American Football Wiki
Florida Atlantic Owls football
Current season:
2021 Florida Atlantic Owls
NCAA-Florida Atlantic Owls-logo.png NCAA-Florida Atlantic Owls-helmet-2005.png
First season 2001
Athletic director Brian White
Head coach Willie Taggart
1st year, 6–3 (.625)
Home stadium FAU Stadium
Stadium capacity 29,571
Stadium surface Grass
Location Boca Raton, Florida, U.S.
League NCAA Division I (FBS)
Conference C-USA
All-time history
Florida Atlantic Owls Historical Teams
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
All-time record 108–133 (.448)
Postseason bowl record 4–1 (.800)
Conference titles 3 (2007, 2017, 2019)
Division titles 2 (2007, 2019)
Rivalries FIU Panthers
Current uniform
NCAA-C-USA-FLA Atlantic Owls uniforms.png
Colors Blue and Red


Fight song Florida Atlantic Fight Song
Mascot Owsley the Owl
Marching band Florida Atlantic Marching Owls
Outfitter Adidas

The Florida Atlantic Owls are a member of the NCAA FBS Conference USA, playing their home games at Howard Schnellenberger Field at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida. The Owls are currently coached by Charlie Partridge.

Overview and history

Florida Atlantic University football began play in 2001 with Howard Schnellenberger as the Owls' first coach. 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.

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 the University of Miami and the University of 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 Lousiville, 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.” [1]

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 scrimage game, FAU continued the tradition of Homecoming King, this time including the crowning ceremony of the King as part of the half time 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 along side 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 scrimage game field in a convertible Rolls Royce to waive 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 the NCAA Division I-AA 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 Pro Player Stadium / Joe Robbie Stadium. During half time of the inaugural intercollegiate game at Pro Player, FAU Homecoming King Wayne Burns entered the field for a ceremony to hand off the king's staff to a new king.


Lockhart Stadium

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 the University of Minnesota. [2] Led by Rusty Smith, FAU beat Troy University 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 record by becoming the youngest program ever to receive an invitation to a bowl game.

On August 11, 2011, Howard Schnellenberger announced he would retire at the end of the season. On December 1, 2011 FAU offered Carl Pelini, the Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive coordinator to become their new head coach, a position he accepted.


Florida Atlantic wears two sets of uniforms (one for home games and one for road games). Produced and endorsed by Adidas, the uniforms are traditional in style and simple in color-schemes. The home jersey is the color of "FAU Blue" with white letters and numbers - which are outlined in "FAU Red." The chest plate sports the FAU winged logo. On the shoulder area of the jersey, the traditional, varsity three-stripes highlight the break from the shoulders to the arms. The pattern of the stripes are FAU Red- White - FAU Blue - White - FAU Red. Lastly, the arms of the jersey contain the players' numbers in white, outlined in FAU Red (not shown in picture). The road jerseys are identical in pattern of the home jerseys, simply swapping the blue body for white, and the letters and numbers combination is in FAU Blue.

The home and road pants are same in style. A white body is highlighted with a belt the color of FAU Blue. On the left side directly under the belt, "OWLS" in spelled in FAU Blue outlined in FAU Red in a traditional, varsity typeface font. The three-striped pattern which is on the jersey's shoulder section is found on the pants, as well - in the same color pattern.

Lastly, the helmet is white with the FAU winged logo on both sides. Again, the three-stripe pattern is down the middle of the helmet, in the same color pattern as the jersey and pant.

To date, the Owls have worn the home uniforms at every home game and the road uniforms at every road game - there is no switching roles of the uniforms. Additionally, there is no alternate uniform for the Owls and there have not been plans for any. The uniform set is believed to be traditional and simple due to the old-fashioned, throwback style and attitude of Coach Schnellenberger.

