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NC State Football

RELEASE: Bill Cowher to be Inducted Into the NC State Ring of Honor

August 11, 2023

RALEIGH, NC — NFL legend Bill Cowher, the only former NC State player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, will be the newest member of Wolfpack Football's Ring of Honor, Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan and head coach Dave Doeren announced today.

Cowher will be honored in ceremonies prior to the Louisville game on Friday, Sept. 29.

"Bill Cowher has left an indelible mark on the game of football and is certainly beloved by Wolfpack Nation," said Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan. "It is an absolute privilege to recognize his remarkable contributions and celebrate his outstanding career."

"Throughout his career, Bill Cowher has epitomized what Wolfpack football is all about," said head coach Dave Doeren. "He is a true mentor, leader, and icon in the coaching profession, and we are so proud to be able to honor him in Carter-Finley Stadium alongside other NC State legends."

The Crafton, Pa., native starred at linebacker for the Wolfpack from 1975-78 under head coaches Lou Holtz and Bo Rein. He still ranks seventh in school history in career tackles (371), while his 195 stops in 1978 still stands as a single-season record. He recorded two 24-tackle games (against South Carolina in 1977 and Clemson in 1978), tallies that still rank second in the record books.

Cowher played five seasons in the NFL (1980-84) for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cleveland Browns. At the age of 28, he began his coaching career under Marty Schottenheimer with the Browns, serving as special teams coach (1985-86) and secondary coach (1987-88) before following Schottenheimer to the Kansas City Chiefs, where he took on the role of defensive coordinator.

In January 1992, he was named head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He would serve in that role for 15 seasons, becoming the second coach in league history to lead his team to the playoffs in each of his first six seasons as head coach. Cowher boasted a regular season record of 149-90-1 (.623) and a postseason record of 12-9 (.571) for an overall record of 161-99-1 (.619). He was named NFL Coach of the Year twice (1992 by Associated Press and Sporting News; 2004 by Sporting News).

During his tenure, the Steelers captured eight division titles, earned 10 postseason playoff berths, played in 21 playoff games, advanced to six AFC Championship games, and made two Super Bowl appearances. In 1995, the 38-year-old became the youngest coach in NFL history to lead his team to the Super Bowl, and he is one of only six coaches in NFL history to claim at least seven division titles. 

On February 5, 2006, Cowher led the Steelers to victory in Super Bowl XL.

In January of 2007, he resigned as head coach of the Steelers, finishing with a record of 161–99–1 as head coach. That same year, he began as a CBS NFL Today studio analyst. He was on set in 2020 when he learned he had been selected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

"What a tremendous honor it is to be inducted to the Ring Of Honor in Carter-Finley Stadium," said Cowher. "It is a legendary list of past honorees. I came to NC State as a boy from Crafton, PA, and left four years later a man. Thanks to the tutelage and guidance of so many - Lou Holtz, Bo Rein, & Chuck Amato, to name a few. This is a very SPECIAL recognition. Go Pack!"

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