FAU Faces A Texas Football Legend

Florida Atlantic University certainly knows legendary coaches. Howard Schnellenberger is one of the most celebrated coaches in college history (on top of a National Championship at Miami, he also famously recruited Joe Nammoth to Alabama). But this week he will travel to Denton, Texas to play the University of North Texas where he will face a young coach named Todd Dodge.

That name might not mean much in Florida (yet), but I went to graduate school at UNT, and I can tell you that in the Lonestar State this guy is some sort of mythological hero.

A little background after the jump.   

Yeah, Texas has the Cowboys and the Longhorns (and the Aggies, for the less literate football fans), but especially in the small towns out west and the affluent suburbs, high school football is still King.

And Dodge was the King of Kings. From 2002 through 2006, when he was the head coach of the Southlake Carroll Dragons (just outside Dallas), Dodge won 79 games and lost only one (the State final, against another powerhouse program at Katy High School). His teams were crowned "National" Champions by USA Today He won four 5A state championships in five years, a feat that will likely remain unmatched until...ever.

Dodge, a former quarterback for the Longhorns, had a new kind of spread offense the likes of which Texas high school football had never seen. His program also produced big time college quarterbacks like Chase Daniel.

But in 2007, Dodge left Southlake, where his son was quarterback at the time, and took his special football genius 23 miles north, to UNT in Denton. Every publication in Texas covered the historic jump, with experts weighing in on what this might mean for the future of college football. The next year, his son, Riley, graduated from Southlake, withdrew his verbal commitment to UT, and joined his father at UNT.

But, just as Schnellenberger has struggled at FAU, Dodge's science experiment has yet to take off. In his first 29 games at UNT, Dodge has a record of 4-25.

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Michael J. Mooney