On Monday longtime NFL head Marty Schottenheimer passed away in Charlotte, N.C. at the age of 77. Schottenheimer, who led four NFL teams over the course of 21 seasons, had been battling Alzheimer’s disease since 2014.
In the wake of the sad news, former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher posted a touching tribute on Twitter, writing, in part:
“It’s hard to put into words what Marty Schottenheimer meant to me. I played for him, I coached for him…. He was an amazing coach, teacher, leader, and most importantly, my friend…. I will always be indebted for the guidance and support.
“…. Marty, you always said, ‘There’s a gleam, men!’ That gleam is, and always was, YOU! Rest in Peace, Coach. I LOVE YOU. May your spirit live on forever.”
Bill Cowher Played and Coached for Marty Schottenheimer
It’s easy to understand why Bill Cowher feels indebted to Schottenheimer, who was the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns while Cowher played linebacker for the team. After Schottenheimer became head coach in Cleveland, he hired Cowher to be his special teams coordinator, a job Cowher held for two years until he was promoted to secondary coach.
Then, when Schottenheimer moved on to become the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, Cowher served as his defensive coordinator for three years until he was hired as head coach of the Steelers in 1992.
Schottenheimer went on to coach the Chiefs for a total of 10 seasons before he posted a single 8-8 season with Washington and then five more years with the San Diego Chargers. In the end, he compiled a regular season record of 200-126-1, but was never able to get one of his teams to the Super Bowl. Yet the style of play favored by his teams—built around running the ball and playing tough defense—earned the nickname Martyball.
More Steelers Connections
Bill Cowher wasn’t the only former Steelers coach Schottenheimer hired and mentored. He also hired Tony Dungy to be his defensive backs coach in Kansas City after Dungy had served as defensive coordinator for five years in Pittsburgh. Dungy, of course, went on to become the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts, and is now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (Class of 2016).
On Tuesday, Dungy posted a condolences tweet:
Also, during the same period in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Cowher and Dungy worked for Schottenheimer, former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians (and current head coach of the Super Bowl-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers) was his running backs coach.
Last but not least, it’s also worth noting that current Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin shares an NFL record with Schottenheimer, namely, most consecutive non-losing seasons to start a career (14). Tomlin will attempt to break that record in 2021.
Schottenheimer is survived by his wife of 54 years and two children, including longtime NFL coach Brian Schottenheimer.
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