Most football fans hadn’t heard of long-time Steelers scout Bill Nunn before he passed away this week at 89 after suffering a stroke. Every football fan — and every fan of the Steelers of the 1970s — should know who he is and what he did for one of the greatest teams in league history.
A pioneer in the scouting of players from African-American colleges, thanks to his time compiling the Black College All-American team, Nunn helped the Steelers discover players like Mel Blount, John Stallworth, L.C. Greenwood, Donnie Shell and Ernie Holmes.
“There is no way the Steelers win those Super Bowls in the ’70s without him,” former Steelers player, former NFL assistant coach and head coach, and current analyst for NBC’s Football Night in America Tony Dungy told PFT via text message. “He tutored me during my time on the staff as well. I will miss him.”
Nunn lived a diverse, intriguing, and admirable life. He played college basketball at West Virginia State, helped integrate the NBA after World War II, became a journalist with the Pittsburgh Courier, and used his study of African-American players at traditionally black colleges to help the Steelers get the right players in the right positions to create one of the greatest dynasties in the history of professional sports.
We extend our condolences to Bill Nunn’s family, colleagues, friends, and the Steelers organization.