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Bill Cowher on the Rooneys: 'What they stand for speaks for itself'

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Former Steelers head coach and Hall of Famer Bill Cowher recently had a one-on-one interview with DJ Sixsmith of CBS to talk about his new memoir Heart and Steel that goes on sale this Tuesday.

The Steelers have had just three coaches since 1969 -- Chuck Noll, Cowher and Mike Tomlin -- it's an incredible streak of consistency and a model that other sports franchises dream of. Cowher talked about the stability when it comes to Steelers head coaches, which all begins with the late Dan Rooney, who hired Noll, Cowher and Tomlin.

"The more we talked, the more we felt like there was a connection there," Cowher said when Rooney hired him in 1992. "And it wasn't about football, it was more about family. I had three young daughters at the time, and he kept asking more about my family than he did about football."

Cowher was following a legend in Noll and by the time he retired in 2006, Cowher won a Super Bowl title and had a Hall of Fame career, as well.

"I was able to live there for 15 years with my parents able to see their grandkids. Growing up where I grew up, it's a storybook tale that you're talking about, but at the same time, it was (a) responsibility that I had," Cowher said. "The growth that I had while in Pittsburgh because of the Rooney family, their core values was very family-oriented. And it just matched and met with what we were trying to do in raising a family in Pittsburgh and how I was raised in Pittsburgh."

Cowher says that family atmosphere with the Rooneys still carries on with Mike Tomlin as the team's head coach. And that's why he thinks they're so successful and consistent.

"You know what, Mike's a leader of men. You watch these guys, they play hard for him," Cowher said. "The consistency with which he has won. He continues to win, deals with whatever you throw at him. Two years ago doesn't even have a quarterback for the full year, he had maybe one of the best coaching jobs I think he's done. I just think he's been very consistent. He's a family guy, just like the Rooneys like to have. My gosh, a pretty good run of coaches, three coaches now for over 50 years. And you're going to see the same core values in all three coaches. These are guys that stand for all the right things. The Rooney family whether it's "The Chief," whether it's Dan (and) now Art ... what they stand for speaks for itself. And again, being a part of that and being a part of Pittsburgh, it's the best job in football. I've said it before and I'll never deviate from that statement. There's a lot of other places that are good and they do it their way, but that way was the right place for me at the right time, and it's funny because all of us came in there around the same ages -- Mike was like 34, too. So, we all came there right around that same age. All of a sudden when you get to that point, family is important to you, and being a part of a culture and being a part of an organization where they prioritize it as well, it's a blessing."

Cowher announced on St. Patrick's Day that Steelers president Art Rooney II will be his Hall of Fame presenter on Aug. 7.


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