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Pittsburgh area native, Marty Schottenheimer, passes away at age 77

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Marty Schottenheimer, a native of Canonsburg, Pa., died Monday night at a hospice in Charlotte, N.C. He was 77. Schottenheimer was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014 and was moved to a hospice on Jan. 30.

Schottenheimer was the eighth-winningest coach in NFL history. He went 200-126-1 in 21 seasons with the Browns, Chiefs, Washington and Chargers.

Schottenheimer turned the Browns around in the 1980s and did the same with the Chiefs in the 1990s. Schottenheimer had a strong coaching tree that included former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher among others.

Cowher played for Schottenheimer in Cleveland and got his first coaching position when Schottenheimer was promoted from defensive coordinator to the Browns head coach in 1984. Cowher was the special teams coach in Cleveland from 1984-1985 and was the defensive backs coach from 1987-1988. Cowher followed Schottenheimer to Kansas City when he was named the Chiefs head coach in 1989. Cowher served as the defensive coordinator under Schottenheimer from 1989-1991 before being hired by the Steelers to be their head coach in 1992.

Cowher shared his memories of Schottenheimer and expressed his condolences to the Schottenheimer family on Twitter.

Schottenheimer went to Fort Cherry High School in McDonald, Pa. and played center and linebacker at Pitt from 1961-1964. As a linebacker, Schottenheimer was selected in the fourth round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Colts and in the seventh round of the 1965 American Football League draft by the Bills. He signed with the Bills and spent the next four seasons with Buffalo, including the Bills' 1965 AFL Championship season, when he was selected to the AFL All-Star Team.

Prior to the start of the 1969 regular season, Schottenheimer was sent to Boston and spent the next two seasons with the Patriots. He was traded to the Steelers in July 1971 for Mike Haggerty and was traded again to the Colts before the beginning of the 1971 season for an undisclosed draft pick. Schottenheimer ended up retiring then.

Coach Schottenheimer made it fun to be a Browns fan again in the 1980s,” Pitt head football coach Pat Narduzzi said in a statement. “He really revitalized that team and made them an annual Super Bowl contender. He was a tremendous coach, but an even better leader. I think that’s why he raised the level of every organization he ever joined. We are proud to call him a Pitt Man and our entire program extends its deepest sympathies to the Schottenheimer family.

“On behalf of the University of Pittsburgh, we send our heartfelt condolences to Coach Schottenheimer’s wife, Pat, his children, Brian and Kristen, and many loved ones,” Director of Athletics Heather Lyke said. “As a Canton native, I saw firsthand the excitement he brought to Cleveland. With more than 200 victories coaching in the NFL, it is evident that he brought excellence to each of his coaching stops. Pitt takes great pride in his wonderful legacy as coach, leader and man.”

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