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Old 01-05-2007, 11:16 PM   #1
tony hipchest
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Default Opening Statement For Cowhers Resignation

for anyone who missed the press conference, or just wants to dissect or re- live cowhers final words as the steelers head coach, this is a must read. transcripts for the whole Q&A session located here:


"Art (Rooney II) and Dan (Rooney), thank you. Thank you for having this. I want to thank you guys for being here.

"After careful and deliberate consideration, I've decided to resign today. I've given it a lot of thought, and I believe it's in the best interests of our family and myself at this time. I'm proud of all we've accomplished here in the 15 years I've been the coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised here. My parents live here. My brothers live here. And more importantly, my parents have been able to watch our three children grow up. That's special. That's special.

"Coaching in the National Football League and winning a Super Bowl are the lifelong dreams of mine, and to be able to do that and realize that in the city that I was born and raised in, this Crafton boy lived a dream. You know how special that is to me.

"There are a lot of people I need to thank, and I'm going to do that:

"First, to Marty Schottenheimer. I played for Marty, and he's the only guy I ever was an assistant coach under. He opened the door for me. For that, I will always be grateful. Who's to say when you see a player whether he can coach. There are no guarantees. Marty believed in me, and for that I will always remember and be grateful.

"And to Dan Rooney, for taking the chance on me 15 years ago. The gratitude and respect and complete admiration, I cannot express in words. He's a very special man. Thank you.

"And I want to thank all the players and coaches who have contributed to all the success we've enjoyed over the 15 years. There have been so many of them. I had an opportunity this year to sit with the players and talk with the coaches, and there have been so many down through the years that I want to thank.

"To the support staff, my secretary Mia has been with me for 12 years, like a right-hand man; to the doctors, to Jim Bradley and Tony Yates; to the trainers, John Norwig and his staff. This truly is not accomplished ? what we've done ? without the work of a lot of people pulling in the same direction. I've been so fortunate and blessed to have those types of people as a part of this team.

"And to Kevin Colbert, who officially today assumes the No. 1 ranking in racquetball, even though the class has gone down ? Kevin, you gave me a second wind, and your support and friendship will always mean a lot to me.

"And to the fans. To the Steelers fans in Pittsburgh and the fans around the country ? second to none. I want to thank you for your passion and your support. I've said this before: I'm a part of you. You can take the people out of Pittsburgh, but you will never take the Pittsburgh out of people. I'm one of you. Yinz know what I mean.

"And last, to my wife and three daughters. I was asked a long time ago how I have lasted in this business for so long. And there's no doubt that it's the balance I've been able to live. My three daughters, to be a part of their lives will always be my main objective in life. If there's a legacy I'd like to leave, it's my daughters saying, "My dad was a good dad." That's important to me.

"To my wife, my soul-mate and my friend, the sacrifices she has made, the love and support she has given me through the years, she's been my backbone. Today I sit here and say to you, while I wish the Pittsburgh Steelers nothing but the best, I've given a lot of thought to this decision, and it is right now the best thing for me and my family at this time.

"And I have to be honest with you: I'm looking forward to it. My wife may not be able to say the same thing to that after being around me for a couple of weeks, but I really am looking forward to spending time with the family."
im gonna miss reading these transcripts every teus/weds. no coach was better or more candid than cowher during their weekly presser. he always said the right thing.
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Old 01-05-2007, 11:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: Opening Statement For Cowhers Resignation

You said recently that you weren't burned out. Is the family element of this the motivating factor in this decision?

I am not burned out. I just think there comes a time in your life, I am healthy, I am happy, I have been fortunate, you have to prioritize things and right now I think they have made a lot of sacrifices for me and for me to sit back and to be able to be there for them while they are where they are in their life, it is a pretty small one for them. I am looking forward to it, I really am. It is the right time.

Do you foresee yourself coaching next year?

Right now, I can foresee myself doing is spending time with my family and working on a golf game that needs a lot of work. So, no.

How seriously did you consider retiring after the Super Bowl? Did you consider it at all?

