A promising start in 2014 turned into a disastrous finish for Louisiana Monroe. The Warhawks were 3-1, then lost all but one of their last eight games and finished 4-8. If it's any comfort, five of losses came by a touchdown or less.
It has been a long climb to respectability for Louisiana Monroe, which became a Division I-A program in 1994 and didn't have a winning season until 2012. Highlights were few and far between, but who can forget the Warhawks' 21-14 victory at Alabama in 2007? Todd Berry, who guided the team to its only bowl game in 2012, enters his fifth season with a 23-26 record.
An overtime victory at Arkansas, an eight-win season and first bowl berth as a Division I-A member. The 2012 season was memorable for Louisiana Monroe. So what's next? The Warhawks remain one of only eight I-A teams to have never won a bowl game.
Louisiana Monroe's nonconference schedule likely pays the bills, but it won't help get the team to a bowl. The Warhawks open with road games against Arkansas and Auburn before playing their home opener against Baylor. The schedule eases up after that murderous three-week stretch, but Louisiana Monroe has only five home games. In fact, five of the team's first seven games are on the road.
Wiz correspondent Greg Laughlin was in Boca Raton on Saturday to see Howard Schnellenberger, 77, coach his final game. Schnellenberger's Florida Atlantic Owls were shut out by Louisiana Monroe, 26-0, and the veteran coach, who also guided programs at Miami, Louisville and Oklahoma, finished with a career record of 158-151-3.
Yes, we probably should have run a photo of Schnellenberger to lead off this post, but let's be honest. Our readers would rather see the image posted above. Any complaints?
There are images of Schnellenberger after the jump, and you can view Greg's full gallery by clicking here.
Louisiana Monroe has no fear of taking on the big boys. The Warhawks' nonconference schedule includes September games at Florida State, Texas Christian and Iowa. But with 19 returning starters, the team is looking to make its first trip to a bowl game since becoming a Division I-A member in 1994.