PITTSBURGH - Family, friends and Steelers fans from across the world bid a final farewell to legendary Steelers coach Chuck Noll.
Scores of his former players, team officials and even former coaching rivals attended the funeral mass for Noll Tuesday morning at St. Paul Cathedral in Oakland.
Noll died of natural causes Friday at his home near Pittsburgh. He was 82. The Hall of Fame coach won a record four Super Bowl titles with the Steelers.
Steelers announcer Bill Hillgrove said Noll’s greatest contribution to the organization was his unwavering commitment to excellence.
“That’s why the bar is set so high in Pittsburgh. He is the guy that set it, and everyone else has to try to get to it,” Hillgrove said. “Chuck Noll was a man who had a plan. More importantly, he had the fortitude to execute the plan.”
Former players Franco Harris, Rocky Bleier, Mel Blount, Merril Hoge, J.T. Thomas, John Banaszak, Mike Wagner and Dick Hoak attended the funeral. Former Steelers assistant Mike Mularkey also attended.
Blount said Noll took on the role of a father figure after his own father passed. Blount played for Noll for 14 seasons.
“I was blessed like the rest of these guys who played for Chuck. To be in his presence, to grow under him and to become a man,” said Blount.
Current Steelers players Ben Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey and Ike Taylor attended in advance of the team's minicamp in the afternoon.
“He’s a legendary coach, and I think people appreciate what he has done for the Pittsburgh Steelers,” said Pouncey.
Noll transformed a Steelers franchise that hadn't won consistently for more than 30 years into one that lost infrequently during a remarkable championship run in the 1970s.
Noll, who won 209 games -- 16 in the playoffs -- as the Steelers coach from 1969-91 remains the only coach to win four Super Bowls. He led title teams during the 1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979 seasons, a time when the Steelers -- and the 1979 World Series champion Pirates, plus the unbeaten 1976 Pitt Panthers -- transformed Pittsburgh into the City of Champions.
Joe Greene was the first player drafted by Noll and the cornerstone player of the Steelers 70s dynasty.
“Every day it was consistency, truth and knowledge -- what it takes to win on the field and what it takes to win off the field,” said Greene.
Greene was one of eight pallbearers at Tuesday’s funeral.
Bishop David Zubik delivered the mass.
“What we wanted to do was to acknowledge the deep love he had with his dear wife, the love he had for his son and the love he had for the people with whom he worked,” said Zubik.
Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.
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