Former Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Bill Cowher broke some news behind closed doors in his introductory meeting with his new CBS teammates during last week’s network seminar. “Bill came in to have a few words with our group and said, ‘I’m not coaching this year, or in 2008,’ ” CBS analyst Solomon Wilcots says. “It surprised me, only because you know he’s going to be in demand, despite saying that. There’s still going to be owners who believe they can woo him and will come after him.
“But I don’t think it’s based just on Bill’s commitment to TV. It’s more that he wants to see his (two older) daughters play basketball at Princeton.” Wilcots, who played for Cowher in the coach’s 1992 rookie season in Pittsburgh, recalled a phone call when his wife’s water broke before Cowher’s first playoff game. Cowher told his defensive back to stay with his wife.
“Family is important to Bill, trust me,” Wilcots says.
Says Tony Petitti, executive vice president and producer for CBS Sports, “Obviously, we know he’s going to be sought after as a coach at some point. But with Bill Cowher, there’s no doubt we’re taking an already strong show (The NFL Today) and making it better. “He’s going to see where he is after that. But he said he’s going to do this for a couple of seasons.”
Skeptics will insist Cowher is just driving up his stock and will wonder how Cowher will react when some owner makes a lucrative offer after an abysmal 2007 start : or finish.
But a tanned, leaner Cowher, 50, doesn’t regret stepping away after 15 seasons in Pittsburgh. “We’re spending Labor Day weekend at the beach,” Cowher says. “I haven’t been able to do that since I started coaching. : This allows football to be a big part of my life but not an all-consuming part.”