Steelers’ ‘Dynasty Builder’ Enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame

Pittsburgh Steelers helmet

Getty Images Pittsburgh Steelers helmet.

On Wednesday evening legendary former Pittsburgh Steelers scout Bill Nunn was posthumously enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame during a special ceremony in Canton, Ohio.

“It’s still a little bit surreal for Bill to get recognized like this,” said Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert in an interview with Teresa Varley of “Tonight, we finally come to the realization of how great an honor this is and how great an honor it was to know and work with a man like Bill Nunn,” who passed away in 2014 at the age of 89.

“Bill meant everything to the Steelers organization,” added Colbert. “It’s been documented, the players he was instrumental in bringing to the Steelers and the success they had. We as young scouts were fortunate to be around Bill and try and learn things they implemented when they put those teams together. There were a lot of lessons being taught to us.”

Nunn, who worked in a variety of roles in Pittsburgh’s personnel department between 1967 and 2014, was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a Contributor as part of the Class of 2021. He is the first African-American Contributor elected to Canton, having previously been elected to the Black College Football Hall of Fame. Prior to joining the Steelers as a scout, he worked as a sportswriter and newspaper editor.

Cydney Nunn Unveiled Bill Nunn’s Hall of Fame Bust

Bill Nunn’s granddaughter, Cydney Nunn, unveiled her grandfather’s Hall of Fame bust. She was also given a Hall of Fame plaque, which features a swatch of the Gold Jacket that is presented to Hall of Famers.

“I know my grandfather probably didn’t think he was going to be in the Hall of Fame,” Nunn told Varley. “That wasn’t necessarily a goal of his. This has been a huge memorable historic time for our family. We are happy we are able to be here to represent his legacy.”

Nunn is famous for helping the Steelers find talent from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that other NFL teams largely ignored. In fact, the Steelers had 24 HBCU players between 1969-74, including defensive end L.C. Greenwood (Arkansas Pine Bluff, 1969), wide receiver Frank Lewis (Grambling State, 1971), defensive tackle Ernie Holmes (Texas Southern, 1971) and quarterback Joe Gilliam (Tennessee State, 1972). Never mind Pro Football Hall of Famers John Stallworth (Alabama A&M) and Donnie Shell (South Carolina State), both of whom were added in 1974. Those players were key components of a Steelers team that won four Super Bowls in the 1970s, which is part of the reason Nunn has been referred to as ‘The Dynasty Builder,’ the title of a documentary short (see below) that debuted on ESPN in September 2020.

Wednesday’s Ceremony Will be Broadcast on NFL Network on May 1

During the ceremony, dubbed ‘Hall of Fame Forever,’ eight other members of the Hall of Fame were posthumously enshrined, a list that Steve Sabol (NFL Films), Bobby Dillon, Winston Hill, Alex Karras, Duke Slater, Mac Speedie, Ed Sprinkle and George Young.

The ceremony will be part of an NFL Network special, ‘Hall of Fame Forever: Enshrinement Special,’ which will air on Saturday, May 1 after the conclusion of the 2021 NFL Draft.

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