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clevestinks
12-02-2006, 08:36 AM
Just a thought, I would like to suggest to the Steelers front office, make Dick Hoak honorary head coach for the last game of the season. After 45 seasons with our Pittsburgh Steelers, he is Mr.Pittsburgh Steeler in my book. Since the season all but over anyway, and he cannot be far from retirement, what the heck. In the past I always throw his name out there in some thread, because his dedication over the years, and the fact that he has gone through a few different hc changes, really says something about him and the Steelers. How many assisstants are retained when the new hc comes in? Not to mention that he has a couple of HOF running backs under his belt, John Henry Johnson, Franco Harris, and Bettis soon.

Here is his story.
Dick Hoak, the longest tenured coach in Steelers history, is in his 45th year with the team and his 35th consecutive season as a Steelers assistant coach.

He served as offensive backfield coach for 20 seasons under Chuck Noll, before being named running backs coach by Bill Cowher on Jan. 27, 1992, the only coach retained from the previous Steelers' staff. Hoak is also the only assistant coach remaining from Cowher's original coaching staff.

During Hoak's 14 seasons under Cowher, the Steelers' 30,311 rushing yards are the most in the NFL, making them the only club to rush for more than 30,000 yards during that time. Pittsburgh has led the league in rushing yards in three of the past 14 years (1994, 1997 and 2001) and has been ranked in the top five in eight of the past 14 seasons.

For the past 10 years, Hoak has guided running back Jerome Bettis to a Hall of Fame career. Bettis retired at the end of 2005 ranked fifth in NFL history and second on the Steelers' all-time rushing list behind Franco Harris. He also rushed for at least 100 yards in a team-record 50 games.

Hoak joined the Steelers' staff in 1972 under Noll after one year of coaching high school football and just two years after retiring from an outstanding playing career for the Steelers.

The Steelers' seventh-round draft choice out of Penn State in 1961, Hoak spent 10 seasons in the Pittsburgh backfield. He led the Steelers in rushing three times (1965, 1968, 1969) and played in one Pro Bowl (1969) after finishing the 1968 season fourth in the NFL with 858 rushing yards.

When he retired following the 1970 season, Hoak had gained 3,965 rushing yards and ranked second in team history. Presently, he is fifth behind Hall of Famers Franco Harris and John Henry Johnson as well as Frank Pollard and Bettis.

In addition, Hoak ranks 12th in Steelers history for career touchdowns with 33, seventh in rushing touchdowns with 25, fifth in rushing yards (3,965) and fourth in rushing attempts (1,132). He also had 146 receptions for 1,452 yards and eight touchdowns in his career.

As a standout running back and quarterback for Penn State from 1958-60, Hoak was named his team's MVP as a senior. He graduated in 1961 with a bachelor's degree in social studies.

Born Dec. 8, 1939, in Jeannette, Pa., Hoak and his wife Lynn have three children, daughters Kelly and Katie, and son Richard. The Hoaks live in Greensburg.