As a longtime NFL coach and mentor to hundreds of players and fellow coaches, Marty Schottenheimer meant a lot to a lot of people. His coaching tree is one of the most extensive in NFL history, with a four of his former proteges going on to win Super Bowls.
With Schottenheimer’s death this week, many have reflected on the impact Schottenheimer had on their lives.
That group includes former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher, who played and coached for Schottenheimer and likely owed a good portion of his career to his former coach.
Cowher was a linebacker for the Cleveland Browns from 1980-82, while Schottenheimer was defensive coordinator in Cleveland. In 1985, at the end of Cowher’s playing career, Schottenheimer had been promoted to head coach and he gave Cowher his first coaching job.
Cowher was the Browns’ special teams coach for two years in 1985 and 1986. In 1987, he moved to defensive backs coach for two more seasons.
When Schottenheimer left Cleveland to take the head coaching job with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1989, he took Cowher with him to be the Chiefs defensive coordinator. From there, Cowher became a head coaching candidate that caught the eye of Steelers owner Dan Rooney, who hired him in 1992.
“It’s hard to put into words what Marty Schottenheimer meant to me,” Cowher said on Tuesday. “I played for him, I coached for him. He mentored me from the moment I met him. He was an amazing coach, teacher, leader, and most importantly, my friend. My condolences to Pat, Kristen and Brian. I will always be indebted for the guidance and support he provided. The NFL lost a legend, but heaven has been blessed with a leader. 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.”