphins either won or shared first place in the AFC East fifteen times and reached the playoffs sixteen times. His 1972 team went 17-0, recording the only undefeated season in NFL annals, and won the Super Bowl, as did the 1973 team. Shula is one of only four coaches in NFL history to win consecutive Super Bowls.
Shula 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 (1971-73). A remarkable twenty times in thirty-three seasons, his teams reached the playoffs. He averaged almost ten wins per season in his career as a head coach, and he was the youngest coach to win 100, 200, and 300 games each.
Before joining the Dolphins, Shula served as head coach of the Baltimore Colts (1963-69). When named to the position, he was the youngest head coach (33 years old) in the history of the NFL. Prior to this, Shula served three years (1960-62) as defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions. He entered the coaching ranks with an assistant's job at the universities of Virginia (1958) and Kentucky (1959).
He began his playing career in the NFL in 1951 as the lone rookie on the defending NFL championship Cleveland Browns team. He also played four seasons with the Colts (1953-56) and one season at Washington (1957). In college, he was a running back at John Carroll University in Cleveland.
Shula contributed to the growth of the NFL off the field by serving from 1975 through 1995 on the league's influential Competition Committee.
In addition to his football responsibilities, Shula has always given much time and financial support to 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 Red Cross, the United Way and Catholic Charities. He helps to fund a $1 million chair in John Carroll University's Department of Philosophy. In 1994, John Carroll University showed its appreciation for his support by naming its athletic complex the Don Shula Sports Center.
Shula is currently active as an Equity Partner in Don Shula's Hotel & Golf Club and Don Shula's Steak Houses, Inc.
Shula has received countless prestigious awards, including the 1993 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Award, 1994 Horatio Alger Award, Pete Rozelle Award, and in 1997, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In 1995, along with Ken Blanchard, Shula co-authored Everyone's A Coach, a highly acclaimed book that outlines the application of managerial philosophies for business and personal success.
Shula's motivational keynote speeches entitled, You Can Inspire Anyone To Be A Winner, emphasize teamwork, consistency and integrity.
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