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Friday, January 21, 2005
Updated: July 5, 4:14 PM ET
Winningest of All

By Mike Puma
Special to

Signature Game
Nov. 14, 1993 - Not until the game ended did Don Shula smile. But once he did, with the Dolphins a 19-14 winner over the Eagles, the usually stoic Miami coach lit up Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia with his grin. Behind him, nine Miami fans held up banners reading "D-O-N-3-2-5-Y-E-S!"

Midway through his 31st season, Shula took over sole possession as the winningest coach in NFL history, breaking his tie with George Halas. Shula had a 325-153-6 record; Halas was 324-151-6. Guard Keith Sims and tackle Richmond Webb lifted their coach onto their shoulders. A gleeful Shula uncharacteristically jabbed a boastful finger into the air  I'm No. 1.

"You know the last time I was carried off the field?" Shula said later. "It was 1972 when we went 17-0 to win the Super Bowl. It's been a long time since I've been up on anybody's shoulders."

Shula, who got most of his victories behind the quarterbacking of Johnny Unitas and Dan Marino, got this one with third-stringer Doug Pederson at the helm in the second half. Pederson, playing because of injuries to Marino and Scott Mitchell, led the Dolphins to two Pete Stoyanovich field goals as they rallied from a 14-13 deficit.

"Pretty strange, huh?" said Pederson.

Odds 'n' Ends

  • Shula's grandparents changed their surname from Sule upon arriving in the United States in 1905.

  • Shula grew up attending daily mass.

  • He forged his mother's signature so he could play eighth-grade football.

  • Shula was voted "Best Body" by his senior class in high school.

  • He majored in sociology and minored in math at John Carroll University.

  • While playing for the Colts in 1956, Shula worked as a car salesman in the offseason and earned $7,000. His football salary was only $6,800.

  • Shula replaced Weeb Ewbank as Colts head coach. They became opposing head coaches in Super Bowl III.

  • In Shula's first game as a head coach, his Colts lost 37-28 to the New York Giants.

  • Shula served on the NFL competition committee from 1975-95.

  • After Miami defeated Minnesota in Super Bowl VIII, Shula went nine years without winning another postseason game.

  • Shula's only losing seasons came in 1976 and 1988. The Dolphins won only six games each year.

  • In a divisional game in the 1981 AFC playoffs, Shula's Dolphins lost what the Pro Football Hall of Fame voted the "NFL's Game of the '80s." Miami rallied from a 24-point deficit only to lose to the San Diego Chargers, 41-38, in overtime.

  • Sports Illustrated named Shula its Sportsman of the Year in 1993.

  • He is the youngest coach to win 100, 200 and 300 games.

  • Shula's record in the postseason was 19-17.

  • Shula, Curley Lambeau (Packers), Halas (Bears) and Tom Landry (Cowboys) are the only NFL coaches with at least 200 victories with one team.

  • Shula and Halas are the only NFL coaches with at least 300 victories.

  • The Dolphins lost 37-22 to the Bills in the 1995 AFC wild-card round, Shula's last game as head coach.

  • Jimmy Johnson followed Shula as Dolphins head coach.

  • In 1995, Shula co-authored Everyone's Coach, a book that outlines managerial and business philosophies.

  • Shula served as a presenter to five former players (Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Jim Langer, Larry Little and Dwight Stephenson) at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Overall, he coached 12 players who reached the shrine.

  • Shula's Dolphins teams were 8-0 following a bye week, including the playoffs.

  • Shula and his late wife Dorothy had five children. Son David was head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals from 1992-96 and son Mike is head coach at Alabama.

  • Mike began his career as a coach's assistant under his father, in 1991.

  • When the Dolphins played the Bengals in 1994, it marked the first time in major professional sports history that a father and son faced each other as head coaches. Miami won, 23-7.

  • Mike and David Shula presented their father for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

  • David serves as president of Don Shula's Steakhouse Inc.

  • Shula is active in the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, American Red Cross, the United Way and Catholic Charities.

  • He created the Don Shula Foundation to assist in breast cancer research as a tribute to Dorothy.

  • He helps fund a $1-million chair for John Carroll's department of philosophy.

  • In 2003, the school opened Don Shula Stadium.