In the Steelers office is a wall devoted to the best of the best in the organization. It’s a wall adorned with pictures of those inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the greatest to ever play for the Steelers, as well as Hall of Fame coaches and ownership.
But what the wall doesn’t have is photos of those who would be considered Hall of Fame employees. If it did, Gerry Glenn’s photo would be front and center.
“I think Gerry would qualify as one of our Hall of Fame employees,” said Steelers President Art Rooney II. “We have been fortunate down through the years to have people who have spent long periods of time in the organization and she ranks up there in the top five in number of years spent in the organization.”
Glenn began her run with the Steelers in 1972, when Art Rooney, Sr. was running the team, as a ticket office assistant. She rose to the role of ticket manager, a position she held for 20 years, and then moved into the role of human resources/office coordinator.
She has been a part of six Super Bowl Championship teams, has worked closely with many of the Hall of Famers, and worked under the leadership of three generations of the Rooney family, Art, Sr., Dan, and Art II, something not many can say.
It’s hard to imagine the Steelers organization without her, but that has become a reality as Glenn has retired after 40 years with the team.
“I go way back with Gerry in terms of her working here with the Steelers,” said Rooney. “I remember back in the 1970s when she was managing the ticket office for us. That was like being on the front lines of the battle back in those days. It was a whole different world for us.”
It was Glenn who helped hold down the fort in the ticket office when the Steelers popularity soared in the few years after Franco Harris’ Immaculate Reception in 1972, that then transitioned in four Super Bowl wins in six years.
“We had not experienced a situation where our tickets had that much demand until 1972,” said Rooney. “I remember some of those days when there were lines out the door, people trying to break down the doors to buy tickets. Gerry was in charge of it. Those were fun times, but challenging times.”
And Glenn handled it with the same smooth, professional approach that she handles everything that comes her way. She has juggled a wide array of responsibilities over the years, managing tickets, employees, and events. As former coach Chuck Noll always said, “The more you can do.” That is how Glenn approached work.
“That offseason the ticket office was crushed,” said Bob McCartney, the Steelers video coordinator who started the same year as Glenn. “I used to go down there and help out during the week. She taught me all there is to know about ticketing. She was the glue that held everything together. Whenever you went into the ticket office you would see Gerry and she would help you. It was always a pleasure to go down there because you could sit and have a conversation with her.
“She has worn numerous hats. We worked together on the project of building the practice facility. We worked on laying it out, furnishing it, all of that. She is one of those people that can look at the big picture and understand what everyone’s needs are. She is willing to say yes to a lot of things, and doesn’t mind saying no if it doesn’t work. She can sit down with people, understand they have a problem, deal with it and move on and keep going.”
One thing Glenn doesn’t like to do is sit down and talk a lot about herself. She loves talking about her family, her son Michael, her sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews. She has shared many milestones in their lives with fellow staff, making us all part of her extended family.
Her door was always open if you wanted to talk about something special that has happened in your own life, or share a few tears over something sad.
“Sometimes when you have a close friendship with somebody you overrate how well they do something, but I have worked with Gerry for years and she is very bright, hard-working and completely dedicated,” said Dan Ferens, the Steelers business administrator. “Mr. (Dan) Rooney always said the Steelers way and Gerry epitomized that. She understands people, she is compassionate. All those things being said, she is even a better person and friend. That can’t ever be underestimated. She will always be a good friend.”
Glenn has a lifetime of memories filled with wins and losses, with the highs and lows of working in sports. But more than that, she has the respect, admiration and friendship of her co-workers, people who will be her friends for years to come.
“I can’t thank the Rooney family, the organization, everybody enough,” said Glenn. “Words just don’t describe how grateful I am for the opportunities and support for everything they have done for me and my family over the course of these many years.
“I was just reflecting on the Super Bowls recently and thought, wow, I don’t know how that all happened with six victories, eight appearances. Those are experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything. And as much as I love all of that, what I will miss most is the people – the staff, management, coaches, all of the people I have met over the years. I have retained a lot of friendships with people I met through the organization. They are all friends.”
Over the next week when Steelers staff report to work, everyone will go about their business like every other day. OTAs will take place, and the usual hustle and bustle that is the offseason will keep the place buzzing.
But something will be missing. The office many of us stopped in for a quick chat in the morning will be dark. Glenn’s cheerful smile won’t be greeting us.
“It would be hard to overstate what she has meant to the organization in so many different ways,” said Rooney. “She is someone who is appreciated and loved around here and we will miss her. It will be different without her.”
It sure will.
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