American Football Database
Florida Atlantic Owls football
File:Florida Atlantic University monogram logo.svg
First season 2001
Athletic director Patrick Chun
Head coach Carl Pelini
Home stadium FAU Stadium
Stadium capacity 30,000
Stadium surface Grass
Location Boca Raton, Florida
League NCAA Division I (FBS)
Conference C-USA (2013)
All-time record 58–74
Postseason bowl record 2–0
Conference titles 1
Colors Blue and Red            
Fight song Florida Atlantic Fight Song
Mascot Owsley the Owl
Marching band Florida Atlantic Marching Owls
Rivals FIU Panthers

The Florida Atlantic Owls football team represents Florida Atlantic University, a mid-major NCAA Division (FBS) college football team that completed an eight-season tenure in the Sun Belt Conference in 2012. Florida Atlantic will join Conference USA in July 2013.

Overview and history

Florida Atlantic University football began play in 2001 and has had only one head coach, Howard Schnellenberger. After competing their first four years as an NCAA Division I-AA independent, the Owls moved to Division I-A and the Sun Belt Conference. Starting with the 2013-14 school year, FAU athletics will compete in Conference USA.

In 1998, Florida Atlantic University announced it was pursuing the creation of an NCAA football program and that Howard Schnellenberger was going to lead the charge, as director of football operations and head coach. After his success in rebuilding programs at the University of Miami and the University of Louisville, Coach Schnellenberger now undertook the role of building a program from scratch. Much like his time at Miami and Louisville, Coach Schnellenberger did not shy from placing lofty expectations and high goals on his newly-created program. Even before FAU would play an intercollegiate game, Coach Schnellenberger explained the goal of FAU football would be to play the best teams it can schedule, in order for the program to aim for a National Championship in Division I-A football. These extreme goals were not unusual from a man like Coach Schnellenberger. At Lousiville, facing threats from the administration that the football team would be terminated, Schnellenberger made the bold (and now famous) prediction, "[We are] on a collision course with the national championship. The only variable is time.” [1]

On August 29, 2000, the first practice was held at the Boca Raton campus of FAU, and 164 students showed up to try out for the team. During the August 29, 2000 first practice, dubbed the inaugural scrimmage game, FAU continued the tradition of Homecoming King, this time including the crowning ceremony of the King as part of the half time festivities. The Homecoming King crown was bestowed upon Wayne Burns, having been voted in by the majority of student population from across all the campuses at the time, which totaled five, then running a Q&A gauntlet alongside the top three candidates, conducted by a committee of students and faculty, who then voted to determine if Mr. Burns would move to the winners circle or if the next candidate would get the crown. Mr. Burns, was driven around the scrimmage game field in a convertible Rolls Royce to wave to the 164 students in the stands, many of whom voted for him. Wayne Burns was and is the oldest Homecoming King to ever receive the honor at FAU. Florida Atlantic joined the NCAA Division I-AA as an Independent team for the 2001 season. Its first-ever intercollegiate competition was against Slippery Rock University, which the Owls lost 40-7 in front of 25,632 fans at Pro Player Stadium / Joe Robbie Stadium. During half time of the inaugural intercollegiate game at Pro Player, FAU Homecoming King Wayne Burns entered the field for a ceremony to hand off the king's staff to a new king.


Lockhart Stadium

The team finished its inaugural season at 4-6 and followed the next season at 2-9. Major accomplishments in its first two seasons include the program's first win, which came in its second game, against Bethune Cookman, 31-28, and won in the first meeting with newly-created South Florida rival, Florida International University, 31-21.

On September 15, 2007 FAU defeated its first Big Ten opponent with a 42-39 victory over the University of Minnesota. [2] Led by Rusty Smith, FAU beat Troy University in the final game of the 2007 season to become Sun Belt Conference champions and received an invitation to the 2007 New Orleans Bowl, its first ever bowl bid. As a result, in just the seventh year of the football program's history, and the third year playing in Division I, Florida Atlantic set an NCAA record by becoming the youngest program ever to receive an invitation to a bowl game.

On August 11, 2011, Howard Schnellenberger announced he would retire at the end of the season. On December 1, 2011 FAU offered Carl Pelini, the Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive coordinator to become their new head coach, a position he accepted.



