MONDAY, JANUARY 22nd 2007
"We are very excited to announce that Mike Tomlin has accepted the position of head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers," said Steelers President Art Rooney II. With those words, Mr. Rooney introduced another chapter in the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Mike Tomlin, 34, spent last season as the defensive coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings, after spending the previous five seasons (2001-05) as defensive backs coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He is now the commander in chief of one of only three elite teams to have won five Super Bowls.
Under Tomlin's guidance, Minnesota led the NFL in stopping the run and ranked eighth in the league in total defense. At Tampa Bay, he helped the Buccaneers lead the NFL in pass defense in 2004 and rank third in 2003.
Prior to joining Tampa Bay, Tomlin spent two seasons as defensive backs coach at the University of Cincinnati (1999-2000). Tomlin began his coaching career in 1995 as wide receivers coach at Virginia Military Institute. He coached defensive backs and special teams at Memphis in 1996, before moving on to Arkansas State, where he coached wide receivers in 1997 and defensive backs in 1998.
"We feel Mike Tomlin is the ideal person to uphold the strong history and tradition of Steelers football," said Dan Rooney. "Mike possesses the qualities we were looking for as the leader of our team, and we look forward to working with him for many years to come."
Tomlin will bring to Pittsburgh his own ideas, but fortunately the fear that Dick LeBeau would be shown the door were unfounded. During his press conference Tomlin remarked, “Anybody in this business that knows him has a great deal of respect for Coach LeBeau and I look forward to having the opportunity to work with him.”
On the kind of football team that he would like to see, Tomlin commented, “A fundamentalist football team that wins by attrition, that is mentally and physically tough.
Of course, it is no secret in the National Football League that in order to win you have to stop the run and you have to run the ball effectively. I think to be general, that is what our football team will be about.”