The world of sports lost a legendary figure on Monday, as longtime Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula died at the age of 90. Shortly after the news broke, many of Shula’s fans and former players paid their respects, including former Pitt quarterback Dan Marino, who played for the coach from 1983 until 1995.
Coach Shula - you will truly be missed! You embody the definition of “greatness.” You brought that winning attitude with you every day and made everyone around you better. (Part 1/2) pic.twitter.com/Ytoi5l7H4F— Dan Marino (@DanMarino) May 4, 2020
“Coach Shula, you will truly be missed,” Marino wrote in a message posted on Twitter. “You embody the definition of greatness. You brought that winning attitude with you every day and made everyone around you better. Thank you for always believing in me. You made me a better player and person. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Shula family. Love you, Coach!”
Shula hailed from Grand River, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland, and played football at John Carroll University. He began his professional playing career as a defensive back with the Cleveland Browns in 1951 and got into coaching seven years later. Between 1963 and 1995, Shula would build one of the greatest legacies in football’s history, as he spent 33 years as a head coach with the Baltimore Colts and the Miami Dolphins, winning an NFL title with the Colts in 1968 and two Super Bowls with the Dolphins in 1973 and 1974.
With a 14-7 win over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII in 1973, Shula and the Dolphins capped off the only perfect season in NFL history. Ten years later, Marino would fall to the Dolphins late in the first round of the 1983 NFL draft. Marino would go 116-68 as a quarterback in Shula’s system during the first 14 years of his career, amassing 48,841 yards and 352 touchdowns over 186 games.
Today, John Carroll’s football stadium bears Shula’s name, and the coach is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton along with Marino. The duo won five AFC East titles together and a conference title in 1984. Shula holds the records for the most regular-season wins as a head coach, with 328, and the most total wins as a head coach, with 347.