Don Shula has died at the age of 90. The former coach of the Miami Dolphins passed away on Monday morning, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. According to Jackson, one of Shula’s children confirmed the sad news. His cause of death was not made available.
Very sad news: Dolphins Hall of Fame coach Don Shula passed away this morning at age 90, one of his children confirmed.
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) May 4, 2020
Shula was born on January 4, 1930, in Grand River, Ohio, to parents Dan and Mary and was one of seven kids. He is survived by his wife, Mary Ann Stephens, and his five children.
Shula Played Defensive Back For 3 Teams After Being Drafted In 1951
Shula started playing football in high school and went on to play at John Carroll University. He was dedicated to his studies and graduated in 1951 as a sociology major with a minor in mathematics. While his future in the world of education looked bright, that was put on hold when he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the ninth round of the 1951 NFL draft.
In his seven seasons as a player, Shula signed deals with the Cleveland Browns, the Baltimore Colts, and the Washington Redskins. He played defensive back in 73 games and had 21 interceptions. He also recovered four fumbles over the course of his playing career.
Shula Is The ‘Winningest’ Coach In NFL History
Shula began his coaching career in 1958, inking a deal to become an assistant at the University of Virginia. From there, he went on to work as an assistant at the University of Kentucky before getting his big NFL-coaching-break in 1960, when he became the defensive backfield coach for the Detroit Lions. In 1963, he became the head coach of the then-Baltimore Colts, where he stayed for seven years. In 1970, he inked a deal with the Miami Dolphins, where he spent the next 25 years.
Shula was known as the winningest coach in NFL history, with 328 wins under his belt before he retired. George Halas, former head coach of the Chicago Bears, is in second place with 318 wins, and Bill Belichick, current head coach of the New England Patriots, rounds out the top three with 273 wins. Shula only had two losing seasons in his 33-year career as a head coach.
During his tenure with the Dolphins, he led the team to six Super Bowl appearances and two Super Bowl victories.
He was named 1993 Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997. Two years later, he was honored with the “Lombardi Award of Excellence” from the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation.
He Was Married Twice & Was A Father To 5 Kids
Big things were in store for Shula both on and off the field. He married his first wife, Dorothy Bartish, on July 19, 1958, and they had five children together. Dave Shula was born on May 28, 1959, Donna Shula on April 28, 1961, Sharon Shula on June 30, 1962, Anne Shula on May 7, 1964, and Mike Shula on June 3, 1965. Bartish died of cancer in 1991. That same year, Shula’s sons Mike and Dave got new jobs in the NFL, following in their dad’s footsteps. Mike became an assistant coach for the Dolphins, while Dave took a job as the head coach of the Bengals.
In 1994, the Dolphins — led by Don — played the Bengals. This was the first time in professional sports history that a father and son faced each other as head coaches. For the record, the Dolphins won the game, 23-7.
In addition to co-authoring three books, his name is associated with Shula’s Steak House, a high-end restaurant chain with several locations across Florida and in Arizona, Illinois, and Texas. He also owns a hotel in Miami Lakes, Florida, which is home to the original Shula’s Steak House. He received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in recognition of his humanitarian efforts in 2011. He also endowed the Don Shula Chair in Philosophy at his alma mater.
He married Mary Anne Stephens on October 16, 1993.
At the time of his death, Shula had an estimated net worth of $30 million.