Owls Most Successful Season in NCAA History

FAU Owls football team has arguably been one of the best start-from-scratch football programs in NCAA history. Believe it or not, FAU has averaged five or more wins in their first five seasons. This is a truly amazing feat considering Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger began building a football program on May 1, 1998, with nothing more than a dream of building the FAU football team into a national contender.

The support of the new students is desperately needed if this football program will be mentioned with the University of Miami. We have to remember that Coach Schnellenberger led Miami to its first of five NCAA Championships.

“The involvement of the student body is absolutely essential to the quick rise of a football program,” said Schnellenberger.

Furthermore, football provides excitement throughout the students. Something to bond with 25,000 people who you really don’t know, but already have football as a bridge to friendships. These are experiences you may take with you the rest of your life. You may not remember who your algebra teacher or history teacher was, but you will remember FAU beating rival FIU at Dolphins Stadium for the Sun Belt Conference Championship.

In seven short years, Schnellenberger has raised more than $15 million, and put the Owls on the fast track for Division I NCAA football. FAU now holds the record for the fastest beginning program to beat a Division I-A opponent, and the Owls became the fastest program to reach the Division I-AA playoffs. After these dubious distinctions, Schnellenberger was named the Sports Network South Coach of the Year following the 2003 season. In 2004 FAU played at Hawaii when a hurricane was lingering on Florida’s coastline during pre-game. Schnellenberger convinced his team to concentrate on the task at hand, and FAU handed the University of Hawaii Warriors their only home-field loss in 2004. This defeat gave the Owls a win over a major bowl game participant in just the 36th game of FAU’s existence.

Following the groundbreaking Hawaii win, FAU beat Sun Belt nemesis North Texas the next week. The Owls then won five games in a row, and finished the season 9-3. In 2003, FAU went 11-3 and came one game away from going to the Division II NCAA Championship game. During the 2005 football season, FAU joined the Sun Belt Conference, and also began playing the elite of a Division I football schedule. The Owls played Kansas, Oklahoma State, Minnesota, and Louisville to start the season. Although FAU lost all four games, these opponents helped the young Owls gain valuable experience which led to two Sun Belt Conference wins. This year FAU is destined to win the Sun Belt Conference and participate in a major bowl game in December. Coach Schnellenberger feels the new students will help continue the tradition of FAU football.”Much like the University of Miami in 1979 and University of Louisville in 1985, the development of the football team in both places was hastened by the outpouring of support and excitement by the student body for their

football teams,” said Schnellenberger.