By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Steelers management has compiled a list of head coaching candidates when, as they expect, Bill Cowher steps down after he concludes his 15th season on the job in Cincinnati today.
Although Mr. Cowher, 49, said last Tuesday that it would not be long before he makes an announcement clearing up his plans, no press conference is scheduled and none may occur this week in Pittsburgh, at least not with Mr. Cowher present.
Mr. Cowher plans to meet with his players at the team's UPMC complex on the South Side Tuesday and then leave for his new home in Raleigh, N.C., where his wife, Kaye, and youngest daughter, Lindsay, a high school sophomore, have lived most of the past year.
He has not informed his players or his coaching staff of his plans. Steelers chairman Dan Rooney and his son, team president Art Rooney II, have not commented on the situation.
The Rooneys would join Kevin Colbert, the director of football operations, in heading a coaching search, the team's first since 1992. At that time, the Steelers interviewed about a dozen candidates for the job, including current Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt, one of two finalists for the position that Mr. Cowher landed after longtime coach Chuck Noll retired.
Two members of Mr. Cowher's offensive staff are considered the prime candidates to take his place: Russ Grimm, the assistant head coach and line coach, and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. The Steelers also want to interview outside candidates, including University of Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, an Upper St. Clair native. The NFL requires each team to interview a minority coach -- called the Rooney Rule because Dan Rooney proposed it -- and the Steelers will do that.