Image gallery




Conference affiliations:

Year Record Conference Finish Coach Bowl Poll
2001 4-6 -- -- Howard Schnellenberger -- --
2002 2-9 -- -- Howard Schnellenberger -- --
2003 11-3 -- -- Howard Schnellenberger -- 4*
2004 9-3 -- -- Howard Schnellenberger -- --
2005 2-9 -- -- Howard Schnellenberger -- --
2006 5-7 4-3 T-2nd Howard Schnellenberger -- --
2007 8-5 6-1 T-1st Howard Schnellenberger New Orleans Bowl --
2008 7-6 4-3 T-3rd Howard Schnellenberger Motor City Bowl --
2009 5-7 5-3 T-3rd Howard Schnellenberger -- --
2010 4-8 3-5 T-6th Howard Schnellenberger -- --
2011 1-11 0-3 9th Howard Schnellenberger -- --
2012 3-9 2-6 Carl Pelini
2013 6-6 4-4 Carl Pelini, Brian Wright
2014 3-9 2-6 Charlie Partridge
2015 3-9 3-5 Charlie Partridge
2016 3-9 Charlie Partridge
2017 11-3 8-0 Lane Kiffin
All-time 84-110 33-39 All-time 4 coaches All-time AP
"Poll" indicates team ranking at end of season from the Associated Press Poll.
*Ranked by the AP Poll for Division I-AA Football.

Head coaches

Tenure Name Years Record Pct. Bowls
2001–2011 Howard Schnellenberger 11 58-74 .439 2
2012-pres. Carl Pelini 1 0-0 .000 0
Total 2 coaches 12 58-74 .439 2 bowls

Bowl games

Date Bowl W/L Opponent PF PA
December 21, 2007 New Orleans Bowl W Memphis 44 27
December 26, 2008 Motor City Bowl W Central Michigan 24 21
Total 2 bowl games 2-0 Total 68 48

Against the Sun Belt Conference and State of Florida

Team FAU Record First Meeting Recent Meeting
Arkansas State 3-4 2005 2011
FIU 8-2 2002 2011
Middle Tennessee St 3-6 2003 2011
Louisiana-Lafayette 5-2 2005 2011
Louisiana-Monroe 2-6 2004 2011
North Texas 6-2 2004 2011
Troy 1-7 2004 2011
Western Kentucky 3-1 2008 2011
Florida 0-2 2007 2011
Florida State 0-0 -- --
Miami 0-0 -- --
South Florida 0-3 2002 2010
UCF 0-1 2003 2003

Against nationally ranked opponents

Team Date Ranking Outcome
Bethune-Cookman 9/8/01 22 W 31-28
James Madison 9/14/02 22 L 16-13
Eastern Kentucky 9/21/02 20 L 22-6
Nicholls State 10/5/02 24 L 33-22
Youngstown State 10/12/02 17 L 24-17
Eastern Illinois 11/16/02 3 L 47-6
Illinois State 9/27/03 23 W 28-10
Bethune-Cookman 11/29/03 14 W 32-24
Northern Arizona 12/6/03 16 W 48-25
Colgate 12/13/03 6 L 36-24
Louisville 10/1/05 11 L 61-10
Kentucky 9/29/07 14 L 45-17
South Florida 10/6/07 6 L 35-23
Florida 11/17/07 12 L 59-20
Texas 8/30/08 10 L 52-10
Nebraska 9/5/09 24 L 49-3
Florida 9/3/11 23 L 41-3
Michigan State 9/10/11 16 L 44-0
All-time 4-14
GREY indicates games played while FAU competed in Division I-AA and against a Division I-AA opponent.

Individual awards and honors

Conference honors

  • Player of the Year
    • Rusty Smith (2007 Sun Belt Conference, QB, So.)
  • Coach of the Year
    • Howard Schnellenberger (2007 Sun Belt Conference)

Post-season bowl honors

  • Hula Bowl Invitations
    • Jared Allen (2005)
    • Chris Laskowski (2005)
    • Cergile Sincere (2008)
  • Texas vs. The Nation Game Invitations
    • Howard Schnellenberger (2009, The Nation Head Coach)
    • Frantz Joseph (2009, MVP)
    • Corey Small (2009)
  • Most Valuable Player Award, Bowl game
    • Rusty Smith (2007, New Orleans Bowl)
    • Rusty Smith (2008, Motor City Bowl)

Push for a new stadium

Template:Rellink Since football's inception at FAU in 1998, Coach Schnellenberger has publicly led a campaign to build a football stadium on FAU's main campus in Boca Raton. In seven seasons of competition, the FAU Owls have called two stadiums "home" (Dolphin Stadium located in Miami Gardens and Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, neither of which are in the same county as Boca Raton). Coach Schnellenberger argued that an on-campus stadium increases popularity of the program and attracts high-caliber recruits.

