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Heart and Steel

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A poignant, inspirational story about football, family, and love from Bill Cowher, the Super Bowl–winning, Hall-of-Fame Pittsburgh Steelers coach, and cohost of CBS's The NFL Today. Long before the Lombardi Trophy, the Golden Hall of Fame jacket, and successful TV career, legendary head coach Bill Cowher was simply "Billy from Crafton." Born and raised just fifteen minutes f A poignant, inspirational story about football, family, and love from Bill Cowher, the Super Bowl–winning, Hall-of-Fame Pittsburgh Steelers coach, and cohost of CBS's The NFL Today. Long before the Lombardi Trophy, the Golden Hall of Fame jacket, and successful TV career, legendary head coach Bill Cowher was simply "Billy from Crafton." Born and raised just fifteen minutes from old Three Rivers Stadium, it was in Crafton where the foundation of Cowher's irrepressible work ethic, passion for teaching, and love of football and the Pittsburgh Steelers were built. Now, for the first time, Cowher will shine a light on a life filled with success, achieved through will and resilience in situations which, often times, appeared to be hopeless. In Heart and Steel, Cowher will take you on his journey from childhood to the undersized, mohawked, disco-dancing North Carolina State linebacker, to fighting for a spot as a "bubble player" with the Browns and Eagles, before injuries ended his playing career. Bill will discuss how that same drive led to his big coaching break, running Special Teams for Marty Schottenheimer and the Cleveland Browns at just twenty-seven-years-old, before taking over the Pittsburgh Steelers just seven years later. Cowher will reveal exclusive, never-before-told anecdotes and candid thoughts on the biggest games, players, and moments that defined his fifteen-year Steelers tenure. But this is more than a "football story." In 2010, Bill lost his beloved wife, Kaye, and father, Laird, within three months of one another. It forced him, yet again, to summon that resiliency to unearth a stronger version of himself—not only so he could march on, but to add a deeper level to the loving, supportive father his three daughters had always known. Cowher's learned many lessons in his life; as a father, grandfather, husband, coach, and broadcaster. He will show you how you can continue to grow by embracing transition, personally and professionally, through renewed perspective and social consciousness. "Billy from Crafton" has come a long way. Through love and conviction, Cowher's achieved more than he ever could have dreamed of. You can, too, with the same heart and steel.


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A poignant, inspirational story about football, family, and love from Bill Cowher, the Super Bowl–winning, Hall-of-Fame Pittsburgh Steelers coach, and cohost of CBS's The NFL Today. Long before the Lombardi Trophy, the Golden Hall of Fame jacket, and successful TV career, legendary head coach Bill Cowher was simply "Billy from Crafton." Born and raised just fifteen minutes f A poignant, inspirational story about football, family, and love from Bill Cowher, the Super Bowl–winning, Hall-of-Fame Pittsburgh Steelers coach, and cohost of CBS's The NFL Today. Long before the Lombardi Trophy, the Golden Hall of Fame jacket, and successful TV career, legendary head coach Bill Cowher was simply "Billy from Crafton." Born and raised just fifteen minutes from old Three Rivers Stadium, it was in Crafton where the foundation of Cowher's irrepressible work ethic, passion for teaching, and love of football and the Pittsburgh Steelers were built. Now, for the first time, Cowher will shine a light on a life filled with success, achieved through will and resilience in situations which, often times, appeared to be hopeless. In Heart and Steel, Cowher will take you on his journey from childhood to the undersized, mohawked, disco-dancing North Carolina State linebacker, to fighting for a spot as a "bubble player" with the Browns and Eagles, before injuries ended his playing career. Bill will discuss how that same drive led to his big coaching break, running Special Teams for Marty Schottenheimer and the Cleveland Browns at just twenty-seven-years-old, before taking over the Pittsburgh Steelers just seven years later. Cowher will reveal exclusive, never-before-told anecdotes and candid thoughts on the biggest games, players, and moments that defined his fifteen-year Steelers tenure. But this is more than a "football story." In 2010, Bill lost his beloved wife, Kaye, and father, Laird, within three months of one another. It forced him, yet again, to summon that resiliency to unearth a stronger version of himself—not only so he could march on, but to add a deeper level to the loving, supportive father his three daughters had always known. Cowher's learned many lessons in his life; as a father, grandfather, husband, coach, and broadcaster. He will show you how you can continue to grow by embracing transition, personally and professionally, through renewed perspective and social consciousness. "Billy from Crafton" has come a long way. Through love and conviction, Cowher's achieved more than he ever could have dreamed of. You can, too, with the same heart and steel.

