Ten years after leading the first football team at Florida Atlantic University onto the field, the man who conceived and gave birth to the program has announced that he will step down as head coach following the 2011 season. However, the legacy that Howard Schnellenberger leaves behind will impact the city of Boca Raton for years to come.

Schnellenberger, 77, said Thursday that he will become an ambassador for the university after the season ends. Then again, he's been that ambassador since accepting the job of director of football operations in 1998 and building FAU football from scratch. Since playing its first game in 2001, FAU has accomplished more than most thought possible, including becoming the fastest start-up program in college football history to qualify for and win a bowl game (the New Orleans Bowl in 2007). You can read all about the origins of FAU football in the upcoming September/October issue of Boca Raton magazine.

"People ask me what's the greatest game you've been associated with," Schnellenberger told Boca Raton. "Before this, it was easy-the national championship [as head coach of the University of Miami in 1983] and the Super Bowl as an assistant coach with the Dolphins [in 1972]. But when you think about everything it took to get to the point where FAU could win a bowl game-and take all that together-that's even more special."

There's at least one more milestone for Schnellenberger to add to his resume this season: On Oct. 15, FAU will host Western Kentucky inside its new 30,000-seat on-campus football stadium, a $70 million project that the head coach was instrumental in bringing to fruition.

"We've been playing in the dark up to now," says Schnellenberger, who is 157-140-3 as a college football coach. "This stadium is going to snap on the spotlight. Everything this program does now will be seen in its proper perspective."