CANTON — “Community, character, excellence” are three words written on the wall inside Carlynton High School. All are personified by a nearby picture of Crafton’s Bill Cowher, holding a Super Bowl trophy.
“I think the core value of who I am and how I was raised, in the surroundings I was with, I was actually blessed to be able to come back there to let my three girls be raised there as well,” Cowher told Channel 11 Sports Director Alby Oxenreiter.
Cowher grew up in Pittsburgh and then came back to do what even Chuck Noll couldn’t do — give the Steelers that one Super Bowl ring for the thumb. Cowher said that is still one of his favorite memories.
“That was very special to me, to be able to hand that trophy to Dan Rooney. The Rooney family, Dan in particular, was such a mentor to me as well as Marty Schottenheimer. Those two gentlemen, ironically both from Pittsburgh,” Cowher said.
That career in his hometown led straight to Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“I’m so proud to be from Pittsburgh, and even more proud to be a Pittsburgh Steeler because of the tradition of what they stand for,” Cowher said. “I grew up and watched what the Steelers did for the city, and to be able to be talked about with some of the greats is very humbling. You can take people out of Pittsburgh, but you can never take the Pittsburgh out of people.”
Cowher’s permanent bond with his hometown is reflected in the halls of Carlynton High School, his alma mater. His jerseys, photos and even a golden football are on display.
“There’s not a lot of schools around that can say they have a Hall of Famer from their school. And you know every time you hear him talk, he always refers back to Crafton and Carlynton. It’s good to know that he’s always thinking about us, and doesn’t forget where he came from,” said Carlynton Athletic Director Nate Milsom.
Milsom added that when Cowher comes home, it is a treat.
“Every time he comes back, he wants to walk the hall, he wants to do to the gym or onto the field. This is definitely a special place for him. He just reminisces every time he’s here. He just talks about the old days, and it’s kind of cool to see,” said Milsom.
Milsom believes Cowher still is teaching lessons to a new generation in his hometown.
“He is just a great role model. It just goes to show that coming from our school, you can do anything. If you work hard and you put in the effort, the sky is the limit,” Milsom said.
Cowher said he’s proud that he’s associated with hard work, but he’s just as proud of doing things the right way.
“I think I was blessed to have that opportunity to come back to my hometown, that kind of success and being able to rear my three daughters here,” Cowher said. “I’m very proud of that.”