YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The winningest coach in NFL history passed away Monday at the age of 90. Don Shula coached for 33 years in the NFL, recorded 347 career wins, and coached the only perfect season in NFL history with the 1972 Dolphins.
But did you know most of Shula’s legacy started in northeast Ohio? From high school, to college, to the NFL, Shula has deep connections to Cleveland.
Shula was born in Grand River, a small village in Lake County Ohio. He played high school football at Painesville Harvey, and was an 11-time letterman for the Red Raiders.
He continued playing football under scholarship at John Carroll University outside of Cleveland. Shula played for the Blue Streaks from 1948-1950, and broke a school record by averaging 6.6 yards per carry. He also led JCU to a win over Youngstown State his freshman season. Shula rushed for 175 yards and scored twice in the 13-6 victory over the Penguins.
The football stadium at John Carroll is currently named in his honor, and he endowed the Don Shula Chair in Philosophy.
Shula was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the ninth round of the 1951 NFL Draft. He played in all 12 games his rookie season, recorded 4 interceptions and helped lead the Browns to an (11-1) record and an appearance in the championship game.