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University of Miami Football Facts and History
Miami's first football season, A Hurricane forms: The University of Miami played football for the first time in 1926. The
program began as just a freshman team and its first contest was an October 23, 7-0 win over Rollins College. The University advanced
to varsity football the next season and again Rollins was the team’s first victim as Miami rolled to a 39-3 win.
Miami's first national Title; A champion is born: Although Miami football generated success in its first decades of football, it
wasn’t until the arrival of Howard Schnellenberger that Canes football advanced to championship levels. The new coached announced
his intentions to win a national championship within five years and then installed a pro-style passing offense and a tenacious recruiting
effort to make that happen.
Thanks to the recruitment of future Pro Football Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly, Schnellenberger’s plan gained merit. By 1981 the program
was winners of nine games including victories over then-#1 Penn State and Notre Dame. By the 1983 season, the Canes were ready to
answer Coach Schnellenberger’s championship dreams. That feat was accomplished with a 31-30 Orange Bowl victory over Nebraska
that saw Miami make a game-saving play with just seconds left.
A dynasty emerges: With Schnellenberger leaving Miami following the 1983 national championship, Jimmy Johnson guided the
program for the next five seasons. The pinnacle of Johnson’s Miami coaching career was the 1987 season that saw the university
gained its second national championship. With stars such as Michael Irvin and Steve Walsh on the squad, the Canes posted an
The Hurricanes continue to menace with Dennis: After leaving Washington State to guide the Miami football program,
Dennis Erickson generated two national championships during his six year span in Coral Gables (1989-94). With the first national title
coming in his first season, Erickson became just the second Division 1 coach to win a national title in his first season at that school.
Erickson’s 1991 squad struck national championship gold as well as the QB Gino Torretta directed squad went undefeated.
College football’s final Hurricane warning: Miami fans last opportunity to wear Canes national championship gear was the
first year of the Larry Coker era (2001-2006), the long-time assistant had replaced the departed Butch Davis. Under Coker’s guidance, the U gained its fifth national title with a 12-0 undefeated season.
Miami conference affiliations: Except for a brief stint in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1929-41), the university
spent many years as an independent. Miami finally resumed conference status when it joined the Big East Conference in 1991. The
school then departed for the ACC in 2004.
Miami Hurricanes top rivals: In-state rivals Florida and Florida State easily serve as the U's most heated opponents. With all
three schools meeting each season, the team with the best record receives the Florida Cup. That trophy has been awarded since
2002. Miami won the first three.
University of Miami Heisman Trophy winners: The University has produced two Heisman Trophy winners. Vinny Testaverde
(1986) and Gino Torretta (1992) have been honored with college football’s top individual award.