Dartmouth Football Hires Former NFL Head Coach David Shula as Assistant 

  • Cincinnati Bengals head coach Dave Shula watches practice with quarterback Boomer Esiason during the NFL team's mini-camp in Cincinnati on April 10, 1992. Shula, the son of Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula, is the youngest head coach in the league at age 32. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

  • Cincinnati Bengals head coach David Shula -- also a Dartmouth College graduate -- speaks during a symposium in Hanover, N.H., on April 21, 1993. (Valley News - Robert Pope) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Robert Pope

  • Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula confers with his son David, coach of receivers and quarterbacks during the team?s practice at Miami training camp on Friday, Jan. 10, 1986 in Miami, Florida. The Dolphins face the New England Patriots on Sunday in the AFC championship game. (AP Photo/Raul De Molina) Raul De Molina

  • A sign on the office for David Shula, the former NFL bench boss who has agreed to guide Dartmouth football receivers for head coach Buddy Teevens, is seen on Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Hanover, N.H. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 3/29/2018 9:59:48 AM
Modified: 3/30/2018 12:11:38 AM

Hanover — It’s not normally big news when Dartmouth College hires a football assistant coach. Until that person is former NFL bench boss David Shula, who has agreed to guide the Big Green’s receivers for head coach Buddy Teevens, a close personal friend. 

Shula’s name plate is adjacent to his office door and he was seen inside it this morning working with other Dartmouth assistants. A Shula interview request put to Joey McIntyre, the Big Green’s director of football operations, relations and external affairs, was denied. McIntyre said Shula is not authorized to speak publicly until his formal hiring paperwork is approved by the college.

Shula is the oldest of five children of the legendary Don Shula, who coached the NFL’s Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins and was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame after winning a league-best 347 games. David Shula coached that league’s Cincinnati Bengals from 1992-96 and previously worked for the Dallas Cowboys and under his father with the Dolphins, with whom he became the youngest assistant in NFL history at 23. 

David Shula turned down a Florida State football scholarship to attend Dartmouth, where he twice earned All-Ivy honors at receiver. Capable of running the 40-yard dash in only 4.9 seconds, he ran junior varsity track in an attempt to increase his speed. Following his 1981 graduation, Shula joined the Colts and made his lone appearance in an NFL game later that year.

After being released, Shula attended a semester of law school at the University of Baltimore, where a television magazine show’s cameras documented his first days. Home on a break, Shula joined his father’s Dolphins staff with a game remaining in the 1982 regular season schedule. Miami reached the Super Bowl a few weeks later.

Like Teevens, Shula was a history major and Beta Theta Pi fraternity brother at Dartmouth. He was one of the youngest head coaches in the NFL’s modern era when he was hired at 32, a year younger than Don Shula had been when he took over the Colts in 1963. The son, however, lost 50 games faster than any coach in league history (71 games) and finished with a record of 19-52. 

Cincinnati owner Mike Brown, himself a former Dartmouth player, fired Shula seven games into the 1996 campaign, leaving him with the third-worst winning percentage (.268) in NFL history. The team for which Shula coached were a combined 104-128 during his 15-year pro career.

“I could have done a better job of holding people more accountable to earn more respect,” Shula told the Cincinnati Enquirer last year, noting however, that the Bengals struggled long after his departure. “Over a five-year period they didn’t show much growth if any … So it kind of evened out over a period of time where I didn’t feel quite as bad.

“You realize that maybe it wasn’t all me. Certainly, I had a role in it, but you can’t blame everything on me, either.”

Shula has helped manage and served as a “brand manager” for his family’s eponymous restaurants since leaving the Bengals. The company’s website lists more than 20 locations in eight states. Florida is the primary location, with 17.

Shula’s son, Dan, played quarterback at Dartmouth from 2002-05, appearing in 13 games before becoming a college assistant and eventually moving into his current career with a sporting goods manufacturer. Another son, Chris, is an assistant linebackers coach with the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams last season. Mike Shula, David’s brother, is the offensive coordinator for the NFL’s New York Giants.

Teevens and David Shula played together on Dartmouth’s 1978 Ivy League title team. In 2007, Teevens biked across much of the country, raising money for breast cancer research as he went. He talked Shula, whose mother died of the disease in 1991, into accompanying him for roughly half of the trip, which began in San Diego.

The Dartmouth position Shula is taking opened earlier this year when Jerry Taylor departed to coach at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. Taylor joined the Big Green in 2014 as a part-time assistant before being promoted to receivers coach the next year. After playing one season at Bowie (Md.) State, Taylor had stops at Virginia State and St. Francis (Penn.) University before arriving in Hanover.

Dartmouth, which was 8-2 overall and 5-2 in Ivy League play last season, begins spring practice April 10 and concludes it May 5.

Posted Thursday at 10 a.m. Updated at 10:50 a.m. This post will be updated. Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com or 603-727-3227.

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