BOCA RATON – There’s one week every year that FAU’s wide receivers coach is certain the media will come calling.
Dan Shula, welcome to Shula Bowl week.
Currently in his third season as a member of the the Owls’ coaching staff, the grandson of Hall of Fame former coach Don Shula doesn’t have to search for answers to reporters questions.
“I’ve pretty much got it committed to memory by now,” Shula said, smiling.
The annual FAU vs. FIU game derives its nickname from a mentor to each program’s inaugural head coaches.
Howard Schnellenberger served as Don Shula’s offensive coordinator at Miami during the 1970s, including the Dolphins’ perfect season in 1972. Don Strock was a quarterback for Shula’s Dolphins from 1974-87.
FAU owned the Don Shula trophy two seasons ago when Dan Shula arrived on campus, only to lose it that first year. Last season the Owls brought it back to Boca Raton with a 31-17 victory, and as time expired players and coaches raced to the opposing sideline to celebrate with the trophy.
“It was great charging across the field,” Shula said. “That’s one of my best memories I’ve had in coaching is running across the field and grabbing that trophy. Hopefully we’ll make another memory this week by keeping the trophy. Locking it down and keeping it here is our goal for this week.”
Should the Owls retain the trophy, it likely won’t be because of tips from the legendary coach. Dan said on Wednesday that he hasn’t spoken with his grandfather this week and didn’t expect Don to attend Saturday’s game at FIU, which kicks off at 7 p.m.
The younger Shula also admitted that Shula Bowl week can be a little uncomfortable at times.
“I find it hard for those words to come out of my mouth – saying ‘the Shula Bowl,’” Dan Shula said. “It just sounds a little weird to me. It’s definitely an honor. I’m very proud of what my grandfather did and all that stuff. For me personally, it’s ‘the FIU game.’ It’s a big rivalry game.”