The Pittsburgh Steelers have had a total of 16 Head Coaches in their 83 year history, but since 1968 there have been only 3; Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher, and currently, Mike Tomlin.
Mike Tomlin was a Starter at William & Mary College
Tomlin started for three years at wide receiver for William & Mary college.He recorded career totals of 101 receptions, 2,046 receiving yards, and a school record 20 touchdown receptions. After his senior season, Tomlin was an All-Yankee Conference first-team selection, and also set a school record with a 20.2 yards-per-catch average. After looking at these stats, one can easily understand the fierce competitor donning the headset on the Steelers’ sidelines. He also competed against a future player of his, James Farrior, while Farrior was at Virginia.
Tomlin is One of Three Steeler Head Coaches to Win the Super Bowl
Not only is he the youngest Steeler head coach to accomplish this, but the youngest coach ever to win the coveted Lombardi Trophy. This victory, which made the Steelers the only franchise with 6 Super Bowl victories, came against the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. His 82-46 (.641) regular season record is the best start for a coach in Pittsburgh history. He inherited quite the team from Bill Cowher after taking over in 2007. Even though the team was 11 months removed from a Super Bowl victory, Tomlin still had to conduct the train. Tomlin’s been excellent in Pittsburgh reaching two Super Bowls, but Chuck Noll won four during his tenure, and that continues to be the measuring stick for Pittsburgh head coaches.
Tomlin is a Family Man
At home, he’s a father, another difficult coaching job. Not having a relationship with his own biological father has seemed to shape Tomlin in a way that many others will benefit from. His parents separated when he was just 10 months old.In an interview with Steelers.com’s Teresa Varley, he offered a unique perspective.
“I know the upbringing my boys have is quite different than mine and I am excited about that. I want what is absolutely the best for them. I am learning along the way. I didn’t have that father-son relationship as a young guy that they have. I developed it along the way with some powerful men that came into my life. The way they are growing up is different than me, but it’s better.”
This not only highlights the type of father and man Tomlin is, but when you watch him during games, you can see this passion pouring out of him. Yes, he’ll yell at players for missing a tackle or fumbling the ball, but he’ll also put his arm around that player and give him the confidence to go back out there and make it right. He obviously cares about players’ on-field performances, but also their safety. He’s partnered with UPMC in Pittsburgh to speak to kids to speak to kids – and really, anyone who will listen – about head injuries in football.
Coach Tomlin’s Wife is The Yin To His Yang
Having a strong support system is important on the field, but also at home. Kiya Tomlin, Mike’s wife, is just the type of woman a head NFL football coach needs. She doesn’t particularly like the game of football, so when Mike comes home from a long day he can leave all the football talk at the door.
“That’s how I protect Mike,” says Kiya in an interview with HBO. “Everyone wants to talk to him about football. I don’t think he should have to come home to it and have me talk about football.”
Kiya also has her own endeavors, creating a company of clothes that focuses on modern, comfortable clothes for older women.
He is Committed to Giving Back
Along with Kiya, Mike was recognized by the Chuck Cooper Foundation winning the Career Achievement in Leadership Diversity and Community Service Award. The Foundation’s goal is to help further the education of students in the Pittsburgh area.
While supporting another charity, “There Goes My Hero,” which promotes increasing the registry for bone marrow donors, Baltimore Ravens’ head coach Jim Harbaugh had quite the story about Tomlin. The Steelers had beaten the rival Ravens three times in the ’08 season, and when the two met at midfield after the final game, Tomlin said something that shocked Harbaugh.
Mike Tomlin has been great during his eight years in Pittsburgh, winning one Super Bowl and four AFC North division titles, and only hopes to continue his success in the Steel City.
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