I don't think so, not really. Things happened too fast. You don't have enough time. After the Super Bowl, I think we came in and we had a meeting the next day talking about free agency. So I don't think so. I think you think about it, my wife and I talked about it, but it wasn't anything seriously. You don't have enough time to think about it. I have tried to be very open with Art in all of our conversations and with Mr. Rooney. I am here today to be honest with you because my feelings haven't changed the last couple days and I know the process the process that exists today and I know this weekend would allow them an opportunity to talk to some candidates and if I waited until Monday, they would have lost the weekend. I have too much respect and appreciation for what they have done for me to not be honest with them, to be honest with myself. Like I said, it is just the right thing to do for me and my family at this time.

Did winning the Super Bowl put that into perspective?

Yes, it has been a heck of a journey now. You always heard me say it is not about the destination, it is about the journey. I wouldn't change anything. There has been a lot of disappointment, a lot of joy, a lot of relationships and memories that I will cherish for a lifetime. As I walk out this door, those are things that people can never take away from me. It has been a privilege to be a part of the National Football League, it is a privilege for everyone to be part of. There will people that will come after you and there are people that were here before you. I think people have to respect that. I know that I have. The National Football League has been good to the Cowher family.

Will you get back into coaching? If so, how long do you think you will be out?

There is no timetable. I say this to you, the only thing I am looking forward to is spending time with my family, and I am really looking forward to that. Being in a world that has been so regimented and scheduled where four or five months out of the year every day is scheduled for you, to have the ability to sit back at my age and to be able to spend time with family and be a big part of their lives again really excites me.

Did any of your players try to talk you out of it?

I don't think anyone really tried to talk to me out of it. I think when I explained to them what I was thinking and where I was leaning, I think they understood it. I think it is hard not to understand that. I am just very appreciative of the sacrifices that the players have made, the sacrifices that the assistant coaches have made, and their families. It is a fishbowl that we live in. I don't think people understand that unless you live it.

What is the most difficult thing about leaving this team?

The city, the organization, the players. I love the game. I will be a great fan of the game. I love to compete on Sundays, love the challenges that come with putting a football team together and getting guys to buy into unselfishness, that is not always easy to do. I think while you miss that, I have a great appreciation for that. I don't think that I am going to miss it as much as some people think I am going to. I will watch it, I am big fan now. At the same time, I am a fan with my family.

Did you take the advice of another coach that has been in your circumstance that left and came back to see how it was for them?

No, I really haven't. I talked a lot with my wife through the course of this. She has been tremendously supportive. As far as this past year, it was not a distraction. We have a very strong relationship and it was totally my choice but it has been a choice that is time. It is time to spend, for me at this point, with her, with my family. There is no one that can tell you what you should do with your life. I am very respectful of other people's decisions and choices they have to make because I think everyone is subjective. I think you have to understand it is an individual choice and I am very respectful of individual choices.

How would you characterize your emotions right now?

I am an emotional guy. I am never going to lose that. I get mad when I lose an 18-hole match or if I lose to Kevin (Colbert), which is like once a year. It bothers me. I have a passion for life and sometimes in life you have to prioritize and re-prioritize. I have been very blessed and fortunate. This wasn't just done by me. It was done by hard work by a lot of people, players, organizations, staff, the support of my wife and the kids, they have given me the balance. I still remember in 1994, the first AFC Championship loss we had. Meagan and Lauren were at the game. We came home and Lindsay came to the door and she had a hula skirt on. She was so happy because she knew that we lost the AFC Championship game and we got to go to Hawaii. She didn't want to go to Miami or to the Super Bowl, she wanted to go to Hawaii, she had never been there. That is perspective. That is balance. That is what these guys have given me. I never brought this job home and I have never brought home to this job. The only way you can do that is if you have a pretty good partner, and I have a pretty good partner.

Can you talk about when you were given contract extensions after tough seasons?

I was laughing when I told Art this the other day. My last two extensions came off non-playoff years. The one time I win the Super Bowl I don't even sign an extension. It hasn't been about money for me. It has been about working for good people. I've been very blessed. I know these are good people. The relationship I have with Dan Rooney, we talk everyday and 75 percent of the time it's non-football. He's been like a friend, like a father. He's a very special man. I never got to know The Chief (Art Rooney Sr.) but the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.

