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Steelers sign Cowher to 2-year extension

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  • Steelers sign Cowher to 2-year extension news services
    PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher signed a two-year contract extension Monday -- the second time since 2001 he has agreed to a new deal after his team missed the playoffs the preceding season.

    The extension, which carries through the 2007 season, is expected to keep Cowher's salary competitive with those of the game's highest-paid head coaches. Cowher's current deal pays him $3 million per season, and team president Art Rooney II said the coach was given a raise in his new contract.

    Cowher agreed to his current contract, which runs through the 2005 season, after the Steelers rebounded from consecutive losing seasons by going 9-7 in 2000 but still missed the playoffs.

    The 47-year-old Cowher has a 115-76-1 record in 12 seasons, with only three losing seasons. His seven division titles are the fifth most in NFL coaching history, and the Steelers have reached the playoffs 12 times under Cowher despite missing them four of the last six seasons.

    "I can't think of a better job," said Cowher, a Pittsburgh native. "To me, it's not about the market or the money, to me it's about winning. ... I never could have imagined coaching another team."

    Under Cowher, the Steelers have played in the Super Bowl once and appeared in four AFC title games, but the franchise has not won an NFL title since the fourth and last of their Super Bowl wins under former coach Chuck Noll during the 1979 season.

    "He's at the point where he's made enough money, he's raising his family, he's been successful, and there's only one thing left to do and we feel he can do it here, and that's win a championship," Rooney said. "That's what it comes down to: Do you believe your coach can win a championship for you?"

    Cowher called not winning the Super Bowl "the void" in his career he is trying to fill.

    "It's about doing what I was brought here to do 12 years ago, for one of the classiest owners in the league [Dan Rooney], if not the classiest owner in the league, and that's what drives me and will continue to drive me," Cowher said.

    Cowher has traditionally signed extensions with two years remaining on his contract, and did so again this year. The Steelers begin training camp Friday, and both sides sought to get a deal done before then to avoid distractions. In the past, the team usually has not negotiated contracts once a season begins.

    Cowher has the most seniority of any active NFL coach, and only eight coaches have coached one team longer than Cowher has -- including Noll, who coached the Steelers from 1969 to 1991. Cowher's 122 career victories, counting postseason wins, are second in team history to Noll's 209.

    "We have a system where the players come and go, and the best way to deal with that is have coaching stability," Rooney said. "We think their record has proven that's a pretty good way to go about it."

    While the Steelers change coaches less frequently than any other team in major pro sports -- they have had only two coaches in 35 years -- Cowher goes into this season following yet another realignment of his coaching staff.

    The Steelers fired defensive coordinator Tim Lewis after last season and brought back Dick LeBeau, who previously held the job in the mid 1990s. Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey also left to become the Bills' coach and was replaced by Ken Whisenhunt, formerly an offensive assistant. Offensive line coach Russ Grimm also added the title of assistant head coach.

    Information from senior writer Len Pasquarelli and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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  • Nick
    Steelers expect Cowher to quit, management looking at replacements
    by Nick
    Steelers expect Cowher to quit
    Team management puts together a list of head-coaching candidates for when the 15-year veteran retires, as they think he'll do after today
    Sunday, December 31, 2006
    By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Steelers management has compiled a list of head coaching candidates when, as they expect, Bill Cowher steps down after he concludes his 15th season on the job in Cincinnati today.

    Although Mr. Cowher, 49, said last Tuesday that it would not be long before he makes an announcement clearing up his plans, no press conference is scheduled and none may occur this week in Pittsburgh, at least not with Mr. Cowher present.

    Mr. Cowher plans to meet with his players at the team's UPMC complex on the South Side Tuesday and then leave for his new home in Raleigh, N.C., where his wife, Kaye, and youngest daughter, Lindsay, a high school sophomore, have lived most of the past year.

    He has not informed his players or his coaching staff of his plans. Steelers chairman Dan Rooney and his son, team president Art Rooney II, have not commented on the situation.

    The Rooneys would join Kevin Colbert, the director of football operations, in heading a coaching search, the team's first since 1992. At that time, the Steelers interviewed about a dozen candidates for the job, including current Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt, one of two finalists for the position that Mr. Cowher landed after longtime coach Chuck Noll retired.

    Two members of Mr. Cowher's offensive staff are considered the prime candidates to take his place: Russ Grimm, the assistant head coach and line coach, and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. The Steelers also want to interview outside candidates, including University of Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, an Upper St. Clair native. The NFL requires each team to interview a minority coach -- called the Rooney Rule because Dan Rooney proposed it -- and the Steelers will do that.

    If and when Mr. Cowher quits, the team expects to move quickly to replace him.

    Mr. Cowher has one year left on a contract that pays him an estimated $4 million to $5 million a year. Talks to extend his deal broke off in August. If he steps down, he could not coach elsewhere until 2008.

    Sources on both sides have told the Post-Gazette that more than one issue has led Mr. Cowher to this crossroads in his career. Part of it is money. The Steelers offered Mr. Cowher between $6 million and $6.5 million annually near the end of a contract extension. That's an amount Mr. Cowher may consider below market for a coach with his record, especially since that salary would not kick in for another three or four years.

    The coach he beat in the Super Bowl last February, Seattle's Mike Holmgren, earns an estimated $8 million to $10 million a year, and Washington's Joe Gibbs earns anywhere from a reported $5...
    -12-31-2006, 12:10 PM
  • Drew
    Grimm or Tomlin????
    by Drew
    the guy whose been in the NFL for a long long time including a long and succesful playing carear(Grimm) and a part of the old guard under the previous SB winning HC..........or a Very promising tho slightly inexperianced 34 year Tomlin with fresh ideas(kinda like Cowher when he was hired!) and maybe the face of the Steelers for the next 30plus years( y`all know how the ronneys run their ship!) ????

    im thinking Tomlin how about you??
    -01-21-2007, 08:02 PM
  • OldRamsfan
    Cowher trying yet again to win elusive Super Bowl
    by OldRamsfan

    PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher was talking to reporters when one mentioned his team scored a season-low seven points in its previous game against the Colts. "Thanks for reminding me. Please don't stop now," Cowher said of that 26-7 loss on Nov. 28.

