Who is Don Shula?
Don Shula was a defensive back and coach in American football who served as the National Football League’s (NFL) head coach from 1963 to 1995.
He was born on January 4, 1930, in a small Ohio hamlet along Lake Erie’s northern shoreline, Grand River, to Don and Mary Shula. His Hungarian ancestry was traced back to his parents Dan and Mary, who came to the United States as children.
In order to buy the modest house in which Shula grew up, Dan, Shula’s father, worked part-time at a rose nursery for $9 per week. Mary’s parents owned the grocery shop next door to their residence in Grand River.
At age 11, Shula’s parents banned him from football since he had a gash on his face from an accident while playing in the neighborhood.
Shula, the longtime head coach of the Miami Dolphins, holds the record for most wins as a head coach in the NFL with 347 lifetime triumphs including 328 regular season triumphs. He began his coaching career with the Baltimore Colts, where he served as head coach for seven seasons, before moving on to Miami for the following 26 years.
During his 33 years as head coach, Shula only had two losing seasons and guided the Dolphins to back-to-back Super Bowl championships in 2007 and 2008. The only other flawless season in NFL history was in 1972, when he won his first Super Bowl.
With the Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts, Shula was the first head coach to appear in six Super Bowls. He has the second-most Super Bowl appearances (6), but he also has the most Super Bowl defeats (4).
In addition, he was the first head coach to lead two different teams to the Super Bowl and to appear in three straight Super Bowls, all with the Miami Dolphins, from 1971 to 1973.
Don Shula Son and Grandson; Dave and Chris Shula all serve as coaches in the NFL.