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Don Shula passes at 90

Don Shula

MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 16: Don Shula, Coach of the Miami Dolphins during the pre-game warm-ups of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Colts in the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, December 16, 1972. The Dolphins defeated the Colts 16-0 in the final game of their regular season which led to their 17-0 undefeated season with their win against the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII. (Photo by Ross Lewis/Getty Images)

Ross Lewis

Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history, has died. He was 90.

“Don Shula was the patriarch of the Miami Dolphins for 50 years,” the team said in a statement confirming Shula’s passing. “He brought the winning edge to our franchise and put the Dolphins and the city of Miami on the national sports scene. Our deepest thoughts and prayers go out to Mary Anne along with his children, Dave, Donna, Sharon, Anne and Mike.”

A ninth-round pick out of John Carroll in 1951, Shula played defensive back for the Browns, Colts, and Washington through 1957.

He returned to the NFL in 1960, as the Lions’ defensive coordinator. Three seasons later, the Colts hired Shula to serve as head coach.

After the 1969 season, Shula signed to coach the Dolphins, with Miami giving up a first-round pick after the Colts charged Miami with tampering. It was nevertheless a great investment; the Dolphins went to the Super Bowl to cap the 1971 season (losing to the Cowboys), crafted the NFL’s only 17-0 season in 1972, and won another Super Bowl the next year.

The Hall of Famer remained the head coach in Miami through 1995, winning the coach of the year award four times. Shula finished with 328 regular-season wins and 19 playoff victories. His regular-season winning percentage translates to a victory rate of more than two out of every three games played.

We extend our condolences to Coach Shula’s family, friends, and colleagues.