Dec. 2, 2011
BOCA RATON, FL - On Friday morning, head football coach Howard Schnellenberger participated in his final coach's breakfast atop the FAU program. The proceedings started with his trademark whistle, ended with a loving tribute to his wife and featured many glowing speeches in between.
"Today is a great day for us because we have a football game to play and a football game to win," said Schnellenberger, continuing, "and I have a new career to start here at Florida Atlantic University."
Schnellenberger cautioned that the breakfast was not about him, saying the day was a "tribute to his players" and that he had been "eulogized enough." "I appreciate all of the wonderful things that have been said and have been written."
Assistant head coach Kurt VanValkenburgh and offensive coordinator Darryl Jackson showed game film of Saturday's opponent, ULM. They also introduced several senior players as well as some underclassmen starters.
Following that, many founders and members of the athletic and university staff spoke, as well as Edith Newbold, the mother of senior offensive lineman Chris Newbold. But no one got more of a reaction than Schnellenberger's college quarterback at the University of Kentucky, Bob Hardy.
Hardy regaled the audience with stories of when he and the coach played together, spoke of legendary coaches Bear Bryant, Blanton Collier, and the Kentucky-Tennessee rivalry.
"This weekend, Tennessee got beat by Kentucky for the first time in 26 years," said Hardy. "When (Schnellenberger) and I played at Kentucky, we beat Tennessee three straight years. Never in the history of Kentucky has that ever happened except in 1953, 1954, and 1955, when a lot of people here weren't even born."
In the 1954 game, Schnellenberger caught the winning touchdown pass from Hardy, leading an Atlanta newspaper editor to label the two of them as "The Dixie Duo." It was a short-lived nickname, according to Hardy.
"I wasn't sure if we were a dance team, or football players," he said. "But we both wanted to lead, so we broke that up."
There were many ovations throughout the breakfast, but the last, and possibly loudest, was saved for the final person brought to the podium, Coach Schnellenberger's wife, Beverlee. After giving her thanks, Coach Schnellenberger made sure to remind everyone in attendance to be at FAU Stadium at 4 pm for his final collegiate game as a head coach.