On Friday, June 13, American sports lost one of its greatest coaches. On that day, Charles Henry Noll, also known as Chuck Noll, died from natural causes in his adopted hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Chuck Noll was one of the NFL’s great coaches. For a sport as wildly popular as professional football, it takes a great deal of success to be placed into the highest echelon of coaches or players. Chuck Noll certainly earned his place as one of the sport’s greatest coaches.
Noll was the 14th head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers and began his work as the head coach in 1969. It didn’t take long for his genius and skill to pass along to the players he led. The famous “Steel Curtain” defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers came from the mind of Noll, a major contributor to the team’s notorious success. By 1980, Noll had won the Super Bowl in 1975, 1976, 1979, and 1980.
There are few coaches in the NFL that can match the accomplishments of Chuck Noll. Still, Noll did not receive much recognition for his efforts until many years after his Super Bowl victories. In memory of Chuck Noll, here are some quotes of what others had to say about the man and the coach:
Steelers owner Dan Rooney on Chuck: “He never won Coach of the Year until 1989, but he didn’t care about those things. He did what he felt was right, and it carried over obviously to the football team. Chuck Noll was a coach who always was concerned with the basics of the sport. He always used to say, ‘This game is blocking and tackling,’ and to him that was playing the game the way it should be played.”
Joe Greene on Chuck’s leadership: “Chuck was just the ultimate leader. He had truth and belief in what he was saying, and over time all of those things he said were validated, the things about winning football games and being a solid citizen.”
Dick Hoak on Chuck’s legitimacy as a coach: “He’s the one who turned the thing around. I played for a bunch of coaches, three or four coaches. You could tell it was going nowhere until he came. And you knew he had a plan. He knew what he wanted to do. He had the respect of all the players.”