PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — There’s news of a significant change to the Steelers’ coaching personnel.
Dick LeBeau is officially out as the team’s defensive coordinator.
The 77-year-old Ohio native told his hometown newspaper, the Urbana Daily Citizen, that he is “resigning this position, not retiring.”
The news broke Saturday afternoon.
He goes on to tell the paper, “I had a great run in Pittsburgh. I’m grateful for all the things that have happened to me and thankful for all the support I had in Pittsburgh.”
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin released an official statement later in the evening. It reads:
“We want to thank Dick for his many years of service with the team and all that he has done for this organization. His coaching helped lead us to many successful seasons and championships. We are very appreciative of his efforts, and we wish him well.”
LeBeau had been with the organization for 16 seasons, including serving as defensive coordinator from 1995-96 and from 2004-14. He was also the team’s secondary coach from 1992-94.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
In his 13 years as defensive coordinator, the Steelers have finished in the top five in total defense 11 times and five times the team had the top overall ranked defense. The team won seven division championships, four AFC championships and two Super Bowls, while making the playoffs nine times during that period.
Steelers fans are sad to see him go.
“I think it’s the end of an era, and I’m very sorry to see him go,” Steeler fan Sean Davis said.
They say they’ll remember the football legend’s time in Pittsburgh fondly.
“I’m sorry to see him go, but at the same time, I’m happy for all of the moments he gave to us,” Steeler fan Jerry Myers said. “I think somebody is going to have to step up and do what he did. And I’m sure they have a lot of protégés and people that they have in the wings that can do that.”
“It was time for him to step down and get someone younger in there to go to the next level,” Steeler fan Bob Denzer said.
As a player, LeBeau had 62 interceptions in 14 seasons as defensive back for the Detroit Lions from 1959-72. He played halfback and cornerback for Woody Hayes at Ohio State.
As for a replacement defensive coordinator, it’s thought that linebackers coach Keith Butler could eventually take over the job.
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