BUFFALO (WKBW) — The passing of Miami Dolphins Hall of Fame coach Don Shula at the age of 90 on Monday had many sharing their thoughts on the coaching great. Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy knew Shula well.
"He was great. I respected the guy greatly", Levy said during a phone conversation with 7 Eyewitness News Anchor Jeff Russo on Monday.
"He wasn’t just a great coach, he was a fantastic credit to the game. He played by the rules. He had respect for his opponents", Levy added.
Levy and Shula competed on opposite sidelines in the AFC East from 1986 to 1995. Levy says while the Bills and the Dolphins battled it out on the field, off the field the coaches became good friends. "I treasure the fact that I could be a friend with Don Shula. We competed very hard on game day but when it was over, it was over. It was a game.", said Levy.
Levy says he first met Shula as an assistant coach with the Washington Redskins in 1972, the year Shula coached the Dolphins to the NFL's only perfect season. "He was personable. He had a great sense of humor. I always appreciated the way he treated me and other people in the game".
After starting in Baltimore in 1963, Shula coached the Dolphins from 1970 until his retirement in 1995. His 347 wins are an NFL record. Levy began his NFL head coaching career in Kansas City in 1978. He was the head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 1986 to 1997. Levy led the Bills to 4 straight Super Bowl appearances in the 90s.
Levy, 94, and his wife Fran, live in Chicago.