View Full Version : Bill Cowher's wife has passed away

Basketball Fan
07-24-2010, 11:30 AM
Kaye Cowher, wife of former Steelers coach, dies at age 54
Friday, July 23, 2010
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Steve Mellon
Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher and wife Kaye greet fans during a parade celebrating the team's victory in Super Bowl XL, Feb. 7, 2006.

Kaye Cowher, the wife of former Steelers football coach Bill Cowher, died Friday in her native North Carolina after losing a battle with skin cancer. She was 54.

The Cowhers moved to Raleigh, N.C., in 2006, Mr. Cowher's final season coaching the Steelers, and continued to make it their home.

The Cowhers met when they were classmates at North Carolina State University in 1976. Mr. Cowher was on the football team and Mrs. Cowher, the former Kaye Young, and her twin sister, Faye, played basketball.

Tall at 5-foot-11, Mrs. Cowher displayed an inside power game that made her one of the first young women in her home state to receive a college athletic scholarship.

Her teams at North Carolina State went 21-3 and 29-5, respectively, winning the inaugural Atlantic Coast Conference women's basketball title in 1978 with a 9-0 record and ranking No. 3 nationally.

Faye and Kaye later played for the Women's Professional Basketball League, where Mrs. Cowher was among the pioneers in the early days of Title IX. They played one season with the New York Stars and two with the New Jersey Gems, competing against notable stars Carol Blazejowski and Nancy Lieberman.

After the league folded in 1981, she married Mr. Cowher, who was then playing for the Cleveland Browns.

From Bunn, N.C., where her father initially refused to let his twin daughters play the rough sport of basketball, Mrs. Cowher's mother made it happen.

"The reason we played is because of my mother," Kaye Cowher told the Post-Gazette in 2002. "She said that absolutely, these girls are going to have the opportunity to play."

She also appeared in a Wrigley Doublemint gum commercial with her twin sister.

Mrs. Cowher spent two years at Peace College in Raleigh before transferring to North Carolina State, where she graduated with a bachelor's in sociology in 1978.

At the time of her death she was a member of the North Carolina State Board of Visitors, an honorary body that advises the chancellor and board of trustees.

The Cowhers have three daughters, Meagan, Lauren, and Lindsay, all of whom have been standout basketball players. The oldest two, Meagan and Lauren, played together at Princeton University, where Meagan was the fourth-highest scorer in the program's history and Lauren was a co-captain finishing the 2008-09 season as the team's leading scorer.

The parents often took in their daughters' Tigers games.

"The girls get all their skills from their Mom -- she started to teach them at an early age," Bill once told The Daily Princetonian. "I'm just a spectator who loves the game."

Mrs. Cowher was a constant presence in the press box on Steelers game days and was considered as resolute and steely as her more famous husband.

She was the driving force behind her husband's retirement in 2007, pressing him to move with her and their youngest daughter to North Carolina, help with the commute to basketball games, reunite the nuclear family before their final daughter left the nest. Lindsay last winter completed her freshman season at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., where she played sparsely in 14 games.

For the last three years, Mr. Cowher, a Crafton native who attended Carlynton High School, has worked as a studio analyst for CBS Sports on its "NFL Today" show.

The family has requested privacy and has released no information on Mrs. Cowher's death. Services will be held in North Carolina on Monday.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10204/1075087-100.stm#ixzz0uc7eq2EB

07-24-2010, 12:52 PM
My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. I have a brother that has terminal cancer so this hits close to home for me.

Basketball Fan
07-24-2010, 03:39 PM
He released a statement


"Kaye was such a loving and compassionate person and she was the foundation of our family," Cowher said. "Kaye was always at my side throughout my career as a player, coach, NFL analyst and, most importantly, as a parent to our three daughters Meagan, Lauren and Lindsay. They will miss their mother dearly.

"Kaye was the rock that we could all lean on in the tough times. She was looked up to by so many people and I cannot say enough about what Kaye meant to our family. Her memory will never be forgotten. We would like to thank everyone who has kept our family in their thoughts and prayers and for those who have reached out to express their condolences. It is clear that Kaye touched a lot of lives."

07-24-2010, 09:02 PM


07-25-2010, 07:40 AM
Too young. RIP

07-25-2010, 12:49 PM
Very very sad. Thoughts are with his family.

I Love P
07-25-2010, 09:44 PM
That sucks but are we gonna hear about his sister-in-law passing away, cousin or brother? I mean it's never good to hear about someone passing away but seriously, I saw that on the bottom line last night. Is there any reason for that on the bottom line? I think not.

No offense

07-25-2010, 10:27 PM
RIP. Wouldn't mind seeing Bill come to Indy and coach the Colts some day.

