Ultimately, he'd go on to coach his childhood favorites, the Steelers.
Monday night, he has a decision to make. Root for his true hometown team the Penguins or crank the hurricane warning siren for his new hometown team the Hurricanes.
For 15 years, Bill Cowher was the face of a franchise that called Pittsburgh, the City of Champions home. Upon his "retirement" from the NFL, Bill Cowher decided he wanted to be closer to his family, who made home in Raleigh.
Two years after his departure from Pittsburgh it is hockey, not football, that has connected Cowher to his true hometown again.
It is also NOT a secret that current Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin frequents many Penguins games with his kids. When Tomlin is in attendance, it is no coincidence that the scoreboard operators make sure to show him on the scoreboard above center ice.
As a Pittsburgher, who grew up a native and coached the city's pride-and-joy Steelers, one would assume Cowher would root on the Pens. We all know what happens when you assume!
For excitement factors, lets hope Cowher does take the side of the Hurricanes. We should also hope that coach Tomlin's already known presence and loyalty to the Penguins grows fonder.
Cowher vs. Tomlin- each has led the Steelers to a Super Bowl. Something tells me that Mike Tomlin will lead that category before his coaching days in Pittsburgh are over. The tiebreaker in this equation, for now, will be decided by whose "team" wins the Eastern Conference final, advancing to play for the Stanley Cup.
Sure, this may be a reach, but it is a fun one at that. Let Cowher fire up the "Caniac's" with a hurricane warning. However, how sweet it would be for Penguins and Steelers fans alike to see Tomlin pump up an already jacked whiteout crowd with some type of tactics.
17,132 Terrible Towels would do the trick. 17,132 white towels would do just the same.
The series itself should be a great conference final. With Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury facing off against Jussi Jokinen, Ray Whitney and Cam Ward. Lets not forget brothers Eric Staal and Jordan Staal facing each other.
But the most interesting plot of them all Mike Tomlin (PENS) vs. Bill Cowher (CANES)!