Dan Shula - the grandson of NFL Hall of Fame legend Don Shula - enters his fourth season working on the Illinois State coaching staff. After spending the first two seasons as the team's offensive assistant, Shula now mentors the team's wide receivers, kickers and punters and serves as the Director of Football Operations.
Shula transitioned into his role as receivers coach and inherited a talented group of wideouts. Led by Tyrone Walker, the group helped the Redbirds average 200 yards per game through the air in 2011 and the unit caught 18 touchdown passes.
Walker led the group with 64 receptions for 787 yards and eight touchdowns on his way to being named an All-MVFC Second Team selection. Senior Marvon Sanders wrapped up his stellar two-year career at ISU with 441 yards receiving on 39 receptions and freshman Lechein Neblett was named to the MVFC All-Newcomer Team in his first season in uniform.
In his previous two seasons as offensive assistant, Shula worked with the Redbird wide receivers and coached the Redbird kickers and punters. In his first season with the Redbirds in 2009, Shula helped kicker Zach Kutch become one of the best Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) kickers in the country. Kutch earned second-team All-America honors selection by The Sports Network, third-team All-American honors from the Associated Press and was an honorable mention All-America selection by the College Sporting News after he set a new ISU and Valley single-season record with 22 field goals made in 2009.
Kutch earned first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference honors as well and finished the season 22-for-29 in field goal attempts, with six of his seven misses coming from 40 yards or more. His field goal per game average (2.0) finished the season tied for first in the nation with Liberty's Matt Bevins.
Shula came to Illinois State following a two-year graduate assistantship (2007-08) at Miami (Fla.), where he worked primarily with the Hurricanes' offensive line.
A native of Cooper City, Fla., Shula comes from one of the most well-known and distinguished coaching lineages in history. He is the grandson of legendary NFL Hall of Fame head coach Don Shula, who won an NFL-record 347 games as a head coach of the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins. Shula's father, David Shula, was the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals from 1992-96.
Shula is also the nephew of Mike Shula, who was the head coach at Alabama from 2003-06, before accepting a position as the quarterbacks coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He currently serves as the quarterbacks coach for the Carolina Panthers.
Shula spent the 2006 season at Alabama as a graduate assistant coach, working alongside fellow ISU assistant coach Greg McLain. He worked primarily with the wide receivers and quarterbacks for the Crimson Tide.
He was a three-year letterwinner at quarterback for Ivy League member Dartmouth, where he started games as a junior and appeared in 15 games total during his career.
Shula was a three-year letterman at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he was a member of the 1999 Florida Class 4A State Championship team and a teammate of fellow ISU assistant coach Dominic Anderson.
Shula earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Dartmouth in 2006. In 2008, he earned a master's degree in liberal studies from Miami.
He and his wife, Kristina, reside in Bloomington, Ill., with their sons, Logan and Connor.