Conference affiliations:

Year Record Conference Finish Coach Bowl Poll
2001 4-6 -- -- Howard Schnellenberger -- --
2002 2-9 -- -- Howard Schnellenberger -- --
2003 11-3 -- -- Howard Schnellenberger -- 4*
2004 9-3 -- -- Howard Schnellenberger -- --
2005 2-9 2-5 T-7th Howard Schnellenberger -- --
2006 5-7 4-3 T-2nd Howard Schnellenberger -- --
2007 8-5 6-1 T-1st Howard Schnellenberger New Orleans Bowl --
2008 7-6 4-3 T-3rd Howard Schnellenberger Motor City Bowl --
2009 5-7 5-3 T-3rd Howard Schnellenberger -- --
2010 4-8 3-5 T-6th Howard Schnellenberger -- --
2011 1-11 0-8 9th Howard Schnellenberger -- --
2012 3-8 2-5 8th Carl Pelini -- --
2 coaches
"Poll" indicates team ranking at end of season from the Associated Press Poll.
*Ranked by the AP Poll for Division I-AA Football.

Head coaches

Tenure Name Years Record Pct. Bowls
2001–2011 Howard Schnellenberger 11 58-74 .439 2
2012-pres. Carl Pelini 1 3-9 .250 0
2 coaches
2 bowls

Bowl games

Date Bowl W/L Opponent PF PA
December 21, 2007 New Orleans Bowl W Memphis 44 27
December 26, 2008 Motor City Bowl W Central Michigan 24 21
2 bowl games

Against the Sun Belt Conference and State of Florida

Team FAU Record First Meeting Recent Meeting
Arkansas State 3-4 2005 2011
FIU 8-2 2002 2011
Middle Tennessee 3-7 2003 2012
Louisiana-Lafayette 5-2 2005 2011
Louisiana-Monroe 2-7 2004 2012
North Texas 6-3 2004 2012
Troy 2-7 2004 2012
Western Kentucky 4-1 2008 2012
Florida 0-2 2007 2011
Florida State 0-0 -- --
Miami 0-0 -- --
South Florida 0-3 2002 2010
UCF 0-1 2003 2003

Against nationally ranked opponents

Team Date Ranking Outcome
Bethune-Cookman 9/8/01 22 W 31-28
James Madison 9/14/02 22 L 16-13
Eastern Kentucky 9/21/02 20 L 22-6
Nicholls State 10/5/02 24 L 33-22
Youngstown State 10/12/02 17 L 24-17
Eastern Illinois 11/16/02 3 L 47-6
Illinois State 9/27/03 23 W 28-10
Bethune-Cookman 11/29/03 14 W 32-24
Northern Arizona 12/6/03 16 W 48-25
Colgate 12/13/03 6 L 36-24
Louisville 10/1/05 11 L 61-10
Kentucky 9/29/07 14 L 45-17
South Florida 10/6/07 6 L 35-23
Florida 11/17/07 12 L 59-20
Texas 8/30/08 10 L 52-10
Nebraska 9/5/09 24 L 49-3
Florida 9/3/11 23 L 41-3
Michigan State 9/10/11 16 L 44-0
Georgia 9/15/12 7 L 56-20
Alabama 9/22/12 1 L 40-7
All-time 4-16
GREY indicates games played while FAU competed in Division I-AA and against a Division I-AA opponent.

Individual awards and honors

Conference honors

  • Player of the Year
    • Rusty Smith (2007 Sun Belt Conference, QB, So.)
  • Coach of the Year
    • Howard Schnellenberger (2007 Sun Belt Conference)

Post-season bowl honors

  • Hula Bowl Invitations
    • Jared Allen (2005)
    • Chris Laskowski (2005)
    • Cergile Sincere (2008)
  • Texas vs. The Nation Game Invitations
    • Howard Schnellenberger (2009, The Nation Head Coach)
    • Frantz Joseph (2009, MVP)
    • Corey Small (2009)
  • Most Valuable Player Award, Bowl game

Push for a new stadium

Since football's inception at FAU in 1998, Coach Schnellenberger has publicly led a campaign to build a football stadium on FAU's main campus in Boca Raton. In seven seasons of competition, the FAU Owls have called two stadiums "home" (Dolphin Stadium located in Miami Gardens and Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, neither of which are in the same county as Boca Raton). Coach Schnellenberger argued that an on-campus stadium increases popularity of the program and attracts high-caliber recruits.

