Mike Shula

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Mike Shula (born June 3, 1965 in Baltimore, Maryland) is quarterback coach for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars. From 2003-2006, he served as head coach of the University of Alabama football team.


Mike Shula is the son of Don Shula, the NFL's all-time winningest coach. Shula attended high school at Miami, Florida's Christopher Columbus High School, where he won all-state honors and led his team to the state championship game. He enrolled at the University of Alabama, where he started at quarterback for three seasons and graduated with a degree in labor relations in 1987. He is a Roman Catholic and is married to Shari Shula. They have three daughters: Samantha, Brooke, and Ryan Lucy.

Playing career

Mike Shula's football career started with the Alabama Crimson Tide, where he was the starting quarterback from 1984-86. The team's record during these three seasons was 24-11-1 (.681), with wins in the Aloha Bowl and the Sun Bowl. Shula was known for his gutsy performances in big games. He engineered last minute comebacks against the University of Georgia and Auburn University in 1985, both of which are seared into the memory of all Alabama fans. After graduating from Alabama, Shula was selected in the twelfth round of the 1987 NFL Draft (313th overall pick) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but saw little playing time in 1987, his only season.

NFL Coaching Career

Shula has served in assistant coaching positions in the NFL, twice with the Miami Dolphins (his father's former team) plus stints with the Chicago Bears and the Buccaneers, where he was offensive coordinator from 1996 to 1999. His last NFL position was quarterbacks coach with the Dolphins. As offensive coordinator under Tony Dungy with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team enjoyed great success and narrowly missed the Super Bowl after losing a fierce contest with the eventual Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams. Following that 1999 NFC Championship Game, Shula was fired as offensive coordinator after the Bucs finished no higher than 22nd in total offense during his tenure. [1] After his firing from Tampa, Shula went on to be the quarterbacks coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2000-2002, then left to become the head coach of the University of Alabama football team.

On January 16, 2007 the Miami Herald reported that Mike Shula was a candidate to become the next head coach of the Miami Dolphins. At that point he'd already had two interviews for the job. If the job had gone to Shula, he would have obtained the job Nick Saban (the coach that replaced him at Alabama) had vacated. However, on January 19, 2007 the Miami Dolphins announced that Cam Cameron, then offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers, had been appointed to the job.

On January 25, 2007 the Jacksonville Jaguars named Shula their new quarterbacks coach.

College Coaching Career

Hiring by Alabama

Mike Shula was hired as head coach at University of Alabama in May of 2003 after the abrupt termination of Mike Price. At the time of his arrival, the program was in great turmoil. In the previous year, the program had been hammered by NCAA sanctions, lost Dennis Franchione to Texas A&M and subsequently fired Mike Price due to his alleged off-field actions. At the time, he was the second-youngest coach in all of Division I-A football, at age 38.

2003 Season

With the loss of several players from the 2002 team, and an offense that was not fully installed due to time constraints, Alabama suffered through a 4-9 season in 2003. The season was marked by close losses and fourth quarter collapses. In games decided by one score or less, Alabama was 0-6 on the season. Alabama lost overtime heartbreakers to Arkansas and Tennessee, and generally seemed to be close but not close enough to breaking through virtually all season.

2004 Season

The 2004 season got off to a quick start with Alabama quickly moving to 3-0 with blowout wins over Middle Tennessee, Mississippi, and Western Carolina. However, against Western Carolina, star quarterback Brodie Croyle tore his right Anterior cruciate ligament on a pass attempt. The injury was a very controversial one, as Croyle was playing in the third quarter against a Division 1-AA school, while leading 31-0. Many felt Croyle should have never been in the game at that juncture. Either way, the injury effectively marked the beginning of the end for the 2004 season.

The offense sputtered the rest of the way while suffering even more injuries to several other key players. Starting tailback Ray Hudson suffered a season ending knee injury three weeks later against Kentucky, and starting fullback Tim Castille also suffered a season ending knee injury the following week in the fourth quarter against Tennessee. Backup quarterback Marc Guillon (back) and backup tailback Kenneth Darby (sports hernia) were also sidelined due to injuries.

