Mike Shanahan

Coaching Record

Years Coached Record Win % Playoff record Playoff win %
29 269-181-1 59.76% 18-12 60.00%

Coaching Tree


Dan Reeves, George Seifert


Gary Kubiak, Art Shell, Anthony Lynn, Matt LaFleur, Mike McDaniel, Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan


Table of Contents

Career Summary

Mike Shanahan was a football coach in the National Football League (NFL) from 1984 to 2013, finishing his career as the head coach of the Washington Redskins. Over his twenty-nine years of coaching his teams compiled a cumulative win/loss record of 276-186-1. During his career he was a head coach for twenty seasons, first with the Los Angeles Raiders. He led the Raiders for two seasons, compiling a record of 15-17-0. He was fired from the Raiders on Wednesday, October 4, 1989. His next head coaching stint was with the Denver Broncos from 1995 to 2008, as he led the team to a 138-86-0 record. During his time leading the Broncos the team won the Super Bowl in 1997 and 1998. He was fired from the Broncos on Tuesday, December 30, 2008. Shanahan was fired after a late-season collapse, in which the Broncos saw a three game divisional lead with three games remaining turn into the third consecutive season out of the playoffs. His third head coach placement began in 2010 with the Washington Redskins. He coached them for four seasons and the team had a 24-40-0 record during his tenure. He was fired from the Redskins on Monday, December 30, 2013. During his entire head coaching career, his three teams combined for a record of 177-143-0 across twenty seasons including going 8-6-0 in the playoffs.

Career Awards

During his time as head coach and offensive coordinator he coached seven players to award-winning seasons. As the offensive coordinator for the 49ers Steve Young won AP Offensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player (2) and Jerry Rice won AP Offensive Player of the Year. As the offensive coordinator for the Broncos John Elway won Most Valuable Player. As the head coach for the Broncos Terrell Davis won AP Offensive Player of the Year (2) and Most Valuable Player, Clinton Portis won AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, and Mike Anderson won AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. As the head coach for the Redskins Robert Griffin won AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Mike Shanahan Coaching Tree

Before he was a head coach, Shanahan served as an assistant coach for Dan Reeves and George Seifert. Six of these years were spent on Reeves' coaching staff. During his time as head coach, seven assistant coaches, (Art Shell, Gary Kubiak, Anthony Lynn, Matt LaFleur, Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan, and Mike McDaniel) on his coaching staff were hired as head coaches across the league. His coaching tree has combined for a record of 374-289-0 in the regular season and 25-20 in the playoffs during their forty-five seasons as head coach after serving on his coaching staffs. The coaching tree has combined for two championships, most recently in 2021 by the Los Angeles Rams, led by Sean McVay.

Personal Information

Shanahan was born on Sunday, August 24, 1952 in Oak Park, Illinois.

Table of Contents

Early life and Playing Career

Mike Shanahan was born in Oak Hill, Illinois on August 24, 1952 to a homemaker and an electrician. He was a multi-sport athlete at East Leyden High School in Franklin Park, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He began his football career as quarterback in a wishbone offense in high school. He held the single-game rushing record for the school with a 15-carry, 260-yard performance against Hinsdale South. Shanahan set the record, since broken, in the 1969 season, a year before he graduated.

Shanahan went on to play quarterback at Eastern Illinois University. A hard hit on the field split one of his kidneys in half and his heart stopped beating for more than half a minute. While in the hospital, a priest was summoned to present Shanahan’s last rites. However, Shanahan made a full recovery and entered the world of coaching, something he had wanted to do since he was a boy.

College Coaching Career

Oklahoma Sooners

Upon graduation from Eastern Illinois, he was an offensive assistant for the University of Oklahoma football team in 1975. He was there for one season and coached under the legendary head coach Barry Switzer. Shanahan also worked with offensive coordinator Galen Hall. The team ran the wishbone offense, the same set Shanahan quarterbacked in high school. The team finished with an 11-1 record and was number 1 overall, with a Big 8 Championship win,a 14-6 Orange Bowl victory, and the National Championship win over Michigan. It was the first of two collegiate national titles for Shanahan.

Northern Arizona Lumberjacks

After his year-long stint with the Sooners, Shanahan moved on to Northern Arizona University as the team’s running backs coach. Shanahan worked with head coach Joe Salem for the Lumberjacks for the 1976 and 1977 seasons. Northern Arizona went 8-3 Shanahan’s first year and 9-3 his second. After his two seasons in Flagstaff, Shanahan moved back close to home to his alma mater, Eastern Illinois, as the Panthers’ offensive coordinator.

