Legendary NFL head coach Don Shula passed away on Monday morning, at the age of 90.
But while Shula is best remembered for his time with the Miami Dolphins, who he coached from 1970-1995 and won two Super Bowls, the NFL's all-time winningest coach started his football journey in Northeast Ohio. Born in Grand River, Ohio, Shula grew up in Painesville, where he attended Harvey High School before spending his college career at John Carroll University. On Monday evening, JCU will shine the lights at Don Shula Stadium from 7-10 p.m. as a tribute to the former defensive back and running back. The flags on campus will also be lowered later this afternoon.
"Today, we mourn the loss of one of the finest coaches in the history of football, Don Shula, a member of the Class of 1951," John Carroll president Dr. Michael D. Johnson said in a statement on Monday.
"He will be remembered by most for his Hall of Fame NFL coaching career. But his impact on our community cannot be overlooked. He set a high standard for future JCU alumni looking to play, coach, or work in the NFL. Today, Don Shula Stadium and the Shula Chair in Philosophy stand as clear reminders of the man who never forgot his roots.
"Our condolences go out to his family, along with the thanks of a community grateful for his generosity and example."
After graduating from JCU, Shula was selected in the ninth round of the 1951 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, with whom he spent the first two seasons of his seven-year playing career with, recording four interceptions in his rookie season. On Monday, the Browns posted an online photo gallery remembering Shula's time with the team and legendary coaching career.
"Much like the entire football community, we are mourning the loss of Don Shula," the Browns said in an official statement. "Well before he became known as the legendary Coach Shula, he was growing up in Northeast Ohio with a passion for the game we all love. We're proud of the fact that his football foundation was built in Ohio, starting at Harvey High School in Painesville, playing collegiately at John Carroll and then being drafted by the Browns. Coach Shula's contribution to our game are unmatched. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the entire Shula Family."