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Don Shula (1930–2020), longtime Miami Dolphins head coach

by Kirk Fox

Don Shula was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 1970 to 1995, leading the team to two Super Bowl victories and the only perfect season in NFL history.

NFL Coaching Legend

Shula achieved great success with the Dolphins winning two Super Bowls and appearing in three others. The Super Bowl win in 1972 remains the only perfect season in NFL history. He coached a total of thirty three seasons, twenty five of which were with the Dolphins. Before the Dolphins, he coached the Baltimore Colts, where Shula led them to the Super Bowl III when they lost in an upset to Joe Namath’s NewsYork Jets. He has the most wins in NFL history and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997. Shula was known in the locker room for his intenxe personality, chirping at his players and pushing them to be their best. His legacy is bolstered by the quality quarterbacks that he coached including Bob Griese, Johnny Unitas, and Dan Marino. After his NFL career, Shula started the successful Shula’s steakhouse franchise.

His Enduring Friendship with Quarterback Bob Griese

Much like any normal pair of friends in retirement, Don Shula and his longtime Dolphin’s super bowl winning quarterback Bob Griese would get together regularly for lunch and good natured ribbing would be common. Topics of discussion would range from their time in the NFL together to their family. According to an article in the Sun Sentinel in 2017, the two rehashed the time Griese was sick the week before an important game. Shula says, “Why don’t you dress and just stand on the sideline?,” Griese recalls. “I don’t have the ankles taped or anything. Then, after a bit, he’s like, ‘You think you can play?’ When we fall behind, like 14-0, he says, ‘Why don’t you take the next snap?'” They ended up winning the game.


Full Obituary: Sun-Sentinel

Additional reporting by Brandon Gitles

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