Eastern Illinois Panthers

At 25 years old, Shanahan worked under Darrell Mudra, who was brought on to revive the Eastern Illinois football program. Mudra had come out of retirement to coach the Panthers, as he was intrigued by a challenge. He knew what he was inheriting. Eastern Illinois had finished the 1977 season 1-10. In 1978, behind one of the best running backs in D-II, Eastern Illinois made it to the National Championship game in Longview, Texas, where it met Delaware and emerged victorious with a 10-9 win. The team finished 12-2 that season and it remains the only football championship in the school’s history.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

After his short, but successful, coaching time at Eastern Illinois, Shanahan went to the University of Minnesota to fill the Golden Gophers’ offensive coordinator position in 1979. Former Northern Arizona head coach Joe Salem was recently hired by the Golden Gophers. After two successful seasons together at Northern Arizona, their season in Minnesota was a disappointment, as the team limped to a 4-6-1 record and sixth in the Big Ten conference. After a year to forget in Minnesota, Shanahan took the experience in stride and landed a job in the Southeastern Conference with the University of Florida Gators.

Florida Gators

The Gators went 0-10-1 the year before Shanahan was hired, the worst in school history. In 1980, Shanahan, as the offensive coordinator, helped the team to an 8-4 record and a fourth-place finish in the SEC. The team finished ranked number 19 in the coaches’ poll his first year with the team. It was the first time in college football history that a team went winless and then earned a bowl bid the following season. The next season, the Gators finished 7-5 and 3-3 in the SEC, tied for fourth place at season’s end with a loss to West Virginia in the Peach Bowl. In Shanahan’s final year at Florida, 1983, the team enjoyed the most success in his time in Gainesville. The team finished 9-2-1 overall and third in the SEC with a number 6 national ranking to boot. The team was undefeated and ranked number 5 in the nation when it met number 4 ranked Auburn in week eight and fell to the Tigers 28-21. The next week, Florida met Georgia, also ranked number 4 and lost that game 10-9. The number 11 ranked Gators went on to win the Gator Bowl over number 10 ranked Iowa 14-6. During his three seasons with the Gators, Shanahan coached several NFL draft picks, including future NFL head coach Mike Mularkey.

NFL Coaching Career

Denver Broncos

After nearly ten years in the college ranks, Shanahan entered the NFL with the Denver Broncos. He accepted the position of wide receivers coach in 1984. Behind head coach Dan Reeves, the Broncos went 13-3 and claimed the AFC West Division title. A loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the opening round of the playoffs ended Denver’s season. In 1985, Shanahan added the titles of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach to his name. Behind an improving offense, the Broncos achieved an 11-5 record. Despite this, the team missed the playoffs. The 1986 season brought with it one of the greatest AFC Championship games in the history of the NFL. What is now simply known as ‘The Drive,’ John Elway led the Broncos 98 yards in five minutes and two seconds against the Cleveland Browns to score and tie the game with just thirty seven seconds left. Denver won the game 23-20 in overtime. The Broncos went on to lose the Super Bowl to the Giants 39-20. In 1987, Denver returned to the Super Bowl after defeating the Browns in the AFC Championship for the second straight season, but again lost the sport’s biggest game 42-10 to the Washington Redskins.

Los Angeles Raiders

The next season, Shanahan became the head coach of the Los Angeles Raiders, a division foe of the Broncos. He took the reins of a team that had gone 5-10 in 1987. The team improved, finishing 7-9 with a third place finish in the AFC West. Shanahan coached the first four games of the 1989 season, but was fired after a 1-3 start. Shanahan’s time in Los Angeles was extremely tumultuous as he was not popular with either the players or owner Al Davis. He and Shanahan possessed two very different leadership styles.

Return to Denver

Shanahan returned to Denver the following season, 1990, as quarterbacks coach. However, Shanahan only stayed in Denver two seasons. After a poor 1990 season, the team won the 1991 AFC West and made the AFC championship game, where they lost to the Buffalo Bills. After that, Shanahan accepted the offensive coordinator position with the San Francisco 49ers.

San Francisco 49ers

Shanahan’s three seasons as the 49ers offensive coordinator were very successful. During this stretch of time, the 49ers went 37-11, with one Super Bowl victory (1994) and two more appearances in the NFC championship game. Quarterback Steve Young won both of his league MVP awards with Shanahan as his offensive coordinator. In addition to Young’s awards, wide receiver Jerry Rice won Offensive Player of the Year in 1993. After three seasons, Shanahan returned to Denver for his third stint with the team, this time as head coach.

