FORT MYERS, Fla. (April 15, 2015) - The Fort Myers Miracle are pleased to welcome former University of Miami football coach Howard Schnellenberger to Hammond Stadium at the CenturyLink Sports Complex to greet fans, throw out a first pitch and promote his book "Passing The Torch: Building Winning Football Programs… with a Dose of Swagger Along the Way."
Schnellenberger will meet fans and sign autographs after throwing a ceremonial first pitch prior to a 6:05 p.m. start against the St. Lucie Mets. He will be joined by former Hurricane player Albert Bentley. A Naples, Fla. native, Bentley graduated from Immokalee High School in 1979 and played under Schnellenberger at Miami on the 1983 National Championship team.
Born in St. Meinrad, Indiana, Schnellenberger played collegiate football at the University of Kentucky as a defensive end from 1952-56, but soon moved into coaching for the Wildcats. Under the legendary Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama in 1961, Schellenberger was the offensive coordinator for a Crimson Tide program that won NCAA National Championships in 1961, 1964 and 1965. Schnellenberger was instrumental in recruiting Joe Namath to play for Alabama.
Schnellenberger left the college ranks to join coaching staffs in the National Football League for seven seasons, including a stint as the offensive coordinator for the perfect season 1972 Miami Dolphins. Schnellenberger's first head coaching job was in the NFL for the Baltimore Colts in 1973. He was at the helm of the Colts for three years before returning to the Dolphins from 1975-78 as the offensive coordinator.
In 1979, Schnellenberger was brought to the Hurricanes, a struggling football program at the time. Developing a pro style passing game, Schnellenberger turned Miami into a powerhouse and coached the Hurricanes to a National Championship in 1983. Miami defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Orange Bowl.
Bentley scored the winning touchdown for Schnellenberger in the Orange Bowl and went on to play eight seasons in the NFL, seven with the Indianapolis Colts.
Moving on to coach the University Louisville in 1985, Schnellenberger revived another dormant program. In 10 years, Schnellenberger guided the Cardinals to a pair of bowl game wins including a win over Alabama in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl.
After one season at the University of Oklahoma in 1995, Schnellenberger returned to the NCAA scene in 1998 as the Director of Football Operations at Florida Atlantic University and was in charge of building the football program. In 2011, Schnellenberger retired from his position with FAU after 11 seasons.
April 18 is also the first Dog Daze of Summer. Fans will be allowed to bring their pups to the park and dogs get free! It's also a SINK or SWIM Saturday featuring a deal for $16 that includes a general admission ticket and All You Can Drink wristband. The wristband gets you unlimited small domestic draft beers through the sixth inning.
Schnellenberger will be available to the media at 5:15 p.m. Please direct all media inquiries to Bill Levy at (239) 768-4210 or [email protected]. For more information or to order tickets, call (239) 768-4210 or visit www.miraclebaseball.com.