Shula passed away at the age of 90. The Miami Dolphins coach and restaurateur died Monday morning, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, citing confirmation from one of Shula’s children.
He played in the National Football League across seven seasons. Originally drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1951, Shula also played for the Colts — then based in Baltimore — and the Washington Redskins, according to NFL.com. After his playing career, he got into coaching. In 1970, he took over as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, a job he would hold for the next 25 years.
Shula Signed With The Cleveland Browns For $5,000
The Cleveland Browns selected Shula in the ninth round of the 1951 draft, 110th overall. He was one of two rookies to make the squad and signed a deal worth $5,000 a year to play as a defensive back, which would translate to just under $50,000 annually in the modern economy. His next contract was worth $5,500, a 10 percent increase.
In 1953, Shula signed a $6,500 deal with the Baltimore Colts, formerly the Dallas Texans. He played four seasons for the Colts before being waived. He then signed with the Washington Redskins, for which he would play a single season before ending his playing career.
Shula Coached The Miami Dolphins For 25 Years
After his playing career, Shula began coaching college football. Five years later — in 1963 — he signed on to coach the Baltimore Colts. His salary for that job is unknown.
In 1970, he began a 25-year tenure as head coach of the Miami Dolphins. He eventually became the winningest coach in NFL history. While the full details of his salary are not known, he was earning $400,000 toward the end of his time coaching the Dolphins. In 1983, Donald Trump offered Shula a $5 million deal to coach the New Jersey Generals in the upstart United States Football League, an organization that lasted three seasons. Shula eventually broke off negotiations.
In 1986, he signed a three-year contract with the Dolphins worth nearly $3 million. His next contract, a three-year extension signed in 1990, was worth a reported $1.4 million annually. His two-year extension signed in 1993 reportedly gave him $3.7 million.
He Lent His Name To Shula’s Steakhouse In 1989
Shula lent his name to a Miami-area steakhouse in 1989 at the Miami Lakes Inn & Golf Club, which would later be renamed in his honor.
“The partnership between Don Shula and the Graham family began during his tenure as head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Coach Shula was a long-term resident of Miami Lakes with a home on the sixteenth hole of what is now The Senator Golf Course. During that time, he used the Miami Lakes Inn as the team sequester hotel for each Miami Dolphins home game. In 1989, the Grahams opened the first Shula’s Steak House. With the immense success of the Steak House, in 1992 the Graham Companies re-named the entire property to Shula’s Hotel and Golf Club as a special recognition of Coach Shula’s contribution to our community.”
Shula’s Restaurant Group would eventually expand to include multiple Shula’s Steak House locations, the 347 Grille, Shula’s 2, Shula’s Bar & Grill, and Shula Burger.