When Howard Schnellenberger went to bed Saturday night, his wife, Beverlee, was reading an online story about Florida Atlantic's scrimmage earlier that day.

"Four turnovers? That's terrible," she said.

"I know," Schnellenberger replied. "I was there."

Beverlee Schnellenberger laughs as she recalls the scene.

"I'm very, very tough on him," she said. "But we are happy. It's been 50 years of marriage and 50 years of football."

Schnellenberger is celebrating those two anniversaries this year. He married Beverlee in 1959, the same year he landed his first coaching job as an assistant at Kentucky.

Since then Schnellenberger, who turned 75 in March, has been part of coaching staffs that have won four collegiate national titles and two Super Bowls.

Three of those titles came in South Florida, as Schnellenberger was on Don Shula's coaching staff when the Dolphins won the Super Bowl in 1973 and 1974, and he revived the Hurricanes' program and led them to the national title in 1983.

After a decade at Louisville, where he took the program from doormat to respectability, Schnellenberger returned to South Florida and accepted the biggest challenge of his career.

He is entering his ninth season at FAU, heading up a program that he started from scratch and is determined to turn into a Top 25 team.

"I think he is getting stronger with age, I really do," said FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos, who has been with Schnellenberger for seven years.

"I think he is a lot healthier and more motivated than he was 25 years ago," Beverlee Schnellenberger said. "He's wiser and really excited about what he is doing."

"Football is his total passion," said associate coach Kurt Van Valkenburgh, who has been an assistant for Schnellenberger for 14 years. "This job is special, creating a team and moving it forward. This is his crowning achievement."

Jeff Brohm, FAU's quarterback coach, played for Schnellenberger at Louisville from 1990-93, and remembers the white-haired coach with the gravelly voice who was considered old by his players back then.

"It's amazing he has been able to do it this long," Brohm said. "He just loves the game, loves working with young kids, loves coming to work every day."

"It's an honor to play for him," quarterback Rusty Smith said.

Schnellenberger's initial vision for FAU had the Owls playing in a 40,000-seat on-campus domed stadium by their third season, and competing for a national title shortly after that.

While those dates have passed, a downsized version of that vision is slowly turning into reality.

Unless there is a glitch, the stadium, which is now 30,000 seats and open air, will be ready for the 2011 season.

And FAU became the youngest start-up program to get to a bowl in 2007, and this season will be trying to go to its third straight bowl game.

"I know he wants to take his last breath out here on the field. I know he has no intention of slowing down or retiring," Angelos said.

"I will stay on as long as I am physically able and as long as I am still enjoying it," Schnellenberger said. "Coaching at age 75 has great rewards. The beauty of it is the kids would rather have me here than not have me here, so that is good."