The coaching legend who took the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl championships in the 1970’s passed away on Friday night. Chuck Noll died in his home in Sewickley. He was 82.
Paramedics were called to the house by Noll’s wife, Marianne at 9:45 p.m. ET when she found him unresponsive. He was declared dead 10 minutes later. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner said he died of natural causes.
Noll had suffered from severe back pain in recent years that limited his mobility and forced him to walk with two canes.
When the Black and Gold brought him on board in 1969, Noll had not been a head coach before in his career. The Steelers had won just 18 games in the past five seasons and had played in only one postseason contest in 34 years. In his first year, Pittsburgh finished a dismal 1-13, but the turnaround had been planted when Noll drafted defensive tackle Mean Joe Greene as his first NFL draft pick.
Next up, Noll and the Steelers drafted quarterback Terry Bradshaw and cornerback Mel Blount in 1970; linebacker Jack Ham in 1971; running back Franco Harris along with wide receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth in 1972; middle linebacker Jack Lambert and center Mike Webster in 1974.
From 1969 to 1991, Noll guided Pittsburgh to Super Bowl wins in 1974 over the Vikings, 1975 over the Cowboys, 1978 over the Rams, and 1979 over the Cowboys, again. He was 16-8 in the playoffs with nine AFC Central titles, making him one of the most successful coaches in postseason history. In 23 seasons on the sidelines, Noll’s teams went 209-156-1 overall.
It was less than two years after Noll retired, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility back in 1993.
Charles Henry Noll was born on January 5, 1932 in Cleveland. He was an offensive lineman at the University of Dayton and was drafted by the Browns in 1953. He remained with Paul Brown’s squad until he retired at age 28 in 1959. He was going to take a coaching job at Dayton, but was hired instead by Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers coach Sid Gillman. He served under Gillman in the American Football League for six seasons before becoming the defensive backs coach for the Baltimore Colts under Don Shula from 1966 to 1968.
Noll is survived by his wife, son Chris, and two grandchildren, Katie and Connor.