In 2006, the Florida Atlantic University Board of Trustees (FAU BoT) approved the idea of moving forward with plans to build a football stadium on Boca's campus. HKS/Schenkel Shultz are currently designing an open-air, 30,000-seat football stadium (that can eventually be expanded to 100,000 seats) and are due to report back to the FAU BoT on Sept.17th, 2007 [3] to report projected costs and a timetable to break ground on the project.

The stadium is just a part of the university's broader concept of an "Innovation Village", covering the north end of Boca's campus. The Village will include the football stadium, a multi-use Convocation Center for volleyball, basketball and recreation, two parking garages, student housing complexes, an Alumni Center, a wellness and fitness center and strip shopping centers. The Innovation Village will be funded and constructed in stages, with the football stadium being the main concern of the first phase. All relative information on the Innovation Village can be found at FAU's Campus Master Plan (2006–2013).[1]

Owls in professional football

Current NFL players (as of 2021)


Player Position Team First Year Draft Round
Azeez Al-Shaair OLB San Francisco 49ers 2019 Undrafted
Brandin Bryant DE Buffalo Bills 2016 Undrafted
Harrison Bryant TE Cleveland Browns 2020 4
Trevon Coley DE Tennessee Titans 2016 Undrafted
BJ Emmons RB Seattle Seahawks 2021 Undrafted
John Franklin III WR Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2018 Undrafted
Trey Hendrickson DE Cincinnati Bengals 2017 3
Gregory "Buddy" Howell, Jr. RB Houston Texans 2018 Undrafted
Greg Joseph K Minnesota Vikings 2018 Undrafted
Leighton McCarthy OLB Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2021 Undrafted
Herb Miller CB Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2018 Undrafted
Alfred Morris RB 2012 6
Sharrod Neasman S 2016 Undrafted
James Pierre Jr CB Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 Undrafted
Devin "Motor" Singletary RB Buffalo Bills 2019 3
Rashard Smith LB Philadelphia Eagles 2020 Undrafted
Andrew Soroh LB 2019 Undrafted
Adarius (Glanton) Taylor LB Carolina Panthers 2014 Undrafted
Trevardo Williams LB 2013 4
Brandon Walton OT Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 Undrafted
Kerrith Whyte RB 2019 7

Former NFL Players


Player Position Teams Years Played First Year Draft Round
Rob Housler TE Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns 2011-2015 2011 3
Lestar Jean WR Houston Texans 2012-2013 2012 Undrafted
Randell Johnson OLB Buffalo Bills, New York Jets 2014-2016 2014 7
Cre'Von LeBlanc DB New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles 2016-2020 2016 Undrafted
Michael Lockley LB Jacksonville Jaguars 2011 2011 Undrafted
Sharrod Neasman S (Played CB in 2020) Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints 2016-2020 2016 Undrafted
Keith Reaser CB San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs 2014-2017 2014 5
D'Joun Smith CB Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans 2015-2016 2015 3
Rusty Smith QB Tennessee Titans 2010-2012 2010 6
Lucky Whitehead WR Dallas Cowboys 2015-2016 2015 Undrafted

Future Non-Conference Opponents

Announced schedules as of May,25,2021.[4]

Future non-conference opponents
2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031
at Florida at Ohio Ohio at Michigan State at Iowa at South Florida at Missouri at Missouri Missouri
Georgia Southern Southeastern Louisiana at Clemson at UConn at UCF UConn
Fordham UCF at Illinois
at Air Force at Purdue


External Links