ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Friday evening, long-time Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll passed away at the age of 82.
"The guy's in the Hall of Fame. His accomplishments were outstanding," Head Coach John Fox said. "I know what he meant to the city of Pittsburgh and I know what he meant to the Pittsburgh Steelers organization. And I know what he means to the Fox family as well. That was my first opportunity in pro football and I can't think of a better guy to start your career with. He had such a big influence."
Fox's first stint in the NFL came courtesy of Noll, who hired him as the Steelers' secondary coach in 1989.
"I had to get directions to Three Rivers Stadium," Fox said of interviewing with Noll. "I'd been out to Latrobe to watch their camp, but never been to their stadium. But it was a great time. I actually had two interviews with him and just a tremendous experience."
"I've got to admit, I was nervous," he laughed.
Needless to say, Fox got the job and spent the next three seasons in Pittsburgh, leaving for the San Diego Chargers when Noll retired at the end of the 1991 campaign.
Fox credited Noll as a big influence in his life, and he provided a number of traits Fox took with him throughout his coaching career.
"Probably his even-keel approach and his technique orientations and his teaching ability," Fox said. "The guy was constantly trying to acquire knowledge, it didn't matter what realm it was. He was a tremendous teacher and he did, like I said, acquire knowledge all the time. He'd coach anybody at any time."
"He'll be missed by not just the Pittsburgh Steelers and the city of Pittsburgh but the whole National Football League."