In 2006, the Florida Atlantic University Board of Trustees (FAU BoT) approved the idea of moving forward with plans to build a football stadium on Boca's campus. HKS/Schenkel Shultz are currently designing an open-air, 30,000-seat football stadium (that can eventually be expanded to 100,000 seats) and are due to report back to the FAU BoT on Sept.17th, 2007 [3] to report projected costs and a timetable to break ground on the project.

The stadium is just a part of the university's broader concept of an "Innovation Village", covering the north end of Boca's campus. The Village will include the football stadium, a multi-use Convocation Center for volleyball, basketball and recreation, two parking garages, student housing complexes, an Alumni Center, a wellness and fitness center and strip shopping centers. The Innovation Village will be funded and constructed in stages, with the football stadium being the main concern of the first phase. All relative information on the Innovation Village can be found at FAU's Campus Master Plan (2006–2013).[1]

Current coaching staff

Name Current Title Joined
Alma mater
Carl Pelini Head Coach 2012 Youngstown State
Jared Allen Tight Ends 2009 Florida Atlantic
Jovan Dewitt Linebackers 2012 Northern Michigan University
Matt Edwards Special Teams Coordinator /Defensive Lines 2013 Miami University
Ross Watson Secondary 2012 University of Mount Union
Brian Wright Offensive Coordinator
2012 College of Wooster
Pete Rekstis Defensive Coordinator 2012 Youngstown State
Kerry Dixon II Running Backs 2012 Hampton University
Jeff Sims Assistant Head Coach
2012 Baker University
Luke Meadows Offensive Line 2012 South Dakota State University

Owls in professional football

Alumni of Florida Atlantic that have been drafted in the NFL.

Name Pos Team Year
Rusty Smith QB Tennessee Titans 2010
Rob Housler TE Arizona Cardinals 2011
Alfred Morris RB Washington Redskins 2012

Alumni of Florida Atlantic to have signed contracts in the NFL.

Name Pos Team Year
Brian Pare OL Chicago Bears 2003
Chris Laskowski LB Indianapolis Colts 2004
Kevin Fischer OL Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2004
Jared Allen QB Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2004
Willie Hughley CB Cleveland Browns 2006
Nello Faulk OL Jacksonville Jaguars 2006
Mark Myers K New York Jets 2008
Jervonte Jackson DL Philadelphia Eagles 2009
Frantz Joseph LB Oakland Raiders 2009
Lestar Jean WR Houston Texans 2011


Florida Atlantic wears two sets of uniforms (one for home games and one for road games). Produced and endorsed by Adidas, the uniforms are traditional in style and simple in color-schemes. The home jersey is the color of "FAU Blue" with white letters and numbers - which are outlined in "FAU Red." The chest plate sports the FAU winged logo. On the shoulder area of the jersey, the traditional, varsity three-stripes highlight the break from the shoulders to the arms. The pattern of the stripes are FAU Red- White - FAU Blue - White - FAU Red. Lastly, the arms of the jersey contain the players' numbers in white, outlined in FAU Red (not shown in picture). The road jerseys are identical in pattern of the home jerseys, simply swapping the blue body for white, and the letters and numbers combination is in FAU Blue.

The home and road pants are same in style. A white body is highlighted with a belt the color of FAU Blue. On the left side directly under the belt, "OWLS" in spelled in FAU Blue outlined in FAU Red in a traditional, varsity typeface font. The three-striped pattern which is on the jersey's shoulder section is found on the pants, as well - in the same color pattern.

Lastly, the helmet is white with the FAU winged logo on both sides. Again, the three-stripe pattern is down the middle of the helmet, in the same color pattern as the jersey and pant.

Until 2012, the Owls have worn the home uniforms at every home game and the road uniforms at every road game - there is no switching roles of the uniforms. Additionally, there is no alternate uniform for the Owls and there have not been plans for any. The uniform set is believed to be traditional and simple due to the old-fashioned, throwback style and attitude of Coach Schnellenberger.

In 2012, the Owls have introduced a new uniform design. There are owl wing patterns on the jerseys and pants which are both white or navy in color. The helmet's facemask is now white. There is also an alternate red third jersey.

Future non-conference opponents

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
at Miami at Nebraska at Florida at Miami at Navy
at South Florida at Wyoming vs Miami
at Auburn at Alabama
vs New Mexico State



External links