Chuck Noll, the long-time Steelers head coach who presided over the Steel Curtain era in Pittsburgh, passed away in his sleep Friday night. The Hall of Fame coach, who suffered from Alzheimers and a heart condition, died of natural causes. Noll, who coached the Steelers from 1969 to 1991, won all four Super Bowls he coached in, the most in the NFL. During his time with the team, the Steelers drafted nine Hall of Famers, including his first year selection, Joe Greene, as well as Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann and Franco Harris among others.
Noll, obviously, had interests outside of Football—including flying, sailing, gardening, and boozing—and Myron Cope, the late voice of the Steelers, called him a "Renaissance man." The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette collected some Noll stories before his induction into the 1993 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Cope remembers the time Noll came to his house in Upper St. Clair to tape the pregame radio show. Cope had a radio studio in his basement, and Noll lived only a couple blocks away. A couple of days earlier, Noll had recommended a stereo system Cope was seeking to purchase. When Noll walked in the door, "He right away said, 'How's the stereo?' " Cope said.
"I told him I haven't been able to hook it up. Well, out came the spectacles from the pocket and for 20 minutes he sets up the stereo. From them on, I called him my handyman."
More on Noll's handymaning, this time for Steelers PR man Joe Gordon and his busted filing cabinet:
"He could see this thing was askew," Gordon said. "It wasn't on right."
So here was Noll, the only coach in National Football League history to win four Super Bowls, doing what he does best — fix something that's broken. He did it with the Steelers' franchise, shortly after becoming their coach in 1969. Now he was doing it with the public relations man's filing cabinet. Two hours before kickoff and he's lying on the office floor, screwdriver in hand, putting the darn thing back together.
Gordon remained friends with Noll and said he spoke with Mrs. Noll Friday night and she said he was fine. When she checked on him after he went to bed, however, she found him unresponsive. Drop any other Chuck Noll stories you might have in the discussion below.
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