Howard Schnellenberger rings the victory bell following the Owls' defeat of UAB - their first in the new stadium. (OwlAccess.com photo)
FAU to name the field at its on-campus football stadium after program founder Howard Schnellenberger.
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BOCA RATON – FAU's football stadium has been commonly refered to as the “House that Howard Built” since it opened in 2011.
Now, FAU has made the connection formal.
The FAU Board of Trustees voted on Wednesday to name the field in its on-campus stadium after founding coach Howard Schnellenberger this year – formally changing the name to Howard Schnellenberger Field at FAU Stadium in a ceremony that will take place prior to the home opener against Tulsa on Sept. 13.
FAU hired Schnellenberger, who led the University of Miami to its first national title in 1983, in 1998 to study the feasibility of starting a football program.
The Owls, led by Schnellenberger, first took the field in 2001. In 2003 Schnellenberger led the Owls to Division I-AA semifinals. Four years later the Owls, now playing at the nation's highest level, earned consecutive bowl bids, winning the New Orleans Bowl and the Motor City Bowl. Schnellenberger retired a perfect 6-0 in bowl games.
“It's very humbling to have such a great honor bestowed on the Schnellenberger family, and I thank the Board of Trustees, my coaches and players who helped make this come true,” Schnellenberger said. “It's a high point in my personal and professional life.”
Schnellenberger coached only one year in the on-campus stadium. The Owls finished 1-11 in 2011, but that one win did come at home against UAB. He retired from FAU with a 41-56 record, 141-133 overall in his career.
Schnellenberger already has a life-sized statute of his likeness in the Southwest corner of the stadium. A marquee element will be created near that statute and two “Howard Schnellenberger Field” signs will be placed on the walls of the field.
The proposal approved by the FAU Board of Trustees stated that the signage would cost about $32,000, which is being covered by a gift from an anonymous donor that “far exceeded” that amount.
During his career Schnellenberger spent a decade as the coach of Louisville. In 2005 he took the Owls back to Louisville and at that time Louisville renamed its football building the Howard Schnellenberger Football Complex.
Schnellenberger led the University of Miami to its first national championship. He tried furiously to get the Hurricanes to build an on-campus stadium, but Miami has yet to do so. Miami travels to play FAU at Schnellenberger Field next season.
Since his retirement as FAU's football coach Schnellenberger has kept an office in the university's administration building, operating as an ambassador at large for the school.
He was rarely seen around the football program during his first two years of retirement, pushed away by then head coach Carl Pelini. New coach Charlie Partridge, hired in December, has embraced Schnellenberger and the Owls' limited tradition.
Partridge has publicly thanked Schnellenberger for starting the program on many occasions and invited the former coach to address the team during fall camp.
“For me to have that resource here - to have someone who's accomplished what he's accomplished in our world of college football meant a lot to me and meant a lot to the football team,” Partridge said. “I love having him around. When I see him I can't help it - I'm like a fan. I see the white hair and the suspenders and I can't help but smile because there is so much to learn and he's such a good person.”
Hard Knocks at the Ox: Wednesday's practice report
Making Plays: During the drill designed to imitate a situation where the offense is running out the clock and the defense needs to force a turnover, LB Andrae Kirk stripped RB Martese Jackson of the ball and fell on it himself. ...Alex Deleon caught a red zone TD pass even though safety Christian Milstead was draped all over him. ...D.J. Juste caught a pass in the flat, made one quick wiggle to shake a defender, and sprinted to the end zone. ...Cornerback Ronnie Scott intercepted a Jason Driskel pass.
On the Field: The completion of Wednesday's practice officially marked the end of FAU's fall camp. The Owls turn their attention to season-opening opponent Nebraska in earnest beginning on Thursday. ...Center Braden Lyons, RB Tony Moore and DE Trey Hendrickson were among the handful of players who missed at least part of practice while battling flu-like symptoms. ...Marc Mauro moved from safety to nickelback last week. He saw some action with the twos there on Wednesday. ...Scouts from the New England Patriots, New York Jets and Detroit Lions attended practice on Wednesday.
Newcomer Watch: With starting center Braden Lyons slowed by flu-like symptoms, freshman Joe Gold worked much of the day with the starting unit. ...Second team nickelback Marquese Dudley-Gordon broke up, and nearly intercepted, a pass at the goal line.
Instant Message: “We are transitioning to Nebraska tomorrow. The last two days (FAU players) are certainly at a point where they've had enough of hitting each other.” - FAU coach Charlie Partridge