Can you address the speculation that this decision was about money?

I really don't want to get into the details of the process. I'm here today to say that this decision is what is right for me and my family at this time. I am so appreciative of my time here and the people that I've had the opportunity to work with.

Will you look into doing TV or some other occupation outside of coaching?

I don't know. I know we're getting a dog this spring. My wife informed me of that one. I don't know how that will affect the dynamics of our house. I really don't know at this time. I don't have preconceived thoughts. There's something pretty refreshing about that. I really can't answer that right now. I say that sincerely and with a lot of excitement.

Can you tell us about doing things your way as you said in your first press conference?

I thought I was a little arrogant in that first press conference to be honest with you. I told Kaye that last night. I said, 'Who does this guy think he is?' I've learned a lot and grown a lot as a person, as a father, as a father and as a coach. The one thing I will say is that you never stop growing. Don't ever take yourself too seriously and just respect the game. The humility starts at the top of this organization and it's made me a better person because of it. I came here 15 years ago and as I leave here today, I leave here a better person. For that I have a lot of gratitude.

Do you recall much about your first game against Houston in 1992?

Yeah, the fake punt, a reverse on third down. I guess you always remember your first and remember your last. I will remember both. They're both wins, which is a good thing.
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Old 01-05-2007, 11:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: Opening Statement For Cowhers Resignation

might as well post it all. no telling when the website deletes it from the archives:

How soon will you leave for North Carolina and will you visit often?

Pittsburgh is a place that my wife introduced me to an organization, Family Resources, for 10 years, maybe longer. We're going to have a dedication this spring. We're going to rebuild a field for Family Resources. The Pitt (women's) basketball team, Agnus Berenato is going to help us with the basketball clinic. I'm in charge of the football clinic. I'll be looking for some coaches. I was told that so that's my responsibility. Family Resources is a very special part of Pittsburgh for us. My parents live here. My brothers are here. This is home. I don't know what the time frames will be, in and out, and what that consists of but the memories and roots that we have here will live forever.

How daunting was it to replace Noll and how much contact have you had with him?

I said before that when I had an opportunity to follow Chuck Noll, I was coming to a team that knew how to work, knew how to prepare, knew how to win. I thought it was a good thing. You don't even try to compare yourself to a man like Chuck Noll and I didn't come close to doing the things that he did. No one will. He was one of a kind. You can't even put yourself in that shadow. I was very fortunate to walk into that. We didn't have a lot of interaction. I think it was good. It's important when you step into that chair you have to do it your way. You have to be yourself. There's no blue print to being a head coach. There's no manual that says, 'Problem three, player comes in, he's unselfish, doesn't like his contract, here's what to do.' You have to be yourself. Every situation is different. Players are very perceptive. Coaches are very perceptive. As long as you're true to your heart and try to do things the right way, respect the game, respect the fact that not everybody is like you, there will be tough times but in the long run you'll have a chance to be successful.

Did you talk to Noll after the Super Bowl or about this decision?


Besides the Super Bowl, what are you most proud of in your 15 years?

Home playoff games. I don't think anyone had more home playoff games in the 15 years that I've been here. I say that because of having kids and experiencing black-and-gold day. Seeing them dressed up when I go out to work and they're like, 'Daddy, can you get me a Hines Ward shirt', or, 'I want to get a Jerome Bettis shirt.' Then they ask, 'Do you think they're going to be here for a long time?' They don't want to get a shirt and the guys gone the next year. I probably remember the home playoff games because of what it does for the city. We've had some disappointments and I feel bad about that. We've had some home disappointments, the AFC Championship Games, when you get so close. I can honestly say that was the fuel that brought me back and made me appreciate things. What that does to the city and how proud people had to be when they saw the support, the passion, and you go around the country and see it in every city you go into. Pittsburgh is a special place and people are very proud to be from here. When you have a chance to have a playoff game and bring the nation into your city, I think that's special.

