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The Louisville Sports Commission today announced the creation of the Howard Schnellenberger MVP Award that will be presented annually to the most valuable player on the winning team in the University of Louisville – University of Kentucky football game. The announcement was made in conjunction with the athletic departments at both universities and the blessing of Schnellenberger, who has ties to both programs and remarkable football credentials.
“It is a source of great pride for me to become a part of the Governor’s Cup Football Game,” Schnellenberger said. “This intense rivalry has become the defining game for collegiate football within the Commonwealth of Kentucky. My hat’s off to the Wildcat and Cardinal teams, coaches and fans.”
Schnellenberger was recruited to UK out of Louisville Flaget (fla-jay’) High School by the legendary Bear Bryant, earned varsity letters in 1952-53-54-55 and was an All-American tight end for the Wildcats under Blanton Collier as a senior. Schnellenberger was an assistant coach at UK under Collier in 1959 and 1960. As the head coach at UofL for 10 years (1985-1994), Schnellenberger is credited with rejuvenating the football program and boosted support for a new, on-campus stadium. He led the Cardinals to victories in the Liberty and Fiesta Bowls.
The annual renewal of the intrastate rivalry between the Cardinals and the Wildcats will be played September 4 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville. The Howard Schnellenberger MVP will be selected by a vote of the working press covering the game as identified by the sports information directors from each school. Voting will take place near or at completion of the game at the discretion of the SIDs.
Schnellenberger currently is head coach and director of football operations at Florida Atlantic University, having built the Division I program from scratch starting in 1998. At Miami, Louisville and FAU, Schnellenberger-coached teams are a remarkable 6-0 in bowl games. Schnellenberger was an integral part of four national championships in college football and two Super Bowl victories. He coached the University of Miami to the 1983 national championship and was offensive coordinator under Bryant at Alabama for national titles in 1961-64-65. He was the offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins under Don Shula, including the 17-0 season in 1972, and assistant for the Los Angeles Rams under George Allen.