Shula, Don (Donald Francis Shula)sho͞o´lə [key], 1930–2020, American football coach, b. Grand River, Ohio. A player at John Carroll Univ. and from 1951 to 1957 with the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts, and Washington Redskins of the National Football League, he coached at the universities of Virginia and Kentucky before becoming (1960) an assistant coach with the NFL's Detroit Lions. In 1963 he became the youngest NFL head coach ever, at Baltimore. After posting a 71–23–4 record in seven seasons with the Colts but losing (1969) to the New York Jets in the third Super Bowl, he moved in 1970 to the struggling Miami Dolphins, a team he transformed so thoroughly that during the 1972 season they became unbeaten Super Bowl champions, recording the only perfect (17–0) season in NFL history. In all, his teams appeared in six Super Bowls (Baltimore, 1969; Miami, 1972–74, 1983, 1985) and won twice (1973–74). When Shula retired from the Dolphins in 1996, he had coached 328 regular-season and 347 total victories, both professional football records.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Sports: Biographies