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Florida Atlantic Owls football

Florida Atlantic Owls football program represents Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in the sport of American football. The Owls compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the East Division of Conference USA (CUSA). The Owls' head coach is Lane Kiffin. Florida Atlantic has produced a Sun Belt Conference co-championship team in 2007, a Conference USA championship in 2017, along with 3 postseason bowl appearances and one appearance in the 2003 I-AA Playoffs. The Owls play their home games at FAU Stadium which has a seating capacity of 29,419.

Florida Atlantic Owls football
2019 Florida Atlantic Owls football team
Florida Atlantic Athletics wordmark.svg
First season2001
Athletic directorBrian White
Head coachLane Kiffin
3rd season, 20–12 (.625)
StadiumFAU Stadium
(Capacity: 29,419)
Year built2011
Field surfaceTurf
LocationBoca Raton, Florida
ConferenceConference USA
All-time record96–129 (.427)
Bowl record3–0 (1.000)
Conference titles2 (2007, 2017)
Division titles1 (2017)
RivalriesFIU Panthers (rivalry)
ColorsBlue and Red[1]
Fight songFlorida Atlantic Fight Song
MascotOwlsley the Owl
Marching bandFlorida Atlantic Marching Owls


Howard Schnellenberger era (2001–2011)Edit

Florida Atlantic University football began play in 2001 with legendary coach Howard Schnellenberger serving as head coach until 2011. Schnellenberger was a former offensive coordinator with the NFL's Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins who, as a head coach, turned around a moribund Miami football program and won a national championship in his fifth season in 1983 after back to back nine win seasons in 1980 and 1981. Schnellenberger also turned around a downtrodden Louisville football program, winning the Fiesta Bowl in 1990.

Coach Schnellenberger (blue jacket)

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 have competed 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 Miami and 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 Louisville, 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.” [2]

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 halftime 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 NCAA Division I-AA, now known as Division I FCS, 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 Joe Robbie Stadium, now known as Hard Rock Stadium.[3]

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 Minnesota.[4] Led by Rusty Smith, FAU beat Troy 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 mark by becoming the second-youngest program ever to receive an invitation to a bowl game. They were surpassed only by the undefeated 1958 Air Force Falcons, who had played just one year of Division 1 football before being invited to the Cotton Bowl, where they played to a scoreless tie against the TCU Horned Frogs on January 1, 1959.

On August 11, 2011, Howard Schnellenberger announced he would retire at the end of the season.

Carl Pelini era (2012–2013)Edit

On December 1, 2011 FAU hired Carl Pelini, the Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive coordinator to become their new head coach, to succeed Schnellenberger.

On October 30, 2013, Pelini resigned from his position after admitting to school officials he was using illegal drugs, specifically marijuana and cocaine.[5] He, along with defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis, officially stepped down from their positions only three days before the school's homecoming game, which they won 34–17, under the direction of interim head coach Brian Wright. Under Pelini, the Owls compiled a 5–14 record.

Wright finished the 2012–13 season as the interim head coach, winning the team's last four games and led the Owls to its first bowl-eligible season since 2008–09.

Charlie Partridge era (2014–2016)Edit

On December 16, 2013, FAU announced it had hired Charlie Partridge as head coach.[6] Prior to accepting the job at FAU, Partridge was the defensive line coach at Arkansas.[7] On November 27, 2016 FAU fired Partridge after 3 consecutive 3–9 seasons.[8]

Lane Kiffin era (2017–present)Edit

On December 12, 2016, it was announced that former USC and Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin would become the Owls' next head coach.[9] Kiffin has been the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at the University of Alabama since 2014 and also was previously the head coach of the NFL's Oakland Raiders from 2008–2009.

Conference affiliationsEdit


Conference championshipsEdit

Florida Atlantic has won two conference championships, one outright and one shared.

Season Conference Coach Overall Record Conference Record
2007 Sun Belt Conference Howard Schnellenberger 8–5 6–1
2017 Conference USA Lane Kiffin 11–3 8–0

† Co-champions

Divisional championshipsEdit

As a member of Conference USA since 2013, Florida Atlantic competes in the East Division. The Owls have won one division title.

Season Division Coach Opponent CG result
2017 CUSA East Lane Kiffin North Texas W 41-17

Bowl gamesEdit

Florida Atlantic has played in 3 bowl games, compiling a record of 3–0.

Season Coach Bowl Opponent Result
2007 Howard Schnellenberger New Orleans Bowl Memphis W 44–27
2008 Howard Schnellenberger Motor City Bowl Central Michigan W 24–21
2017 Lane Kiffin Boca Raton Bowl Akron W 50–3


Florida InternationalEdit

The Shula Bowl is the rivalry game with Florida International. It was first played in 2002 and has been played every year since then. The winner receives the Don Shula Award. The game and trophy are named after former Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula. The game is typically either in Boca Raton or Miami, though there have been meetings in other locations in the Miami metropolitan area.

In total the two squads have met 16 times with Florida Atlantic holding an 11–5 lead as of the 2017 season conclusion.

Future non-conference opponentsEdit

Announced schedules as of September 18, 2019.[10]

2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026
at Minnesota at Florida at Ohio Ohio at South Florida
Stony Brook at Air Force at Purdue at Clemson
at Georgia Southern Fordham at Illinois
South Florida Georgia Southern


  1. ^ "Florida Atlantic University Artsheet Guide" (PDF). May 4, 2018. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "FAU vs Slippery Rock".
  4. ^ "FAU vs. Minnesota". Archived from the original on June 4, 2011.
  5. ^ "FAU now says Carl Pelini has been fired with cause".
  6. ^ "Florida Atlantic hires Partridge of Arkansas".
  7. ^ "Florida Atlantic University to Introduce New Head Football Coach".
  8. ^ "FAU fires coach Charlie Partridge as Owls continue seeking relevancy".
  9. ^ Low, Chris; McMurphy, Brett (December 12, 2016). "Alabama OC Lane Kiffin to be next head coach of Florida Atlantic". ESPN. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  10. ^ "Florida Atlantic Owls Future Football Schedules". Retrieved September 18, 2019.

External linksEdit