Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin joined the Slippery Rock football team meeting by video conference on Friday, as The Rock head into the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II playoffs on Saturday.
Slippery Rock is hosting Kutztown at noon on Saturday, and Tomlin took a few minutes to talk with the players before their big game.
“You are prepared and you are with the right group,” Tomlin said, via RockAthletics.com “I love relentless (SRU’s team theme this year). I message with Coach Lutz about it all the time. I am unrelenting. I can relate to that. You are in the right place at the right moment. You are ready, individually and collectively. It’s an honor to be with you guys today. I am with you one thousand percent.”
Shawn Lutz is in his 28th season at Slippery Rock and eighth as a head coach. The Massillon, Ohio native and West Virginia alum has taken SRU to five straight NCAA playoff appearances. They last made the national semifinals in 2019. Tomlin and Lutz have connected in the past.
“I have known Coach Tomlin for a long time and he has always been supportive of our program,” said Lutz. “He certainly didn’t need to take time out of his schedule to join us today but we’re so appreciative that he thought highly enough of our program to want to say a few words to our team. We want to thank him and the Steelers for making that happen today.”
The connection between Slippery Rock and the Steelers has been closer than usual for the last few years. Safety Eddie Faulkner IV is the son of Steelers interim offensive coordinator Eddie Faulkner.
“Coach Faulkner has been awesome to our program,” said Lutz. “He follows all of our games, is always posting about our team success and is always willing to provide advice and guidance to our players and our staff. We’re grateful to have such a strong organization like the Steelers in our backyard.”