Dan Rooney was a trailblazzer for the National Football League. Taking over the Pittsburgh Steelers from his father, Art Rooney in the 70s, Dan helped build a dynasty that ultimately won 4 Super Bowls in six years. While Dan would set his mark through his achievements in the front office of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the man’s reach extended far beyond that.
If you’re not familiar with the Rooney Rule, you should be. The rule, named after Dan Rooney himself, mandated that teams interview at least one minority coach for a job opening concerning the head coach of a team. Controversial at the time, the rule has helped grant opportunities to the likes of Super Bowl coaches including Ron Riveria, Lovie Smith, and the Steelers own Mike Tomlin. The rule has been so influential that it has been suggested that the idea be extend to other non sports roles including government jobs and corporations when interviewing for CEO positions.
While not an end all solution to diversity in the NFL, the rule has definitely helped transform a once diversity suffering league into one of the more inclusive ones at the head coaching level. In addition to his significant rule, Rooney was also appointed the US Ambassador to Ireland under the Obama administration. Serving proudly for three years, Rooney, would retire back to the city of Pittsburgh to continue his time as the head of the Steelers organization.
Dan Rooney was and always will be a Pittsburgh hero and a legend in the sports community. Rest in Piece Dan Rooney