Charles Henry Noll left behind a legacy of greatness. His likeness became the symbol for hard work and tradition, and set the ethereal standard of success for future generations of Steelers players and fans. Coach Noll was a reluctant celebrity who avoided the limelight. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Landry, Lombardi, Shula, or Madden’s name’s misspelled, but The Emperor still gets the inevitable silent K from time to time.
The man who coached the Steelers Dyansty of the 70’s touched countless lives during his 23 years as Steelers head coach and beyond. Here is a very small sample of reactions from fans, coaches, former players and more around the web today.
RIP Chuck. You had such a positive impact on many people's lives. It was an Honor and a Blessing to follow in your footsteps. Thanks Coach!
— Bill Cowher (@CowherCBS) June 14, 2014
Chuck Noll set the Standard that those of us in the @Steelers organization will always strive to uphold.
— Mike Tomlin (@CoachTomlin) June 14, 2014
— Pro Football HOF (@ProFootballHOF) June 14, 2014
Im one of the lucky ones! I was coached by the greatest man/teacher/coach to ever walk the white lines of a football field! RIP Coach Noll!
— Merril Hoge (@merrilhoge) June 14, 2014
My prayers goes out to Chuck Knoll and his family, he was a great coach and man! It was an honor to play for such a legend!
— Rod Woodson (@RodWoodson26) June 14, 2014
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) June 14, 2014
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) June 14, 2014
So sorry to hear about the passing of Coach Noll. He had such a great impact on me, as well as many others. A tremendous teacher & friend.
— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) June 14, 2014
A small part of Coach Noll's Legacy. With several Steeler Hall of Famers at Mel Blount's fundraiser pic.twitter.com/WPjjZxlUmv
— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) June 14, 2014
4 Super Bowl titles. "Legendary" doesn't begin to do him justice. RIP, Chuck Noll. pic.twitter.com/JIgudzwJgT
— Super Bowl (@SuperBowl) June 14, 2014
"Steeler Football" is Chuck Noll Amazing what he did for a city! For a Team! #RIPChuckNoll
— Brett Keisel (@bkeisel99) June 14, 2014
— NFL (@NFL) June 14, 2014
What set Chuck Noll apart was his remarkable ability as a teacher. His subject was football & his students became 4-time Super Bowl champs
— Roger Goodell (@nflcommish) June 14, 2014
We extend our condolences to Chuck's wife Marianne, his son Chris, the Noll family, & the Steelers organization.
— Roger Goodell (@nflcommish) June 14, 2014
Condolences go out to the Noll family, Mr. Noll was a legendary coach and a great man. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy will live!
— Max Starks IV (@maxstarks78) June 14, 2014
Thoughts and prayers go out to Chuck Knoll's family. Steeler Nation lost one of the greatest coaches in history…. http://t.co/wbUvKls0R9
— Hines Ward (@mvp86hinesward) June 14, 2014
Sad to hear about coach Noll passing away. Great coach and great man. He will never be forgotten.
— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) June 14, 2014
— Dayton Flyers (@DaytonFlyers) June 14, 2014
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement about Noll’s passing earlier today.
What set Chuck Noll apart was his remarkable ability as a teacher. His subject was football and his students became four-time Super Bowl champions. Coach Noll’s quiet leadership produced extraordinary results that deeply inspired players, coaches and fans. He always put the team, his players, and the game first. His legacy of excellence will forever be an important part of the history of the Steelers and the NFL. We extend our condolences to Chuck’s wife Marianne, his son Chris, the Noll family, and the Steelers organization.
Art Rooney II was on 97.3 The Fan this morning sharing his thoughts on Chuck Noll. Art II described him as a tremendous person and a great person to be around. He also agrees that Coach Noll was the most important component of the Steelers development into a Dynasty. You can listen below.
The following interviews are also from 93.7 The Fan today. Coach Cowher, Mel Blount, and Merril Hoge all share their feelings on the passing of the iconic Steelers coach.
Many former Steeler greats shared their thoughts via the Steelers website. I’ll just include a couple, but I recommend following the link to see the rest.
“It’s certainly sad for Marianne and Chris to lose a husband and a father. In Marianne’s case, Chuck was her best friend. There is nothing sadder. And you start thinking about Chuck and when all of the wonderful things that come to mind, you realize he’s in heaven and spending eternity in peace. That’s very refreshing. I’m proud to have played for him. It was a great honor.
