There aren't too many head coaches that could be accurately described as "legends" still walking a college football sideline, but Howard Schnellenberger is one of them. The 77-year-old architect of the modern-day versions of former sad-sacks Miami and Louisville is now in his 11th season at Florida Atlantic, the Boca Raton program he guided from the ground up into the 2007 Sun Belt championship.
But could those 11 seasons be enough for either "Schnelly" or the administrators at FAU? Per today's article in the Sun-Sentinel, it sounds like they might be:
FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos said he won't be discussing another extension [for Schnellenberger] until after the upcoming season.
"The focus this season is on opening our stadium and honoring all those who worked so hard to make it happen, and Howard was the one that pushed the hardest," Angelos said ...
As far as coaching beyond this season, Schnellenberger has been noncommittal, other than to say he would like to stay connected to the program.
"My plan is to be here in whatever capacity is best for the university or myself," Schnellenberger said ...
FAU needs to average at least 12,000 fans per game to generate enough income to pay off the stadium, so there will be pressure to win and generate fan interest.
"The more excitement surrounding the program the better for all of us. If you are relevant on the landscape and you will be better received," Angelos said.Unfortunately for Schnellenberger, his team didn't win or generate much fan interest last year. The Owls went a disappinting 4-8 in 2010, and it wasn't even a watchable 4-8; the moribund FAU offense finished 113th in the FBS in scoring at less than 17 points per game. After three straight years of declining victories and few observers expecting anything special this year, it's easy to argue the program has already hit its peak under Schnellenberger.
The new stadium could change all of that, of course. But with both coach and administration so noncommittal, it seems equally possible that finally seeing it opened will be the final check mark on Schnellenberger's career "bucket list," and one more legend will ride off into the Florida sunset.