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October 10, 2007

Question from Timothy
Hello Coach!
Congrats to everyone involved for the amazing game Saturday! For one day I finally felt like I lived in a college town and that the people around me were united as one Owl Country.

I am actually writing to turn your attention to an article written in the University Press, FAU's student newspaper. It's called "Renewed Spirit Uncovers the True Fan" and it's about what your football team gave to one student.

The article is here:

Article Reprint:
Renewed Spirit Uncovers the True Fan
There's more to college football than meets the eye
By: Andrew Imber, UP Staff Writer Issue date: 10/2/07
This weekend, it finally happened.

No the Owls didn't quite beat a top ten nationally ranked team, and no, gas prices didn't finally go down. This weekend, I finally had my awakening as to what college football is all about.

I must admit, before this weekend I just didn't understand the craze. Why do millions of people care about a game played by 18 to 22-year-olds, when professionals play the same game every week? Why do people paint their bodies in school colors and scream their lungs out until all that's left is nothing more than a faint squeaking sound?

Simply put, attending my first college football game answered all those questions and more. There's just something so captivating about watching your school fight on every play. The biggest difference between the collegiate and professional level is that these guys on the field aren't just players signed to huge contracts to represent your state. These are your friends, your classmates and students who have dedicated days, weeks, months and years to what they do. You can't help but swell with pride towards them.

So even as I watched the Owls, my Owls, come up just short against the sixth ranked team in the country this Saturday, I don't think I could have been more proud even in victory. I remembered the week before when I saw Tavious Polo in my Psychology class, and Rusty Smith in the Breezeway. These aren't just people representing my city or state. These are my fellow classmates, preparing for their futures in the same place that I do.

In some ways, I now think that college football soars over its professional counterpart. No overpaid players with inflated egos who will leave a team for more money elsewhere and nobody holding out until they get two million dollars more on their signing bonus. These are just young men, with pride in their school, leaving every bit of energy out on the field in jubilant victory or hard fought defeat.

To me, waking up the next day after a game without a voice isn't a choice anymore - it's a responsibility.

As someone who attended the game on Saturday, I can tell you without hesitation that there were thousands of Andrew Imbers in that crowd. We all felt the way he did.

Go Owls! Bring us our Sun Belt title!

Response from Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger
Thank you for forwarding Andrew’s letter to us. I’m so thrilled that one of our students had such an epiphany and sent his thoughts to the paper. I can only believe he represents hundreds -- if not thousands -- of students, faculty, staff and alumni. In order for us to repeat those kinds of games on a regular basis we need to play on campus in a spot that will be the most sensitive to true school spirit.

Question from John
Have you stayed in contact with many of your teammates at UK? (Bob Hardy, Dude Hennessey, Bradley Mills, J.T. Frankenberger, Dave Kuhn ... to name a few.) I hooked up recently with Woody Herzog & Bill Livings. Woody and I are taking in the UK-UF game on the 20th in Lexington.

P.S. My sister, Linda Martin has a grand daughter, Amber Barton playing for the Owls girl's softball team.

I have a 10th grade, 15 year old grandson, David (6'2" 300 lb lineman) playing for football for the Cumberland Gap High School team in Harrogate, Tennessee (3 miles from Middleboro, Ky.) They have a few senior players that might fit into FAC program, especially, a real sleeper) their QB, Adam Nelson (6' 7" 200 lbs) Has passing skills and agility similar to Tim Couch's when he was in high school. The team has gotten off to a 5 & 0 start, outclassing most of their opponents.

Response from Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger
The fact that I am the coach at Florida Atlantic University and have been coaching all these years, I -- more than anyone -- have been able to keep up with the teammates because they know where to find me.

Bob Hardy and Dave Kuhn live some five minutes from Beverlee and I in Boynton Beach. I didn’t know they lived here until I joined FAU’s team. I saw Dr. Bill Wheeler at our Friday practice before the game at Kentucky in Lexington. Bill Livings has been coaching at Vero Beach High School for some 30 years and retired last year. I recruited one of his players. While in Lexington for our game with Kentucky Barney Bennett stopped by the hotel to see me. He has been living in Virginia. Dude Hennessey is in Tuscaloosa where he has lived the last 40 years and doing well.

I will make a special point to see Amber Barton pitch and will look for her to throw her first no-hitter. She has a great coach in the legendary Joan Joyce.

Feel free to let me know if you need information on others.

Question from Rob
Hey Coach,
I have always admired your success. Recently I read a book about the Bear and was fascinated to learn that you coached under him. After learning this I have often wondered why you did not Coach for “Bama”. It would have been nice if you coached for “Bama” instead of going to Louisville. Thanks and good luck with the Owls.

Response from Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger
I certainly appreciate your thoughts on my coaching ability. There was a time when I was close to taking a job at Alabama. But, the Lord works in mysterious ways and it was much better for me to go back to my hometown as Bryant went back to his. The effect we had on the team in Louisville probably would not have happened at Alabama.

Question from Dan
Can we get a game against UM for Homecoming one year? It's obvious that Homecoming is a big deal and that playing a big name team from Florida will attract a lot of people to create a true college football experience. I had so much fun at the USF game and I think we could take down UM in the coming years.

Response from Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger
Your right! That’s a high priority on my list. We are in conversations with them. It now appears we will have a game in the next five years.

Question from John
Hey Coach,
AMAZING game against USF. I've never been prouder of our games. I've also never been to a football game as energized and packed as it was. I hope everyone in the BOT saw what it could be like on campus in less than four years.

Wondering what the fate is for Mr. Warley Leroy. I'm also wondering why he was put in to kick three times after missing his first shot, let alone his second shot. Did we not have anybody who could make it happen?

I hope this gets ironed out by the time we march into the Swamp because these FG's may seal the deal for us.

Response from Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger
I will answer your second question first. Warley Leroy came in with a conference leading 80% field goal percentage from the same or equal distance. Those things happen. The second time I questioned if there was a problem. In my experience, when a player misses one or two field goals you have to hive him the third. The last was a chip shot, it gave him his confidence back and us three points. He will continue to be our no. 1 field goal kicker.

To your first point, you are right. All the events of last Saturday were vivid examples of what it will be like on campus in 2010 or earlier.

Thank you for your part. With fans like you success is enviable.

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