Any one play call really standout in your head?

Probably the fake punt in the first game. People don't realize that John Guy was the special teams coach. I told him I wanted to run the fake punt if it was ever inside the 50 (-yard line). It was third down-and-seven and Neil (O'Donnell) got sacked for 15 yards. We were on our own 45. I was wondering what happened on the protection and where did the guy come from. I looked over at John and said, 'You're not running that fake punt, are you?' He said, 'You told me to run it.' I said, 'Oh my God. At this point just let it go.' It was 21-0. We ran the fake punt. If I had time to think about it like I do today, I wouldn't have run it. I think about the specifics of that call. The Super Bowl games, the Championship Games, I remember all very vividly. The biggest thing is the relationships that I've had with all the players that have come through here, the coaches. These are the guys you live with, you work with. You spend more time with them than your family during the season. The sacrifices that these people have made. People don't understand that when you lose, nobody takes it harder than the people that have put in the hours that we've put in. No one wants to get it done more so than us. It's our life. People hopefully will appreciate that.

How hard will it be to be on the sideline with the Steelers on the other side?

I couldn't even think about that right now to be honest with you. The only sideline I'll be sitting on is up in the stands and watching my kids play basketball in the next couple of years. I'm looking forward to that.

Why did the players play so hard for you?

It's still a game where all you ask people to do is have a passion for it. You're going to make mistakes and things are going to happen that is hard to explain. The one thing you can control is how you respond to those things. That becomes a lot more defining than any set of circumstances. Our football team to a lot of degree, this year, did that. Having already had that ring on the finger and what motivates you? It was the pride. It's the character. This is a good football team. Somebody is going to have an opportunity to coach a bunch of good players. That doesn't guarantee wins. It doesn't guarantee bumps along the way. That's going to happen. There is a lot of stability that is here now and will always be here. It's a special place and a great opportunity for somebody.

Were you always up-front with players or did it evolve?

It evolved. My wife will be the first one to tell you that she would tell me when she thought there were things that I needed to be better job of doing. I needed that. She was right. Like I've said before, I've grown. I've grown as a person. I think I've grown as a coach through experiences and things that you would have done differently. It does take time and it's about having the right perspective and being honest with players. That's the one thing I would say from the very beginning. Players come in to see you. They ask you the hard questions and they expect the hard answers. I've learned a lot through the years. I tried to tell players where they stood whether they like it or not. Players respect that. They want structure. They want pushed, contrary to what people think. When they're out there playing, they're not thinking about how much money they make. They're very proud to do the things that they did as kids. I don't think you should lose sight of that. We all want structure and want to be pushed and pulled aside. We all need a kick in the butt and a pat on the back. That's the thing I've always tried to do. I'll be the first one to tell you when you're wrong and I'll be the first one to tell you when you did it right. I thought that was always very important.

Do you have any advice for the guy who replaces you?

It's not about me. It's about them and doing it their way. There's no blueprint. There's no manual. There are a lot of really good coaches out there. I've been fortunate and blessed. That's a reflection of a lot of hard work, the support staff, consistent coaches and players. There are a lot of good coaches out there. They'll get a good one here.

Would you give Dan or Art a recommendation if they ask?

I'll be here next week. I've never been one to lack an opinion. There are a lot of good candidates and these guys know what they're doing. I'll help any way I can.

Have you not said the word "retirement" for a reason?

It's an age thing. That makes me sound old. I'm resigning and I'm excited about the future. It's the right thing for me and my family at this time. I'm excited about that.

Are you going to meet with the players?

I've met with the players already. I'm not going to ask them to come back. We had a good talk.

I want to thank you guys in the media. We've had 15 years and we've had many situations. I had an opportunity to talk to a few guys. You've been very understanding. I want to thank you guys. I really enjoyed Tuesday (press conferences). I really didn't mind the Tuesdays with you guys. I understood your tough questions at times. I want you to know how much I respect and appreciate you being fair with me. I respect you guys and thank for the interaction we've had through the 15 years. Thank you.
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