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Former Oklahoma & Miami coach talks SEC dominance, his famous pipe, & texting/driving

Howard SchnellenbergerHoward Schnellenberger is in town to coach Texas in the Texas vs. The Nation football game, that will be played on Saturday afternoon in Allen, Texas. 

The loooooooooooong time NFL assistant and college head coach is retired now, and serves as an ambassador for Florida Atlantic University. I had a chance to catch up with him to talk to him about his time at Oklahoma, the state of the college game now, and something that is close to his heart - trying to prevent people from texting while they drive. 

The Big Mac Blog: Do you miss coaching? 
Howard Schnellenberger: When we were able to get the new stadium built at Florida Atlantic I felt this was the right time for the change. I had been doing it for more than 50 years. I didn't want anything like what happened to Bobby Bowden at Florida State. I haven't had any problems not coaching.

The Big Mac Blog: What is the biggest change you saw in the college game from the time you began to now?
Howard Schnellenberger: The refinements and the improvements in the passing game. I think those teams we had at Miami was a part of the upward swing of the pro style attack. With a solid and extraordinary passing attack you can match up and defeat teams with the better talent. It made the game much more interesting for the fans and brought the college game a new level of acceptance.

Schnellenberger-1The Big Mac Blog: The ESPN documentary about the University of Miami told the story of how you would leave one of your pipes at a recruit's house to give you a reason to contact the player; how many pipes did you have? 
Howard Schnellenberger:
Believe me, I didn't give up many of my pipes. I did it because I thought the kid was close to a decision and that he was special. Over the years I think I had a stash of around 50 pipes. 

The Big Mac Blog: Do you have a preference - college or the pro game?
Howard Schnellenberger:
College football by a long stretch. If you narrowed it down to the college game or the pro football playoffs I would say the pro game beause that is when the professionals are playing at the highest level.

The Big Mac Blog: When I look at your career the one that never seemed to ever fit was you at Oklahoma - did I read that right? You never were a fit for that school?
Howard Schnellenberger:
You are absolutely correct. I wasn't a fit. I was not the favorite to be hired in that position. I had an outsider's look to that program and I tried to do some things there that were not part of the tradition. I was not perceived to be the answer. There were divided interests and divided feelings and I was better off not there.

The Big Mac Blog: What do you think of the new college football playoff coming?
Howard Schnellenberger:
I believe we could have a 64 team playoff and I think it can be done easily. You have to take the control out of the conferences and give it to the NCAA. 

5912732d8e1265a08422981b6736d062.pngThe Big Mac Blog: Are the players in the South, specifically Florida, just that much better and is that why we are seeing the SEC dominate?
Howard Schnellenberger:
It's a different culture. It's a different set of circumstances for the kids there. There is such a greater number of kids per capita playing football in Florida. 

The Big Mac Blog: Why did you get involved with ?
Howard Schnellenberger:
I started it about a year ago. I met a young man who had perfected this new app for phones and he was motivated to do it because he had been affected by someone texting while they were driving. When he told me the statistics about the number of people and damage caused by people texting while they drive I thought we have to do something about this.
The concern is that young people text so much; it's like a conversation. We have to stop this.

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the groundhog

Schnellenberger is a character. Loved him back in the day. He did a ton of amazing coaching. He is an amazing man and a legendary coach. Good article.

Lt. Kendrick

Nice article. I haven't seen Coach in years. He recruited my son to play for him a long while ago. Something most people don't know about him is how serious he is about the people that are loyal to him. My son played for him for 4 years. In return Harold has gone out of his way to help my boy. I don't think I'll ever be prouder of my son's choice to play for coach. He is a wonderful man.

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