Dave Shula coaching again, 22 years after the Bengals fired him

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In four and a half seasons as head coach of the Bengals, Dave Shula went 19-52 and became known as a failure who managed to get a head-coaching job only because his father is Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history. After he was fired in 1996, Shula never coached again.

Until now: Shula has just started a new job as the wide receivers coach at Dartmouth.

Shula says he can now look back at his coaching career in Cincinnati and say he wasn’t so bad. After all, the Bengals had six straight losing seasons under Bruce Coslet and Dick LeBeau after firing Shula, and even though they’ve been better since hiring Marvin Lewis, they still haven’t won a playoff game since 1990.

“With 20 years perspective looking back, you realize that maybe it wasn’t all me,” Shula told the Miami Herald. “Certainly I had a role in it, but you can’t blame everything on me, either.”

Dave has spent the last two decades as president of the family’s Shula restaurant company, but now he wants to get into the other family business. Wide receivers coach at Dartmouth is a far cry from head coach in the NFL, but Shula is back doing what he loves.

38 responses to “Dave Shula coaching again, 22 years after the Bengals fired him

  1. Has he been in rehab the last 22 years? What has he been doing all this time? Talk about gently easing back into the profession, WR coach at an Ivy League school! Don’t they all run the triple option in that league? One or two passes a game? Tough work being the WR coach I guess.

  2. Shula started that first season 2-0 and it looked like he was going to be 3-0… and then Brett Favre happened.

    At the time, there was legitimate talk that the guy was going to be the best of the rookie head coach class that year- one that included Cowher, Holmgren & Denny Green.

    The poor guy only won three games the rest of the year. I am surprised it took him this long to get back in to coaching. Good luck to him.

  3. The Bengals didn’t make Dave Shula stink. He did that on his own. The Bengals were awful because they waited way too long to fire this guy. He set the record for fastest to 50 losses because Mike kept him so long. Then Coslet had to quit because Mike Brown didn’t want to fire him despite his 21-39 record. Now Marvin Lewis has a contract through his 17th year while being mediocre in reg season and setting numerous records for playoff futility.

    Detect a trend here? Mike Brown keeps coaches WAY too long. This goes for coordinators (Bob Bratkowski – 10 years), position coaches (Paul Alexander 23 years), FO positions (his family) and especially GM (himself).

  4. I got offered an ‘academic’ scholarship to play baseball at Dartmouth. I know I was smart enough (GPA) but my SAT’s (which I didn’t take seriously nor cared about) suggested otherwise because I already had a free ride to a school in Florida.

    Dartmouth admissions would have used my application (which I didn’t even have to fill out) to wipe the floor if I couldn’t throw a baseball. (like I wanted to pitch in snow, anyway…career killer).

    I’ve never looked at an Ivy League school the same since. Who you know, how much money you have, sport you play or some demographic they need.

    You’re better off going to CMU, Rice, Johns Hopkins, Georgia Tech etc. Not that they don’t do it too but at least the snob BS is out the window.

  5. sonscompass says:
    April 3, 2018 at 9:20 am

    The Bengals didn’t make Dave Shula stink. He did that on his own. The Bengals were awful because they waited way too long to fire this guy. He set the record for fastest to 50 losses because Mike kept him so long. Then Coslet had to quit because Mike Brown didn’t want to fire him despite his 21-39 record. Now Marvin Lewis has a contract through his 17th year while being mediocre in reg season and setting numerous records for playoff futility.

    Detect a trend here? Mike Brown keeps coaches WAY too long. This goes for coordinators (Bob Bratkowski – 10 years), position coaches (Paul Alexander 23 years), FO positions (his family) and especially GM (himself).

    —–

    Dilly Dilly

  6. waynefontesismyfather says:
    April 3, 2018 at 9:07 am
    Has he been in rehab the last 22 years? What has he been doing all this time? Talk about gently easing back into the profession, WR coach at an Ivy League school! Don’t they all run the triple option in that league? One or two passes a game? Tough work being the WR coach I guess.

    If you had read the article, you would have seen he has been running the Shula restaurant chain. As for Ivy League teams throwing “one or two passes a game,” Dartmouth senior Jack Heneghan threw for 2136 yards last season (17 TDS, 6 INT) and finished his career with 4900 yards passing in two full seasons.
    Dartmouth alum Jay Fiedler had a 10-year career in the NFL, and oh by the way, Harvard grad Ryan Fitzgerald has played 14 years in the NFL, and this year, QB Brevin White — a four-star prospect according to Rivals — committed to Princeton, choosing the Tigers over Arizona State, Oregon State, Tennessee, Utah and Alabama.

