PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Friends, family and Steelers Nation said final goodbye today to legendary head coach and Hall of Famer Chuck Noll.
Noll passed away at his Sewickley home on Friday evening at the age of 82.
Hundreds of mourners gathered for the funeral Mass at 10 a.m. at Saint Paul Cathedral in Oakland.
In attendance was Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, Steelers President Art Rooney II and General Manager Kevin Colbert.
Current coach Mike Tomlin arrived with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, as well as other current players like Maurkice Pouncey and Ike Taylor.
Former Steelers also arrived in numbers including Lynn Swann, Merrill Hodge, J.T. Thomas, Larry Brown, Mel Blount, Louis Lipps, Tunch Ilkin and Franco Harris. Joe Greene served as a pallbearer.
“I use to be very, very bad mannered, very bad tempered with officials, and Chuck just said, ‘You know, Joe, those guys have families and they have kids and they probably don’t like you talking to them like that,’” said Greene, “and I stopped doing it.”
Bishop David Zubik met the casket at the entrance to the church.
He offered a personal embrace to Noll’s widow, Marianne, who stood by her husband’s side during his triumphs on the football field and also during his health problems later in life.
“I think in the end, what they’re saying is, you know, he made a difference in the way in which they looked at themselves and what their potential was,” Bishop Zubik said. “Granted, they’ve achieved success on the playing field, but more importantly, they’ve achieved success on the field of life because of the important lessons he taught.”
Bishop Zubik was the lone speaker at the Mass.
In his opening remarks, Bishop Zubik asked those assembled to pause for 30 seconds and meditate on how Noll’s life impacted their own.
Bishop Zubik then told the congregation a story about his only meeting with Noll. In 1979, as a priest, Zubik arranged for Noll to speak to a leadership seminar for students at Central Catholic High the following January. But his only condition was that no one should announce his visit in advance.
The date he agreed to speak turned out to be the Tuesday after winning his fourth Super Bowl. Zubik thought it might not happen because of the timing, but Noll came. Among the students who attended was Dan Marino.
For him, said Zubik, it didn’t matter how important you were in society. Everybody was important to him.
The beloved former head coach led the Steelers to four Super Bowl victories. He is the only coach in the NFL to win four Super Bowls.
“As far as the football is concerned, I rank him up there with George Halas and Vince Lombardi,” said Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney. “There’s good coaches now, but I don’t think there will ever be another Chuck Noll.”
Noll retired in 1991 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.
“He practiced what he preached, and that’s that the players deserved the accolades,” said Steelers broadcaster Bill Hillgrove. “’I’m paid to coach, I’m paid to win,’ and he sure did that, didn’t he?”
The procession began this morning at the Freyvogel Funeral Home in Shadyside and made its way to the church.
Noll was laid to rest at a Catholic cemetery in Ross Township.
The Mass was open to the public.
It was a simple service for a simple man, but one who forever changed the Steelers and also the City of Pittsburgh.
Dan Rooney Reflects On Noll’s Legacy (6/16/14)
Legendary Hall Of Fame Coach Don Shula Remembers Noll (6/17/14)
More Reports on Chuck Noll
More Reports by Trina Orlando