LATROBE, Pa. – The Steelers have been holding their training camps at Saint Vincent College for a long time, ever since they stopped on campus back in 1966 on their return trip from the University of Rhode Island for a series of practices before going on to Pittsburgh for the start of the NFL season.
Starting in the summer of 1967, the Steelers and Saint Vincent College began a mutually beneficial, full-time relationship. That same year, another beautiful relationship began, that being the one between the Steelers and Bill Nunn, who recently had been hired by Dan Rooney as a part-time scout.
The Bill Nunn Memorial Bench sits on a hill outside Benedict Hall, and it overlooks Chuck Noll Field, Mr. Nunn watched Training Camp practice until his death in May 2014.
During his 47 years with the team, Mr. Nunn was an integral part in finding many of the players who helped the Steelers dominate the NFL during the 1970s when they would win four Super Bowls in six seasons, but he also served for decades as the team's training camp manager during what became their annual visit to Saint Vincent College. Even after being relieved of those duties, Mr. Nunn still was a regular visitor to campus during the weeks the Steelers trained here, and today the team and the college dedicated a bench in his memory.
The Bill Nunn Memorial Bench sits on a hill outside Benedict Hall, and it overlooks Chuck Noll Field, where the team practices every day that it's on campus. The site of the memorial became the location where Mr. Nunn watched the players being put through their paces every summer for the last decade or so until his death in May 2014.
"For the last many years, the first stop I would make, and the first stop many people would make on the way down to practice would be right here," said Steelers President Art Rooney II. "Bill would be sitting here, and I would sit here for a few minutes with Bill getting the wisdom of the day. We thought it was an appropriate place to have a permanent marker and a place where people could come and sit in the same spot where Bill sat."
According to Father Paul Taylor, the Executive Vice President of Saint Vincent College, the idea for this memorial first was presented to him by Art Rooney II after the Steelers opened their 2014 training camp. Father Paul said he embraced the idea immediately.
"We're excited to have this," said Art Rooney II. "Thanks to everyone at Saint Vincent College for allowing us to have this part of campus to memorialize Bill."
The bench will become a permanent fixture on campus. It's to have a concrete pad installed underneath it, and it will have an engraved plaque mounted on the back to explain who Bill Nunn was and what he contributed to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Attending the dedication were Mr. Nunn's wife, Frances, and his two children, William III and Lynell Wilson, along with Art Rooney II, Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, General Manager Kevin Colbert, Coach Mike Tomlin, and the entire Steelers personnel department, as well as Bills General Manager Doug Whaley and Director of College Scouting Kelvin Fisher, both of whom worked with Mr. Nunn during their time with the Steelers.
"A lot of great memories," said Art Rooney II. "This year, it's been different not being able to visit with Bill, and so we wanted to have a place where we always can remember him and carry on the tradition of sitting and watching practice for just a little while."