Florida Atlantic University
In the early years Schnellenberger helped raise money to build the $15 million Tom Oxley Athletic Center that would be the home to the Owls’ football program and other athletic programs.
Selling just a dream, Schnellenberger signed his first recruiting class in February 2000 and that fall the Owls practiced and played a series of scrimmages.
In 2001, the Owls finally took the field for their historic inaugural game on Sept. 1 vs. Slippery Rock at Pro
Player Stadium. The Owls lost the game 40-7, but 25,632 fans saw history. FAU defeated Bethune-Cookman the next week for its first victory.
FAU began the 2003 season by making some more history as the I-AA Owls defeated I-A Middle Tennessee State on the final play of the game in just the program’s 22nd game. FAU went on to advance to the Division I-AA semifinals that season before falling to Colgate at Lockhart Stadium shortly after announcing FAU was moving to I-A and joining the Sun Belt Conference.
Once in the Sun Belt, FAU made its presence known quickly. After defeating Minnesota in September, the Owls defeated Troy in the regular-season finale to win the conference championship and a berth in the New Orleans Bowl, the quickest a program had advanced to a bowl game after moving to I-A. FAU defeated Memphis in the New Orleans Bowl and also won the Motor City Bowl the next season by defeating Central Michigan.
But the biggest accomplishment for Schnellenberger at FAU didn’t come until 2011, after he announced before the season started that he would be stepping down as the Owls’ coach at the end of that season.
On Oct. 15, 2011, after more than a decade of planning and fund-raising, FAU Stadium opened and the first college football game on FAU’s Boca Raton campus was played in front of a near sell-out crowd of 29,103.
The stadium was the site of Schnellenberger’s coaching career of more than 50 years came to an end on Dec. 4 when FAU lost to ULM 26-0, but Schnellenberger’s memory will live on in every game played at “The House That Howard Built.”
2003: 11-3 (Advanced to Division I-AA Semifinals)
2007: 8-5 (Sun Belt Champions, Defeated Memphis in New Orleans Bowl)
2008: 7-6 (Defeated Central Michigan in Motor City Bowl)