30 review for Heart and Steel

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    Great book, perfect length and depth to keep your attention, as a lifelong Steelers fan I enjoyed it. It was hard reading about his first wife dying, I knew she had died but had no idea how bad it was and how quickly it happened.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Evans

    First off, I'm a Steelers fan because my dad has been a life-long Steelers fan. I bought him this book for father's day, and bought myself a copy so we could read it together. I missed the Bill Cowher Steelers era, I was too young and honestly, just didn't care about football back then. Cowher is my dad's favorite Steelers coach, so I was excited to get a glimpse of him and be able to talk about the book and Steelers memories with my dad. I didn't expect to get so many laughs, tears, and heartfel First off, I'm a Steelers fan because my dad has been a life-long Steelers fan. I bought him this book for father's day, and bought myself a copy so we could read it together. I missed the Bill Cowher Steelers era, I was too young and honestly, just didn't care about football back then. Cowher is my dad's favorite Steelers coach, so I was excited to get a glimpse of him and be able to talk about the book and Steelers memories with my dad. I didn't expect to get so many laughs, tears, and heartfelt moments. A lot of what Cowher says in his book, what he said about coaching and motivating himself and his team, is something that can translate to all parts of life. If you love football, especially the Steelers, this is an obvious recommendation. But if you want to read a book to learn how to be a good leader and motivator, this is a must-read. Bill Cowher is a powerful example of what it means to never give up.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Trisha Hamilton

    After reading this I have even more respect for Bill Cowher. What an outstanding human being. I laughed, I cried, and I reminisced. Wonderful book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Bill Cower followers may enjoy this book. It's written from the heart. Bill Cower followers may enjoy this book. It's written from the heart.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    Fantastic piece about very good football coach Bill Cowher.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nonno1972

    Very motivating I really enjoyed the story of Bill growing up in my hometown. He gives you insight about the football players objectively, without praising or undermining anyone. The rich history of the Steelers and the Rooney family is told honestly.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    This book was received as an ARC from Simon & Schuster - Atria Books in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. As a die hard Bills fan, we always rivaled the Pittsburgh Steelers due to the brilliant football mind of Bill Cowher. Now after reading his memoir Heart and Steel, I can see how he grew up and how he got his competitive spirit. Knowing also that he grew even stronger after the loss of his father and his wife Kaye made him a st This book was received as an ARC from Simon & Schuster - Atria Books in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. As a die hard Bills fan, we always rivaled the Pittsburgh Steelers due to the brilliant football mind of Bill Cowher. Now after reading his memoir Heart and Steel, I can see how he grew up and how he got his competitive spirit. Knowing also that he grew even stronger after the loss of his father and his wife Kaye made him a stronger man and I have a new found respect for him being resilient not only as a football coach but as the co host of NFL today. We will consider adding this title to our Biography collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Timothy S. Henson

    This book fully delivered on all the pre release talk that I read. As a Steelers fan, I spent many a Sunday watching Bill Cowher lead the team but never really knew who he was until now. Cowher is much more than a football coach, and he shares great insight into all aspects of his life in this book. Steelers fan will really enjoy the book but so will any football fan.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jack Spain

