Bill Cowher was one of the most respected head coaches in NFL history, piloting the venerable Pittsburgh Steelers from 1992 until 2007 and winning Super Bowl XL. Cowher had a brief career playing football for the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns, primarily on special teams. His knowledge and leadership made him keenly suited for a move to the sidelines and he became an assistant coach with the Browns in 1985. That served as a portent of things to come, and seven years later Cowher landed the coveted Steelers job. He succeeded Chuck Noll, who retired after 23 seasons coaching in Pittsburgh and four Super Bowl wins. Cowher's Steelers would prevail in Super Bowl XL over the Seattle Seahawks, held in February of 2006. Less than a year later, Cowher retired from coaching football and became a studio analyst with CBS.
Born William Laird Cowher on May 8, 1957 in Crafton, Pennsylvania, he attended nearby Carlynton High School. Cowher went on to North Carolina State where he ran track and played basketball. He also played linebacker and served as captain of the football team. It was during these years that he met his wife, Kaye Young, who played basketball at NC State. Cowher graduated in 1979 and, though he went undrafted, caught on as a linebacker with the Philadelphia Eagles. He played three seasons with the Cleveland Browns before returning to the Eagles for his final two years as a player. That stint with the Browns proved to be pivotal, as Cowher became the special teams coach under Marty Schottenheimer in 1985. Cowher moved with Schottenheimer to the Kansas City Chiefs in 1989 and served as defensive coordinator before taking the Steelers job in 1992.
In his first year as head coach, Cowher was named Coach of the Year by the Associated Press and the Sporting News. He received the latter honor again in 2004. Cowher led the Steelers to an AFC title in 1995 but fell to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XXX. He would have to wait 10 years for another shot at a championship in Super Bowl XL. Cowher posted a career record of 149-90-1 as head coach and grew into a Pittsburgh icon in his 15 years at the helm. After his retirement from coaching, Cowher went on to serve as a studio analyst for "The NFL Today" (CBS, 1961-1993; 1998-). Cowher also played a small part as coach of the Gotham Rogues in "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012), and has worked as a spokesperson for Time Warner Cable.