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Steelhorse
05-16-2006, 08:32 AM
I thought this was a pretty good article on Cowher. A team's success starts with the owner and works its way down from there


By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, May 16, 2006


As minicamp ended Monday with a grueling series of sprints, strong safety Troy Polamalu looked to his left and saw Bill Cowher, ballcap spun backward, trying to keep up.
Yes, the 49-year-old head coach was doing wind sprints.

Polamalu recognized the act as genuine, not as a contrived ploy to loosen up the troops.

"It's just who he is," Polamalu said.


Somebody asked free safety Ryan Clark if he could picture Joe Gibbs, his former coach with the Washington Redskins, racing his players.

"Coach Gibbs is more of a treadmill walker," Clark said, laughing.

A newcomer, Clark likes what he sees.

"One thing about this team," he said, "it's a close-knit group."

Cowher makes it so. That doesn't mean everyone likes him. He wouldn't be much of a boss if that were the case.

Openness and mutual respect are the keys to Cowher's success.

The Rooneys have created an atmosphere in which the head coach has the authority -- and security -- to run his program. The head coach, in turn, has created an atmosphere in which players know their roles and coaches can freely do their jobs.

There are no secrets -- and Cowher doesn't ask people to do anything he wouldn't do.

Including run sprints.

"Pretty much what you see is what you get," says defensive coordinator **** LeBeau. "You never have to wonder where you stand with him. He's a good, honest coach -- very secure in what he's doing."

A sure sign of that security: Cowher's cravings for micromanagement have all but disappeared.

Not that he's lost his bite.

"It's still not too hard to get on the wrong side of him," LeBeau said, smiling.

At one time, Cowher was viewed as a tyrant who made life miserable for his assistants. There might have been some truth to that, but it seems like a ridiculous notion now, as his staff -- perhaps the NFL's finest -- has returned intact for a third consecutive season.

Don't discount such continuity as a critical factor in the team's bid to repeat as Super Bowl champion. It allowed Cowher to recharge his battery without having to conduct job searches and interviews, and it allowed everyone else to pick up where they left off in February once minicamp began.

"We're not coaching coaches, and there's a lot to be said for that," Cowher said. "You worry about coaching players, but sometimes you find yourself coaching coaches."

When LeBeau left in 1997 to run Cincinnati's defense, some figured he'd simply had enough of Cowher.

"I've never quite understood where all that came from," LeBeau said.

The theory crumbled when LeBeau chose to return two years ago, instead of taking a job in Buffalo or elsewhere. Cowher, for his part, never held it against LeBeau for having made a lateral move to a divisional opponent.

LeBeau enjoys his autonomy here.

"(Cowher) has never come into the room too often when I've been running the meetings," he said. "I guess, in a way, that's a compliment. I take it as such."

Quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple, integral to Ben Roethlisberger's development, feels the same sort of freedom.

"(Cowher) hires you to do a job, and there's respect there," Whipple says.

One of Cowher's underrated qualities is choosing top-notch assistants. He has the perfect mix of veterans such as LeBeau, Russ Grimm (offensive line), **** Hoak (running backs), Bruce Arians (wide receivers) and John Mitchell (defensive line), plus bright young assistants such as offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and secondary coach Darren Perry.

It's funny how people keep speculating on who'll replace Jerome Bettis as "the new face of the franchise."

The new face is the old face, the same face as before.

Cowher's.

clevestinks
05-16-2006, 03:32 PM
This is an awesome read.How could you not love playing for a coach like Cowher? He is still a player at heart! I Love Cowher!

Steel Horse great read rep ppints to you!