Kaye Cowher, wife of legendary Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher, passed away Friday after a lengthy battle with skin cancer. She was 54.
Steeler Nation probably best remembers Kaye from the frequent shots of her cheering from a private box during one of Bill’s numerous playoff games. My most vivid memory of her comes from the History of the Pittsburgh Steelers DVD. If you’ve ever seen it or any NFL Films production which deals with Super Bowl XXX, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The cameras follow Bill walking off the field following the Steelers crushing defeat by the Cowboys. At the tunnel, he encounters a crestfallen Kaye and his daughter Meagan, who has tears in her eyes. “You can’t win ‘em all,” he reassures them as he smiles and hugs them both.
That’s one of my favorite Cowher moments because he was just doing what almost every other husband/father in the world does. He was obviously devastated by the loss but he sucked it up and put on an act because consoling the family was more important than how he was feeling.
Meagan went on to play basketball in college, as did her two sisters. They were following in their mother’s footsteps. Kaye was a power forward at North Carolina State, where her and Bill met, and then played professionally in the defunct Woman’s Pro Basketball League. Kaye had a twin sister and to promote the league they appeared in commercials for Doublemint Gum.
As the name of this blog implies, I’m a huge Bill Cowher fan. I don’t know if anybody else was aware of Kaye’s battle with skin cancer but this news caught me completely by surprise. For the past three years, NFL teams have thrown millions and millions of dollars at Bill trying to lure him out of retirement. This is idle speculation but I’m now thinking the reason he repeatedly turned them down may have something to do with his wife’s condition. If that is the case, he’s earned even more of my respect.
My deepest condolences go out to Bill, Meagan, Lauren, and Lindsay Cowher on the loss of their wife and mother. On behalf of Steeler Nation, our prayers are with you.
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