After four seasons and a 26-23 overall record as the Crimson Tide’s head coach, Mike Shula found himself looking for a job. He was terminated by the University of Alabama administrators after finishing the ’06 campaign with a 6-6 record. However, with the skills, abilities and experience amassed throughout his career it didn’t take long for Mike Shula to find a position. The Jacksonville Jaguars acquired his services as quarterbacks coach for the NFL franchise, while the Tide hired Nick Saban in January of ’07 making him their fourth head coach in six years.
Shula had a nearly impossible job replacing a scandalized Mike Price in May of 2003. Throughout his tenure, Alabama was mired in NCAA sanctions that among other penalties, limited the amount of scholarships available for Shula in recruiting. The ’07 season will be the first year Alabama will be clear of NCAA penalties.
Shula made great strides in returning stability and leadership to the program. In 2005 he was named the ’05 Region Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association and brought the Tide back to the elite of College football. He had his team ranked as high as third nationally in ’05 while collecting victories over then fifth ranked Florida and 17th ranked Tennessee. The win over the Gators was the first Tide victory over a top five team in Bryant-Denny Stadium and the win over Tennessee was the first over the Vols in Tuscaloosa since 1930. Bama’s resurgence under Shula resulted in a number eight finish in the final ranking by both the AP and USA Today Coaches’ Poll.
Bama finished the ’05 season 10-2 with a 13-10 win over Texas Tech in the AT&T Cotton Bowl. It was an NCAA record 28th time that the Crimson Tide had won 10 or more games in a season.
The ’06 season proved to be a difficult one with a number of close losses. Shula was a combined 0-8 against LSU and Auburn during his tenure and is the only Tide coach to lose four straight to Auburn. Something Bama faithful could not stomach.
In Shula’s six paragraph statement after his termination, he was “deeply disappointed” but was complimentary of the University and his players. He handled his dismissal with class and dignity adding the 10 win season, “was no fluke, it was evidence of a program on the rise” and Shula concluded his comments with the classic, “roll Tide.”
Aside from his four years as head man at Alabama, Shula has 14 years experience in the NFL, which includes three seasons as quarterback coach for the Miami Dolphins from 2000-02 under Dave Wannstedt. It was Shula’s second stint with Miami as he spent two seasons ’91-‘92 as a Dolphins coaching assistant. Shula served four seasons as offensive coordinator with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from ’96-’99 under head coach Tony Dungy. The buccaneers qualified for the playoffs in two of Shula’s four seasons and in ’99 won the NFC Central Division and reached the NFC Championship game.
Shula began his NFL coaching career as an offensive assistant for the Buccaneers from ’88-89 and spent the ’90 season as quarterbacks coach. He also spent time as tight ends coach for the Chicago Bears under Wannstedt from ’93-’95.
Shula was a three-year letterman, ’84-’86 at quarterback for Alabama and finished his career with a 32-15-1 record as a starter. He was a 12th round pick of Tampa Bay in ’87 and remained on the roster for part of the ’87 season. He earned his bachelor’s degree in labor relations in ’87. He is the son of former Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history and brother of former Cincinnati Bengals head coach Dave Shula.
The interview with Mike Shula as featured on “Head Coach” took place during the 2006 Season. The episode documents who he is as a person and provides a glimpse at Mike Shula, the man. Coach Shula nows serves as the quarterback coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars