SI Vault
Tim Crothers
January 09, 1995
Bill Cowher's mug—like his Steelers—is beloved in Pittsburgh
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January 09, 1995

The Face

Bill Cowher's mug—like his Steelers—is beloved in Pittsburgh

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When Schottenheimer moved to Kansas City in '89, Cowher did too, becoming the Chiefs' defensive coordinator. That year the Chiefs had the AFC's top-ranked defense, and from '89 to '91 Cowher's troops recorded more sacks than any other team in the conference.

Finally, in January '92, the phone rang at the Cowher home in Crafton. "Laird, do you still have your Terrible Towel?" asked a breathless Kaye. "You're going to be needing it."

"Two years ago I went to order a ham at the local butcher," Laird Cowher says. "I told the guy, 'Hold that for Cowher.' "

"Cowher?" the butcher said. "Same name as the Steeler coach."

"I know," Laird said. "He's my son."

"Yeah, right," said the butcher, "and I'm President Clinton."

These days Laird can barely remember the time before 68 Hawthorne Avenue became a tourist spot. "Folks come by snapping pictures of our house," he says, rubbing his own prominent mandible. "It makes you wonder how crazy folks have to be to get in the nuthouse."

He then looks across the room at the coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who is reveling in his father's modesty, allowing himself a rare moment of satisfaction.

"I'm the only coach in this league who can drive 10 minutes and be in his boyhood home," Bill says. "When I took this job I told myself, I want to be here long enough to go to my 20th high school reunion, and that's coming up this spring. Who knows? I haven't changed too much, maybe my classmates will recognize me."

Don't worry, Coach. In Crafton, folks never forget a Face.

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