Cowher adjusts to a different tune
By JOHN NADEL
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Bill Cowher appeared completely at ease, nary a sign of that familiar intense look he wore on the sidelines during 15 years as coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Suddenly, and for the only time during a lengthy interview Tuesday, his body language changed briefly while he spoke of a new endeavour - playing the piano. It seems his teacher, Kim Russ, is pretty demanding.
"You've got to practice three or four times a week. She can tell when I don't," Cowher said. "She doesn't make me run laps or anything, but she gets on me pretty good if I don't practice enough.
"I walk out of there, my back's hurting, my neck's knotted up, and my fingers are really sore. I told her I had a bad pinkie, she said she wanted to hear results - she doesn't want excuses."
Ah, the rigours of retirement.
Actually, Cowher said he's having a great time, and chuckled about the irony of a piano teacher getting on him perhaps the same way he got on his players. He said he wanted to learn how to play the piano for years, but didn't have time in a profession he remembers as all-encompassing.
"I don't miss it. I find myself sleeping better," he said. "You're not as stress-driven. You learn to cope being a coach. You don't realize it when you're in the middle of it."
Although he's only 50, Cowher insists he doesn't plan to coach again, but knows better than to completely close the door.
"In all honesty, I hope I don't coach again. I have no plans to do it," said Cowher, in Los Angeles to promote DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket. "I don't ever want to say never. I don't want to be a hypocrite. But I have no plans to coach again and I can honestly say I don't see it happening in the near future."
Cowher left the Steelers last January with a long list of accomplishments that might land him in the Hall of Fame someday: a 161-99-1 record; two Super Bowl appearances with one championship; six AFC championship game appearances; and 10 playoff berths.
He didn't stay unemployed long, quickly landing a job with CBS as a studio analyst - a job that's enabled him to spend more time checking out the entire NFL before the start of a season than he ever had while coaching the Steelers.