Longtime Steelers scout Bill Nunn was posthumously enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio on Wednesday, along with eight other deceased members of the Hall of Fame classes of 2020 and 2021.
The private ceremony was recorded for a special to air on NFL Network on Saturday following the end of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Nunn’s bronze bust was unveiled by his granddaughter, Cydney Nunn. Nunn, who worked for the Steelers from 1967-2014 in a number of roles, became the first African-American enshrined as a contributor.
“It’s incredible he is the first black contributor to be in the Hall of Fame,” Cydney Nunn said. “He made such a huge impact on this sport as we know it, the way he scouted players and how he opened doors for so many black athletes.”
Nunn, who died in 2014, was a key figure in the Steelers’ success in the 1970s and helped revolutionize the scouting process for players at historically black colleges and universities, that had been previously underrepresented in the NFL. He was voted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021 in February.
A Homewood native, Nunn attended Westinghouse High School and played basketball West Virginia State College before moving on to a career in journalism with the Pittsburgh Courier, where he was a sportswriter, sports editor and eventually managing editor of what was at the time one of the most influential black publications in the country.
In 1969, thanks to Nunn’s scouting, the Steelers struck gold by landing defensive end L.C. Greenwood out of Arkansas Pine-Bluff in the 10th round of the NFL Draft. In 1970, they look Mel Blount out of Southern in the third round. In 1972, they got Ernie Holmes from Texas Southern in the eighth round and in 1974, in one of the best draft classes in NFL history, the Steelers took John Stallworth from Alabama A&M in the fourth round and signed Donnie Shell from South Carolina State as an undrafted free agent.
“Bill meant everything to the Steelers organization,” general manager Kevin Colbert said to Steelers.com. “It’s been documented, the players he was instrument in bringing to the Steelers and the success they had. We as young scouts were fortunate to be around Bill and try and learn things they implemented when they put those teams together. There were a lot of lessons being taught to us.”
The living members of the Classes of 2020 and 2021, including former Steelers safeties Troy Polamalu and Donnie Shell, guard Alan Faneca and head coach Bill Cowher, will be enshrined in separate public ceremonies at the Hall of Fame this August 7-8.