Ex-Sooners coach led Owls to I-AA semifinals

Updated: February 1, 2004, 5:09 PM ET
Associated Press

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Florida Atlantic has given former Oklahoma coach Howard Schnellenberger a two-year contract extension after leading the Owls to the Division I-AA semifinals.

Schnellenberger is now under contract through the 2009 season. The extension includes an option for two more years.

Schnellenberger came out of retirement in 1998 to build the Florida Atlantic program from scratch.

In their third season, the Owls went 11-2 before losing to Colgate in the Division I-AA playoffs. It was the first time in NCAA history a team that young had made it that far.

The Owls are moving to Division I-A this season and joining the Sun Belt Conference.

"As president, an alumnus and a football fan, I could not be happier with this contract extension," school president Frank Brogan said. "Not only has coach Schnellenberger earned it, but this will give us the stability necessary as we take the football program to the next level."

Schnellenberger was an assistant coach for Paul "Bear" Bryant at Alabama for five years before moving to the NFL.

He was an assistant coach with the Rams, Colts and Dolphins before taking the head coaching job at the University of Miami. He led the Hurricanes to their first national title in 1983.

Schnellenberger then coached at Louisville for 10 years and spent one year at Oklahoma before retiring after the 1995 season.

Schnellenberger is 17-18 in three seasons at Florida Atlantic and 117-95-3 in 19 collegiate seasons.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press