PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Legendary Hall of Fame coach of the Miami Dolphins for almost a quarter of a century Don Shula joined The KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert to talk about the life of Chuck Noll.
Noll, who is being laid to rest today, was a protégé, contemporary and friend of Shula.
Shula says he had known Noll since college and hired Noll as an assistant coach when Shula was the head coach for the Baltimore Colts.
What made Shula want to hire Noll?
“He was just an exceptional guy, very intelligent,” says Shula. “He paid attention to detail, and that’s what I was looking for.”
Shula said that he saw head coach potential in Noll pretty quickly.
“It happened pretty much in a hurry,” Shula said. “He just was such a hard-working and intelligent guy. He knew a lot about any subject that you wanted to talk about and he had a great personality, was very likable. You could tell he had great leadership ability watching him work with the players he was responsible for. It was just a matter of time.”
So, Shula recommended Noll to the Rooneys when they were looking for a coach.
“I felt Chuck was going to be a head coach and he had everything that (the Rooneys) would be looking for, so I didn’t hesitate to recommend him,” said Shula.
Besides being a great coach, Shula says that Noll “knew everything about everything.”
He added, “We used to call him ‘Knute Knowledge,” after legendary football coach Knute Rockne.
Shula pointed out that “[Noll] really hasn’t had the accolades he deserves. He was such a humble guy that people forgot about him instead of thinking about all of his accomplishments.”
He doesn’t think Noll should be revered any less than the other all-time great coaches simply because of his reserved nature.
“It’s not a popularity contest,” Shula said. “It’s what have you done.”
Finally, Shula told The Fan Morning Show that he was always impressed by the way Noll prepared his players for game day.
“His presentation,” Shula said. “He just made sure that the players he was responsible for understood everything that he was teaching. He had a great way of presenting things – very detailed, very descriptive.”
Listen to The Fan’s full interview with Don Shula here: