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Dolphins Coaches: Legendary and Lackluster

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - In 45 years, the Miami Dolphins have been coached by eight men, until Monday, when yet another change was made and Tony Sparano was replaced by Assistant Head Coach Todd Bowles.

The team took the field in 1966 in the old American Football League, coached for four seasons by George Wilson.

He was replaced by Don Shula, who came from the old Baltimore Colts to helm the team for a quarter century, taking them to the Super Bowl and to a yet-unbroken record; the Perfect Season, the only NFL team to finished the season unbeaten.

Even legends tire, and as the Dolphins stalled on the road to the playoffs, the legend was eased out in favor of Jimmy Johnson, who held rings from the University of Miami and the Dallas Cowboys.

Johnson left with a winning record, but without the success expected. While he made it to the playoffs three times, he failed to add another ring with the Fins.

Dave Wannstadt was supposed to give the Dolphins a new direction and a new path to the Superbowl, but despite a winning record he  could not move his team past the early round of the playoffs, and was out before the end of the end of the 2004 season.

Caretaker Jim Bates coached the Fins through the last seven games of the 2004 season, which ended without a trip to the playoffs.

The Dolphins turned to the college ranks for the coach fans thought was a great choice. Nick Saban came from LSU to Davie with a tremendous reputation, but he angered the media, angered the fans, and had a virtual break-even record over two seasons.

Rumors flew that he was headed back to the college ranks, and he denied, denied, and denied until he took the job as Alabama head coach, creating a local chapter of the hate-Saban society.

Cam Cameron, previously the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers, was hired as the new head coach. He proceeded to take the Dolphins to their worst season ever, with a single win and 15 losses. When Bill Parcells was hired as head of Football operations, Cameron was out and Tony Sparano was in.

Over four years, Sparano was plagued by a losing record and a single appearance in the playoffs, which the Dolphins lost.

The 2011 season started with high hopes, but they were quickly dashed by loss after loss, and speculation that Sparano would be fired at the end of the season, if he made it that far. Despite a handful of late season wins, a disastrous game against the Eagles revealed how uneven the team was.

Just hours after his regular Monday morning news conference On December 12th, Sparano met with owner Steven Ross, who ended the speculation and ended Sparano's run as the Dolphins head coach.

Later in the day, assistant head coach Todd Bowles became just the 9th person to lead the Dolphins, as the search began for Sparano's replacement. The search will include Bowles, who will have at least the final 3 games of the season to audition for the job.

Will there be a 10th coach to start the 2012 season? Keep watching!


Name From To Regular Season Post Season
George Wilson (AFL) 1966 1969 15 39 2 -- --
Don Shula 1970 1995 257 133 2 17 14
Jimmy Johnson 1996 1999 36 28 0 2 3
Dave Wannstedt 2000 2004 42 31 0 1 2
Jim Bates (interim) 2004 2004 3 4 0 -- --
Nick Saban 2005 2006 15 17 0 -- --
Cam Cameron 2007 2007 1 15 -- --
Tony Sparano 2008 2011 25 23 0 0 1
Todd Bowles(Interim) 2011 Present -- -- -- -- --
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