Don Strock spent 15 years with the Dolphins, mostly as a backup quarterback for stars such as Bob Griese and Dan Marino.
Now, Strock is in charge of developing Florida International's program. He was introduced Wednesday as the team's first coach, responsible for founding a squad that is scheduled to begin play in 2002.
"I was lucky enough to stay (in Miami) for 14 years and play for the greatest coach the NFL has ever seen, Don Shula," Strock said. "I'm hoping some of his abilities have rubbed off on me as a coach."
FIU, a mostly commuter school of 32,000 in southwest Miami-Dade County, will start playing in Division I-AA in a small campus stadium. Plans for a 7,000-seat facility are in the works.
Strock was the Baltimore Ravens quarterback coach before getting hired as FIU's director of football operations in 1999.
He said he knows skeptics will point out that FIU will play in the shadow of the University of Miami, and that the Hurricanes, Florida State and Florida can beat FIU to the top athletes.
But Strock believes south Florida has enough talent for all the state schools.
"Everybody comes down here for speed," Strock said. "I'm tired of watching Michigan on TV and the guy that caught two touchdowns is from North Miami Beach High or something. What the heck's he doing up there?"