My relationship wasn’t good, as you well know, but he made me understand my job responsibilities, because I had to grow up. I came out of an environment with nothing but pats on the back and love. With him it was nowhere near that. I had to go through all the developments emotionally of how to deal with it. He was a tough coach to me, and I spent more time with him than anybody, so I know. I learned how to be mentally tough with him, and for that I can never say thank you enough, because that got me through divorces, Super Bowls, and those times when I had bad moments in big games. He made me mentally strong, which I wasn’t. And he instilled in me a great work ethic. I had a good work ethic, but preparation was paramount with him, so we spent a lot of time going through preparations for the games.
He was an amazing guy. I watched him more than he watched me (laughs). I had a great amount of fear for him. He’s kind of like a father from whom you want approval and you don’t quite get it, and in the advent of that journey you work harder and harder, you try to get better and better, and then when it’s all said and done he says, “Thank you. You were a great quarterback.” And you say, “Wow!” He was different than anybody I had ever been around and played for. He was smart, really smart. His game plans were spot on. He figured out the 3-4 blitzing schemes. He figured out the flex. He was just an amazing football mind. I would say I know I more about defenses than I do offenses because that’s what he taught me. He taught me defenses. If you know defenses you can run offenses.”
“I am a little shocked by this, and sad. My condolences and my heart goes out to Marianne. She’s a great lady. These are times when we reflect on all the great memories and the great times that we had. And there’s no doubt that these memories that we had, probably people consider them the best of times in pro football. That goes for Chuck, the organization and the team he put together.”
Lastly, here are a few thoughts I selected randomly from some of the members of our community-
“I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut.
Such a great man. I don’t often say I have an idol, but he was one.
Rest well, dear friend. We never met, but you touched my life just the same.
My deepest sympathies to his friends and family. Steeler Nation has lost an icon.”
“Gracias por todo lo que hiciste por nuestro amado equipo !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“Rest in peace you were the greatest coach of the greatest team ever assembled in any sport! I am so glad for being a little part of the Steeler Nation, that was brought to greatness by you. Thanks again Mr. Noll RIP.”
“One of the most important Steelers ever. He, Dan Rooney and Joe Greene transformed the Steelers. RIP Emperor the greatest coach the Steelers will EVER have.”
“Wow. I almost feel like a member of my family has died. In one sense, I guess that’s true, he’s a member of my Steelers’ family. Simply put, he was the most dignified and the classiest head coach ever to walk the sidelines of an NFL stadium. I’ve heard the word “stoic” attributed to Noll but I don’t think that’s true. A person who is stoic is essentially indifferent to what’s going on around him. Ask Jerry Glanville if he’d describe Noll as stoic. Ask Bradshaw or any player that had the privilege of playing for him if Coach Noll was indifferent.
One of my favorite Noll memories was Super Bowl XIV when the Steelers were trailing the Rams 13-10 at halftime after a lackluster first half. Steeler fans, including me, were nervous because the team just didn’t seem to be clicking that day and the underdog Rams seemed primed for an upset. But as the team was leaving the field Noll starting walking toward the locker room with a CBS camera man back pedaling with a camera in his face. Noll then began jogging slowly with the camera guy still back pedaling. Then Noll decided to have a little fun. He sped up to a sprint for a few steps and the poor camera guy finally decided to give it up. Noll laughed heartily as he continued on to the locker room. I knew then that the Steelers had the Rams exactly where they wanted them going into the second half. We’ll sure miss you, Chuck. May God bless your family during this difficult time.”
“Rest in peace, Coach.
I met him once and he was just as dignified in person as he always seemed on TV. He is definitely on the Mt. Rushmore of NFL coaching legends.”
“Goodbye to the much loved, much trusted leader and friend to a team, its many players, its owners, an entire city, and the fans who stand loyal worldwide. Blessings to all who will mourn him, and many thanks to a great guy.”
“RIP Coach Noll.
You will never be forgotten. Any Steelers fan young and old will always have you to thank for the greatest franchise in the history of sports. Without your guidance there would never have been the dynasty that set this team to be the best ever.
I’ll never forget meeting you at a hunting and fishing club after catching some trout all day. I should have spent more time with you, Rockey, Ham, Russell and the few others up at the club house but the trout were really biting that day. I remember my dad coming down to pry me away from the lake to meet all of you but as an 8 yr old at the time I had no idea of what a true iconic legend really was.
You can share your own thoughts with other members of Steeler Nation in the forum thread here, or in the comments below.