Last August Dick LeBeau beamed with pride as he stood on the steps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2010. It was a long overdue honor for the former Detroit Lions cornerback.
This spring, LeBeau will go into another Hall of Fame, maybe without all of the fanfare of last year but not without the same pride.
LeBeau will be honored as an "Inductee of Distinction," in the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame at a dinner on May 7 at the Sheraton Four Points, Pittsburgh North. And it means the world to him, because it honors his accomplishments with the Steelers.
"It's very special because I am going in here strictly as a Steeler," said LeBeau. "That is a great honor.
"The particular attraction to me is I am going in as a Steeler. That is my connection to Western Pennsylvania and I am so proud of that. It's almost a special category. I am really proud not just to represent the defense, but also our organization and the Steelers franchise in this Hall of Fame."
LeBeau has guided the Steelers defense to a number one ranking in the NFL and has coached them in two Super Bowl victories. But he never lets the light shine upon himself, instead always deflecting the attention to his players and fellow coaches, and the Steelers organization as a whole.
"Any recognition I receive is because of what the players have done on the field. I am proud to represent them in these types of situations," said LeBeau. "I am so proud of it because everything good that has happened to me professionally has happened here in Pittsburgh.
"I don't know if people could put a finger on why this organization is special. If they could there would be more organizations with the record we have. It's the single family ownership and astuteness they have managed the franchise over the years. It's more than that. It's the area, the athletics here, the fans."