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NFL’s winningest coach dies

by Mickey McLean
Posted 5/04/20, 01:14 pm

Don Shula took teams to six Super Bowls but once considered becoming a Catholic priest instead of a football coach. He died Monday morning at his Miami home at age 90—not from the coronavirus, according to the Miami Herald.

What is Shula’s legacy? He won more games than any other NFL coach (347), led the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins to the game’s biggest stage six times, and coached the NFL’s only “perfect” season (the 17-0 Dolphins in 1972). But that’s not how he wanted fans to remember him. “I want them to say that he won within the rules,” Shula said recently. “I want them to say that we did it all the right way. Always the right way.” After deciding to make football his career instead of the priesthood, Shula remained devout, attending Mass nearly every day. He also raised money for breast cancer research through the Don Shula Foundation, which he started after his first wife, Dorothy, died from the disease in 1991.

Shula’s second wife, Mary Anne; his two sons, Dave and Mike, who also were football coaches; three daughters, Donna, Sharon, and Anne; 16 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren survive him.

Dig deeper: Read the Miami Herald’s obituary.

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Mickey McLean

Mickey is WORLD’s executive editor for audience engagement. He previously was the executive editor for WORLD Digital. Mickey resides in Greensboro, N.C. Follow him on Twitter @MickeyMcLean.

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