Fort Pierce, FL – Big-time college football is coming to the Treasure Coast. Well, to Boca Raton, just 45 minutes south of the Martin County line. On Saturday, the Florida Atlantic University Owls will play their first game in FAU's new stadium. Their opponent is Western Kentucky. The open-air concrete bowl seats 30-thousand and cost 70 million dollars. It is the centerpiece of an FAU housing, recreation and retail complex called "Innovation Village." The driving force behind the stadium is Howard Schnellenberger, FAU's first and so far only coach. He came to the university in 1998 to build a football program and immediately began campaigning for an on-campus facility in which to play. As head coach, he led Miami to its first national title in 1983. I remember the mustachioed, basso-voiced Schnelly from when he was head coach at the University of Louisville and I was with the Louisville Courier-Journal. His won-lost record was not impressive, but he pulled Louisville football into the national spotlight. Schnellenberger, 77, has announced that he will retire as coach at the end of this season. Long after he stops roaming the sidelines, the FAU stadium will still be known as "The House that Schnelly Built." For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.
Treasure Coast essayist Paul Janensch was a newspaper editor and taught journalism at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.