  7. “Has he been in rehab the last 22 years? What has he been doing all this time?”

    Um, it says clearly in the article that he’s been running the family restaurant business during that time.

    Reading comprehension, get some.

  8. I’m surprised Millen/Mayhew couldn’t persuade him to coach the Lions during the Dark Ages.

  9. The coaches aren’t the problem. Go back and take a look at when Mike Brown took over the team and you’ll notice they have been a joke ever since. Too bad you can’t fire a worthless owner.

  10. Shula – the very name is overrated. How could ANY coach who had Dan Marino (top 5, top 7 all time??) as their QB only play in ONE Superbowl? It boggles the mind.

  11. dave shula sucked. well then again, the kittens still suck, so…..

    bengals will never win the big game, FOREVER!!!!!!!

  12. “Certainly I had a role in it, but you can’t blame everything on me, either.”
    _______________________

    That is 100% true. We als can’t blame yo for your father not winning a SB with Dan Marino.
    That is 100% on your crotchety old father

    #donshulaiseternallyoverrated

  13. Shula has the same number of playoff wins as Marvin but he only had 4 1/2 years. Marvin has had 15.

    ====

    At least Lewis has gotten them to the playoffs though

  14. blame it on the coach.. There is a reason most successful coaches handle the personnel side too.. BAD GM’s can kill a coaching career

  15. the early nineties was a ruff time in the NFL.. by that i mean there was a couple Teams dominating after Free Agency became a thing and the “Salary Cap” wasnt in full affect

  16. Let’s be honest, at any level he could not possibly be any worse of a coach than Mike Tomlin….and he probably would never attempt to trip an opposing player either

  17. viperstournaments says:
    April 3, 2018 at 1:03 pm
    Dartmouth has a football team?
    ————————————————————-

    Yes. The Big Green has won 18 Ivy League Conference Championships, has 13 former players inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, and has seen over 20 grads play in the NFL (including linebacker Reggie Williams and a kicker you may remember … Nick Lowery).

  18. David Shula is awful. When Jimmy Johnson left Miami to rebuilt the Dallas Cowboys, he wanted to take Dave Wannstedt, his best friend, as his defensive coordinator. Wannstedt had just left the U to take the DC job with the Dolphins. In order to get Don Shula to let Wannstedt go, Don Shula forced Jimmy to take David Shula as his OC. He was awful. Jimmy fired him after two years and replaced him with Norv Turner. The rest is history. Don Shula has hated Jimmy ever since, a feeling that was only reinforced when Jimmy replaced Don Shula as HC of the Dolphins years later.

  19. I love everyone on here belittling David Shula.

    He just spent 20 years helping spearhead the phenomenal growth of the Shula’s brand to include 6 different concepts and hundreds of locations. He’s earned a fortune in business and now is getting back into coaching because he loves it and has more money than he can spend.

    I’m sure you’ve all accomplished far more than that in your lives, though.

  20. I wish David Shula well. Hopefully he’s learned from his mistakes. That said, the Bengals are not a franchise prone to success, especially in the post-season. Given their lack of success the last three decades, I’m starting to think Sam Wyche deserves HOF consideration just for having to deal with that front office and getting to a Super Bowl.

  21. Let’s be honest, at any level he could not possibly be any worse of a coach than Mike Tomlin…
    =====

    I can’t hear you over the awfulness that is Mike McCarthy……………..

    … regardless of what he would tell you.

  22. Dartmouth also helped give us Animal House, let’s show a little respect.
    ======

    “The time has come for someone to put his foot down. And that foot is me.”

  23. “Shula – the very name is overrated. How could ANY coach who had Dan Marino (top 5, top 7 all time??) as their QB only play in ONE Superbowl? It boggles the mind.”

    He played in six superbowls. Including one where his starting QB was David Woodley.

    Yeah maybe he wasn’t at his best late in his career but he is one of the greatest all time.

    If Bill Bellichick went 13-3 the next five seasons he still wouldn’t have caught Shula in all time wins. And that’s with Shula only having 14 game seasons much of his career. Yeah, he may eventually take it but it probably won’t be until 2025, when he is 72, if he wants to stick around that long. And speaking of 72….

    Shula absolutely belongs on a very short list of greatest coaches of all time.

  24. Comparing the Shula years in Cincinnati to the years Lewis has had is a joke. Shula was a terrible coach that shouldn’t have been given a second year with the Bengals. I have always been a fan but the Shula years came close to breaking me.

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