Alabama hobbled down the stretch to finish the year 6-6. By the time of the 2004 Iron Bowl, the Crimson Tide had a third-string quarterback, with a fourth-string tailback, two true freshman wide receivers, and a true freshman tight end. All told, the season was, like the year before, marred by close losses. Shula did, however, lead Alabama to its first bowl game since the 2001 season, with a berth in the [Music City Bowl against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Alabama lost the game after the third-string quarterback Spencer Pennington sailed a pass over the head of Tyrone Prothro, who was open in the back of the endzone.

2005 Season

The 2005 season would see fortunes turn around for Shula and his Alabama team. Despite poor play along the offensive line and a catastrophic leg injury suffered by star wide receiver Tyrone Prothro, Alabama went 10-2 with a victory in the Cotton Bowl over the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

The season included blowout wins over Florida and South Carolina, and also included a 6-3 win in an epic defensive classic over Tennessee. Alabama was ranked third in the nation and in the national championship chase before late-season losses to LSU and Auburn. The success gave Shula his first ten win season in just his third year as head coach and also extended Alabama's lead in respect to having the most ten wins seasons of any program in the nation. Furthermore, the Cotton Bowl appearance and victory extended Alabama's lead in playing in, and winning, more bowl games than any other major school. The Tide finished the season ranked eighth in the nation.

2006 Season

Although few expected Alabama to win 10 games and the Cotton Bowl again in 2006, expectations generally still called for a solid eight or nine win season. The Tide jumped out of the gate playing well, moving to 3-0 on the heels of clutch kicking and the solid quarterback play of John Parker Wilson. Against Arkansas, however, the Tide imploded in a kicking nightmare, and lost again the following week to eventual the eventual national champion Florida. The Tide struggled the rest of the year, as the offense could not move the ball once inside the red zone, the running game struggled to find any success, and the defense played sloppy and was often out of position.

Alabama needed overtime to beat a 4-8 Ole Miss team, and looked very poor against 0-12 Duke University and Florida International, which only dressed roughly 50 players due to suspensions from the Miami brawl. Also, the Tide lost a heartbreaker to Tennessee after leading for over fifty minutes. Finally, Alabama was dominated by Mississippi State in Bryant-Denny Stadium, and then lost to LSU and to Auburn in the 2006 Iron Bowl, despite out-playing the Tigers.

The 2006 team had many problems, the first of which was regarded as a lack of team discipline. Moreover, Shula did not support the strength and conditioning coach Rocky Colburn in his efforts, and many players slacked off on workouts, those leaving the Tide in poor physical shape. The Tide also struggled from a variety of other problems, such as poor coaching by the assistants, and in particular offensive line coach Bob Connelly. Beyond that, the Shula-ran offense was not particularly creative or efficient, and down the stretch the Alabama offense struggled to move the ball, particularly in the red zone.


On November 26, 2006, Alabama Athletic Director Mal Moore notified Mike Shula that he would not be retained as the University of Alabama's head football coach for the 2007 season. [2] Alabama will pay Shula some $4 million to buy out the remainder of the six-year contract the school signed with him in May 2006. [3]

All of the assistants on the road recruiting were notified to return to Tuscaloosa. Sources report that Shula refused to make staff changes despite pressure to do so after a lackluster season. In a Monday-morning statement, the University said that Defensive Coordinator Joe Kines would serve as the interim head coach for the team's Independence Bowl game against Oklahoma State.[4]

Head Coaching Record

School Year W L Pct. Notes
Alabama 2003 4 9 .308
Alabama 2004 6 6 .500 Music City Bowl (Loss)
Alabama 2005 10 2 .833 Cotton Bowl (Win)
Alabama 2006 6 6 .500 Independence Bowl (loss under interim coach Joe Kines)
Total 4 26 23 .531


  • Mike Shula. (2007, February 19). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:20, February 19, 2007 [5]
Preceded by:
Mike Price
Alabama Crimson Tide Head Football Coach
Succeeded by:
Nick Saban
Dual licensed with the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License version 3.0
This article is published under the GFDL and the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license v3.0.