Head Coach of Denver

In his first season as head coach of the Denver Broncos, the team went 8-8. Behind an emerging young running back, Terrell Davis, they improved to finish the next season 13-3, but lost in the first round of the playoffs 30-27 to the Jaguars. Led by both one of the strongest offenses and one of the strongest defenses in the league, the Broncos won the next two Super Bowls. In 1998, Davis rushed for 2,008 yards, becoming only the 4th running back to surpass 2,000 yards in a season. Davis then won the NFL MVP award. Denver finished 6-10 in 1999, but made the playoffs in 2000 when it lost in the wild card round 21-3 to the Baltimore Ravens. The next time Shanahan and the Broncos made the playoffs was 2003, when they lost in the wild card round again, this time 41-10 to the Indianapolis Colts. The Broncos lost to the Colts in the same round the following season 49-24. Eventual Super Bowl champions Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Broncos in the AFC Championship game 34-17 in 2005. This is when things got rocky for Shanahan in Denver. The Broncos missed the playoffs each of the next three seasons, causing Shanahan to be fired at the end of the 2008 season.

Washington Redskins

After sitting out one season, Shanahan came back with the Washington Redskins as the team’s head coach and vice president of football operations. Shanahan finished his first two seasons with a disappointing 11-21 record, but a seven-game win streak won the Redskins the 2010 NFC East division title, the team’s first since 1999.


Year Position Record Playoff record
2013 Washington Redskins Head Coach 3-13-0 0-0
2012 Washington Redskins Head Coach 10-6-0 0-1
2011 Washington Redskins Head Coach 5-11-0 0-0
2010 Washington Redskins Head Coach 6-10-0 0-0
2008 Denver Broncos Head Coach 8-8-0 0-0
2007 Denver Broncos Head Coach 7-9-0 0-0
2006 Denver Broncos Head Coach 9-7-0 0-0
2005 Denver Broncos Head Coach 13-3-0 1-1
2004 Denver Broncos Head Coach 10-6-0 0-1
2003 Denver Broncos Head Coach 10-6-0 0-1
2002 Denver Broncos Head Coach 9-7-0 0-0
2001 Denver Broncos Head Coach 8-8-0 0-0
2000 Denver Broncos Head Coach 11-5-0 0-1
1999 Denver Broncos Head Coach 6-10-0 0-0
1998 Denver Broncos Head Coach 14-2-0 3-0
1997 Denver Broncos Head Coach 12-4-0 4-0
1996 Denver Broncos Head Coach 13-3-0 0-1
1995 Denver Broncos Head Coach 8-8-0 0-0
1994 San Francisco 49ers Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks Coach 13-3-0 3-0
1993 San Francisco 49ers Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks Coach 10-6-0 1-1
1992 San Francisco 49ers Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks Coach 14-2-0 1-1
1991 Denver Broncos Offensive Coordinator 12-4-0 1-1
1990 Denver Broncos Quarterbacks Coach 5-11-0 0-0
1989 Los Angeles Raiders Head Coach 1-3-0 0-0
1988 Los Angeles Raiders Head Coach 7-9-0 0-0
1987 Denver Broncos Offensive Coordinator 10-4-1 2-1
1986 Denver Broncos Offensive Coordinator 11-5-0 2-1
1985 Denver Broncos Offensive Coordinator 11-5-0 0-0
1984 Denver Broncos Wide Receivers Coach 13-3-0 0-1
1983 Florida Gators Offensive Coordinator 9-2-1
1982 Florida Gators Offensive Coordinator 8-4-0
1981 Florida Gators Offensive Coordinator 7-5-0
1980 Florida Gators Offensive Coordinator 8-4-0
1979 Minnesota Golden Gophers Offensive Coordinator 4-6-1
1976 Oklahoma Sooners Offensive Assistant Coach 9-2-1
1975 Oklahoma Sooners Offensive Assistant Coach 11-1-0

Coach history guide

Seasons with a championship win Seasons with a conference championship

Coach facts

  • Years as head coach: 20
  • Years as a coordinator: 7
  • Championships won: 1994, 1997, and 1998
  • Conference Championships won: 1986, 1987, 1994, 1997, and 1998
  • First in total wins for the Denver Broncos.
  • Third in winning percentage for the Denver Broncos.
  • Most playoff wins in Denver Broncos history (8)
  • Past teams coached for: Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Raiders
  • College Attended: Eastern Illinois Panthers
  • Family Members: Kyle Shanahan, Son
  • Date of Birth: Sunday, August 24, 1952 (71 years old), Oak Park, Illinois
  • Mike Shanahan played quarterback at East Illinois. During practice, he got hit so hard that it ruptrued a kidney. It stopped his heart for 30 seconds and a priest performed his Last Rites.
  • Mike Shanahan , during his first year of working with the Broncos (and QB John Elway) criticized Elway for his conditioning. To counter that, Shanahan became Elway's lifting and running partner prior to the 1984 season.