FAU schedules celebration of life for Howard Schnellenberger on Sept. 10

Schnellenberger founded FAU’s football program in 1998.


Photo courtesy of FAU Athletics.

Michael Gennaro, Social Media Manager

FAU announced a celebration of life for former football coach Howard Schnellenberger on June 21. The event will be held at FAU Stadium on Friday, Sept. 10, from 5-8 p.m. The celebration will be free and open to the public.

The event will feature former football players who played under or worked with Schnellenberger. In a press release, FAU Athletics said that all speakers “will celebrate the impact Coach Schnellenberger had on their lives, the sport of football and the communities he called home throughout his six decades of coaching.” 

Guests at the event will have the opportunity to win prizes celebrating the founder of FAU football. Any questions about the event can be answered by reaching out to FAU Athletics at [email protected].

Schnellenberger coached for over 60 years at the college and professional level, but he made his biggest impact on the sport in South Florida. In addition to starting FAU’s football program from scratch, Schnellenberger was on the staff of the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the only undefeated team in NFL history. He also coached the University of Miami to its first national title in 1983.

There were rough patches for Schnellenberger and the Owls early but eventually, the program found enough success to achieve Division I status in 2005, one of Schnellenberger’s primary motivations when building the program. In addition to the success on the field, Schnellenberger pushed for a new on-campus stadium for the football team. That goal was realized in 2010 with the building of FAU Stadium. The university named the field at the stadium in his honor in 2014.

For all of his work, FAU inducted Schnellenberger into the university’s Hall of Fame during homecoming in 2019. After his retirement, he stayed involved with the university as the “ambassador at large,” a position that raised funds for the athletic department. Schnellenberger passed away earlier this year in Boca Raton at the age of 87.

The Schnellenberger family is accepting donations for the Schnellenberger Family Foundation, a foundation that helps families with addiction, and the Howard Schnellenberger Endowed Scholarship Fund, a scholarship that benefits FAU football student athletes.

Michael Gennaro is a staff writer and social media manager for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or message him on Twitter or Instagram @mycoolgennaro.