Thursday, May 8, 2014

To Absent Friends: Bill Nunn, Jr.

John Stallworth, Mel Blount, Ernie Holmes, Donnie Schell, and Glen Edwards.

What do those five guys have in common?  Well, they all played college football at small, traditionally all black colleges, they all played key parts for the Steelers (two of them are Hall of Famers) in their run of four Super Bowl championships in 1974-75-78-79, and the Steelers would certainly not have won all four, and maybe none, of those Super Bowls without them.  One other thing that they have in common is that they were all scouted by and brought to the attention of the Steelers by super scout Bill Nunn, Jr.

Bill Nunn passed away yesterday at the age of 89, and even though he retired as a full time employee of the Steelers a number of years ago, he was still working part-time reviewing film and compiling scouting reports for the Steelers leading up to this week's NFL draft.  Nunn's impact will still be felt this week as the Steelers make their selections in the draft.

Nunn, a sports reporter for the Pittsburgh Courier, was among the very first people to recognize the talent pool that existed in black colleges throughout the country, and it was the Steelers good fortune that they tapped into that expertise, and eventually brought Nunn on board as a full-time personnel guy and scout.  Nunn's importance and impact can best be summed up by this quote from Hall of Famer Mel Blount that appeared in the obit in this morning's Post-Gazette:

"You cannot write the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers without Bill Nunn,  When you look at the Steelers of the 1970s, none of that would have happened without Bill Nunn."

Can't add anything to that.  RIP Bill Nunn, Jr.

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