Basketball Fan
07-25-2010, 10:27 PM
That sucks but are we gonna hear about his sister-in-law passing away, cousin or brother? I mean it's never good to hear about someone passing away but seriously, I saw that on the bottom line last night. Is there any reason for that on the bottom line? I think not.

No offense

Well the same could be said about Tony Dungy's son. Yet we still heard about it.

Cowher's wife though was quite the athlete at NC State she lead them to their only women's basketball title so I think that is a large part of why she was mentioned.

Basketball Fan
08-25-2010, 10:59 PM

For Cowher, Coaching Was Never the Priority
Published: August 24, 2010

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For more than three years, Bill Cowher has resisted the impulse to return to the sideline. He had not lost his fire so much as he had started a new life that did not make finding the next coaching job an urgent priority.
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David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Bill Cowher with his wife, Kaye, after the Steelers beat the Seahawks to win Super Bowl XL in February 2006. Kaye received a diagnosis of melanoma earlier this year and died late last month.
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From right, Art Rooney II, Bill and Kaye Cowher in January 2007 when Cowher stepped down as the coach of the Steelers.

Cowher, a former Pittsburgh Steelers coach, and his wife, Kaye, moved to Raleigh, N.C., during his final season with the Steelers in 2006 and watched their three daughters grow up. Cowher became a studio analyst for CBS Sports and took piano lessons.

But in February of this year, Kaye Cowher received a diagnosis of melanoma. Late last month, she died, at 54

“It was a quick and unfortunate downward spiral in five months’ time,” he said Tuesday at CBS’s Midtown headquarters. “They went in to remove what they thought was a muscle mass and after doing a needle biopsy, they found the melanoma and couldn’t really find a treatment to cure it.”

They met in 1976 after one of his football games at North Carolina State. She was a senior on the basketball team with her twin, Faye. He was a linebacker in his junior year. The sisters then played for the New York Stars and the New Jersey Gems of the Women’s Professional Basketball League.

He played for the Cleveland Browns and the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Cowhers married in 1983. During his coaching years, Cowher said, his wife “was mother and father during the football season.”

He added, “The one thing that she always gave me was stability at home.”

The speed with which Kaye Cowher died suggests the brutal seriousness of melanoma, especially when it is advanced. Dr. Martin Weinstock, a professor of dermatology and community health at Brown University, said that 70,000 new cases of melanoma were diagnosed each year in the United States and that 9,000 people died from the disease.

“It’s very serious, and unlike most forms of cancer, it’s increasing,” he said, citing exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun and tanning booths as the culprits for most cases. He added: “Most people who get melanoma don’t die. Most are cured. But of those who die, it’s usually more than five months after diagnosis.”

Cowher said that the pace of his wife’s illness was “a tough process.” Standing in a crowded conference room during CBS’s preseason media day, he said: “The medications she went through; the trial she tried, it really exasperated her. She had some moments of clarity in subsequent times. It was a very tough thing to go through and to watch.”

He added, “Cancer, very particularly melanoma, once it gets into your blood, it’s a difficult cancer to stop.”

He said all of this matter-of-factly, the familiar chin barely hidden behind the thin growth of his beard.

“Adversity comes in life,” he said. “I lost my father in April, but he was 87 and he lived a good life. You want to appreciate the memories and I don’t have any regrets. We did everything. The girls sacrificed things. When you have cancer and you have some time, you have a chance to say and do things, as opposed to when somebody passes away suddenly. We were able to cherish the special moments at the end.”

Now, he said, “We have to move on.”

The next step might be coaching but he is not in a rush. He enjoys the CBS job and has done well at it. “If the right situation occurred, I’d consider coaching,” he said. “But everyone asks, ‘What’s the right situation?’ I don’t know. I’m not sitting and looking at any one job.”

One thing he would not do if he returned is let HBO and NFL Films produce “Hard Knocks” at his training camp. He said he rejected their offer to follow him and the Steelers a few years ago. He said that he did not think the format was the best way to present football.

“It should be understood that there’s a responsibility to promote the game in a good light, but behind the scenes, tough things are said and tough decisions are made,” he said. “It’s important to promote the game the best way you can with the understanding that a lot of people are watching.”

He didn’t criticize Jets Coach Rex Ryan’s cursing on the current edition of “Hard Knocks,” as the former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy has.

Cowher, who publicly fulminated (with expectorant) when he was the Steelers coach, recognizes that emotion makes coaches and players say things that are not for all ears.

“If you’re going to be seen by a national audience,” he said, “respect the game, respect the league, respect the people who are watching. There’s a responsibility to acting like a role model.”

One story about Kaye Cowher, which was related in her obituary in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, may color Cowher’s knock on “Hard Knocks.” A neighbor said that “Kaye let him have it” after she read curses on his lips during a Steelers game. The neighbor said that Cowher was told by his wife, “You’ve got three daughters, and you need to be an example to them and the community.” After that, the neighbor said, “he had to shape up.”