Chuck Noll, a hall of fame National Football League coach who led the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl titles over six seasons in the 1970s, has died. He was 82.
He died yesterday at his home in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, according to a statement on the team’s website. No other details were provided.
Noll, who spent his entire 23-year head coaching career at Pittsburgh, is the only coach to lead a team to four Super Bowl titles and never lost a championship game. He won the titles after the 1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979 seasons.
When Noll took over as coach in 1969, the Steelers had never won a championship of any kind in 36 years of NFL play and had only eight winning seasons, according to the team’s website. Pittsburgh went 1-13 in his first season. He ended his coaching career after the 1991 season with a 193-148-1 record. Noll was inducted into the Canton, Ohio-based Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.
Under Noll, the Steelers used the annual NFL college player draft to build its winning teams. His first selection, with the No. 1 pick, was Joe Greene, a defensive tackle from North Texas State, who was named the NFL defensive rookie of the year.
Greene was among 11 players from Noll’s rosters who went on to hall of fame enshrinement, including Terry Bradshaw, the quarterback in the four Super Bowl wins and the most value player in the last two; Franco Harris, the MVP running back in the first championship; and Lynn Swann, the MVP receiver in the second championship.
“When Chuck became our head coach he brought a change to the whole culture of the organization,” Steelers President Art Rooney II said in a statement released by the team. “He set a new standard for the Steelers that still is the foundation of what we do and who we are. From the players to the coaches to the front office down to the ball boys, he taught us all what it took to be a winner.”
Charles Henry Noll was born on Jan. 5, 1932, in Cleveland, Ohio, to a German-American family, according to a statement on the hall of fame website. After graduating from the University of Dayton, where he was captain of the football team, he played for the Cleveland Browns as a 6-foot-1, 220-pound guard and linebacker from 1953 to 1959.
From 1960 to 1965, Noll was an assistant defensive coach with the Chargers in Los Angeles and then San Diego, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. He coached the defensive backfield for the Baltimore Colts from 1966 to 1968.
At Pittsburgh, his first Super Bowl was a 16-6 win over the Minnesota Vikings. The next year, the Steelers beat the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 in the title game. Three years later, Pittsburgh beat Dallas again for the championship, 35-31. Noll won his final Super Bowl the following season in a 31-19 victory against the Los Angeles Rams.
With his wife, Marianne, he had one son, Chris, according to Marquis Who’s Who.