    And the touchdown came with a short field created by an interception.

    "Another great point," Cowher said.

    The good-natured by-play continued for several minutes, but didn't mask the unspoken theme: It's January, it's the playoffs and that means Cowher's Steelers are supposed to lose -- again.

    These circumstances are different than any of Cowher's previous nine playoff appearances in 14 seasons as Pittsburgh's coach. The Steelers are road underdogs against a top-seeded team rather than being a top-seeded favorite so, even if they upset the Colts on Sunday, they can't lose the AFC championship game at home like they've done an unprecedented four times since 1995.

    Those losses have forged a belief, not just among their fan base but with some in the sport as well, that Cowher cannot be considered anything more than a very good coach until he wins a Super Bowl. The Steelers made it there 10 years ago this month, but lost to the Cowboys 27-17.

    That Cowher is one of football's renowned competitors, with an icy glare that can cause a 300-pound lineman to scurry to the far end of the bench in fright, only exacerbates how he feels about constantly building a winner but not The Winner.

    "Everybody hurts when you lose," wide receiver Hines Ward said. "But he takes it hard."

    If Cowher coached in a sunny-weather city such as Phoenix or Tampa, with a youthful fan base and a pro football past that can be measured in a few decades and not generations like Pittsburgh's, his January record might not be such a big deal.

    But Pittsburgh's aging population and obsessively loyal fans don't forget easily, especially since many still cling to vivid memories of their four Super Bowl wins under Cowher's predecessor, Chuck Noll -- the only other Steelers coach in the last 37 years.

    Consider this: Cowher moved into 14th place in NFL career coaching victories this season, one ahead of the Redskins' Joe Gibbs, yet Gibbs has won three Super Bowls and Cowher has won none. Of the 13 coaches ahead of Cowher, nine won at least one NFL title (some coached when there was no Super Bowl) and most have multiple titles.

    (Asterisk advisory: the Vikings' Bud Grant won the 1969 NFL title in the last season before the AFL-NFL merger, but lost the Super Bowl to the AFL's Chiefs and three subsequent Super Bowls.)

    And the five coaches immediately behind Cowher -- Gibbs, Hank Stram, Mike Holmgren, Weeb Ewbank and Mike Ditka -- all won at least one Super Bowl. ...
    -01-16-2006, 08:43 AM
  • RamsFan4ever
    Cowher expected to retire Friday at news conference
    by RamsFan4ever

    Cowher expected to retire Friday at news conferenceBy John Clayton

    Bill Cowher has informed his assistant coaches he is stepping down as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers after 15 seasons.

    Cowher wanted to take a week to make his decision, and the Steelers were willing to give him until next Monday or Tuesday to make a decision. But after talking over the situation with the family and the Steelers, Cowher decided to move up his announcement until Friday.

    The Steelers scheduled a 1 p.m. eastern press conference to discuss Cowher's situation. Although the team did not announce a decision, the word of his resignation was delivered to his assistant coaches.

    Cowher built a home in North Carolina and wanted to spend more time with his family there. Though the Steelers wanted him back, Cowher was looking for the chance to get away from the game for an indefinite period. Even though he could get his name in some of the job currently open, Cowher will not coach in 2007.

    First, the Steelers control his contractual rights through the 2007 season. Any team wanting him to coach would have to offer the Steelers a bounty of draft choices to get the rights to talk to him.

    Second, Cowher doesn't want to coach in 2007. Apparently, his decision doesn't have much to do with money. He is indeed going to take this season off and relax although it's not out of the question for him to do some television work. Cowher is expected to be working this weekend for a network, an arrangement he made several weeks ago.

    Cowher finished 161-99-1 in his 15 seasons with the Steelers. Thanks to Cowher and Chuck Noll, the Steelers have had one of the most stable coaching situations in the NFL.

    Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and assistant head coach Russ Grimm are among the leading candidates for the Steelers job.

    By making his decision known Friday, Cowher gives the Steelers the ability to talk to some of the assistant coaches currently in the playoffs. The NFL gives teams looking for head coaches until Sunday night to set up and conduct interviews with coaches currently in the playoffs. That could put the Steelers in position to talk to Cam Cameron of the Chargers and Ron Rivera of the Bears among other assistants.

    The Steelers will meet Friday morning to discuss replacements.
    -01-04-2007, 07:00 PM
  • Nick
    AP: Cowher won't coach in 2009
    by Nick
    Cowher won't coach in 2009
    Associated Press
    Sunday, January 4, 2009

    NEW YORK -- Bill Cowher doesn't plan to coach in the NFL next year, and will stay with CBS Sports as a studio analyst.

    Cowher was recently wooed by the New York Jets, but said during "The NFL Today" on Sunday that he's taking it "year to year."

    "It's a privilege and an honor to be a head coach in the National Football League," Cowher said. "And I have been flattered about the attention, but the timing right now is not right. I don't plan on coaching next year."

    The Super Bowl winning coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006, Cowher took himself out of the running as a candidate for the Jets job on Dec. 30. He also was a candidate for the vacant Cleveland job, but asked to be taken off the list.

    CBS Sports will broadcast the 2010 Super Bowl in Miami.
    -01-04-2009, 11:47 AM