    Fantastic book and practically an autobiography as I am just a year older than Coach Cowher and grew up in the town next to Crafton, PA. I also played in the same baseball league growing up as Bill and suspect we faced each other a handful of times and potentially played on the same team (obviously, he was the athlete and I was destined for other things). Suspect I walked by his house during my years there. Very well written and thoroughly enjoyable for any Pittsburgh Steeler Fan. It was amazing Fantastic book and practically an autobiography as I am just a year older than Coach Cowher and grew up in the town next to Crafton, PA. I also played in the same baseball league growing up as Bill and suspect we faced each other a handful of times and potentially played on the same team (obviously, he was the athlete and I was destined for other things). Suspect I walked by his house during my years there. Very well written and thoroughly enjoyable for any Pittsburgh Steeler Fan. It was amazing reliving my many decades as a Steeler Fan from the early days in the 60s, through the Steel Curtain days (Greene, Greenwood, Holmes, and White); Bradshaw, Lambert, Russell, & Hamm; Franco; Swan & Stallworth; Troy; The Bus; and many dozens of other extraordinary players committed to the Steeler fanatics and their Terrible Towels. It was extremely challenging to put this book down and could hardly hold it together as I finished the last chapter. I would definitely recommend this book for football fans and especially any diehard Steeler fan across the country.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Kelley

    If you are a fan of professional football more than likely you know who Bill Cowher is. This book covers his history coming up through high school and his playing days at North Carolina State in College and his career playing in the NFL. The main focus of course his time as an assistant and eventual head coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is great when you have a Hall of Fame head coach who writes a book and gives you a look behind the curtain on what it takes to maintain a professional tea If you are a fan of professional football more than likely you know who Bill Cowher is. This book covers his history coming up through high school and his playing days at North Carolina State in College and his career playing in the NFL. The main focus of course his time as an assistant and eventual head coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is great when you have a Hall of Fame head coach who writes a book and gives you a look behind the curtain on what it takes to maintain a professional team. There are parts were I wish he would have been just a little more in depth but overall this a good book. Not only do you get a look at his life in football but you also get a peek into his devoted family life. I thought it was humorous of the story at a gathering that Dan Marino attended who was asked by someone who must have not been sports fan when he mention that he was an NFL Quarterback if he was any good.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    I hesitated reading this book because I thought he could go very technical. He did but it was totally understandable. I love football. I had to read this book since he graduated from my high school just a few years ahead of me and I love his story. It is incredible to think of what he has accomplished coming from a small suburb of Pittsburgh. The story of his first wife was heartbreaking. He had me on the edge of my seat as the Steelers finally won a Super Bowl under him. I loved reading his log I hesitated reading this book because I thought he could go very technical. He did but it was totally understandable. I love football. I had to read this book since he graduated from my high school just a few years ahead of me and I love his story. It is incredible to think of what he has accomplished coming from a small suburb of Pittsburgh. The story of his first wife was heartbreaking. He had me on the edge of my seat as the Steelers finally won a Super Bowl under him. I loved reading his logic as he coached and why he made the decisions he did. It made me love the Rooney's all the more to see that how they are perceived is how they are.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tim Blackburn

    Great read. Bill Cowher has always seemed a genuinely good person and this book substiatiates that perception. Extremely well written which is no surprise considering Michael Holley is the co-author and an outstanding sportswriter. Coach Cowher takes the reader through his childhood, college and professional football player, his 15 years of coaching his hometown Pittsburg Steelers including a Super Bowl victory, along with his CBS analyst role. He takes the reader through the heartbreak of losin Great read. Bill Cowher has always seemed a genuinely good person and this book substiatiates that perception. Extremely well written which is no surprise considering Michael Holley is the co-author and an outstanding sportswriter. Coach Cowher takes the reader through his childhood, college and professional football player, his 15 years of coaching his hometown Pittsburg Steelers including a Super Bowl victory, along with his CBS analyst role. He takes the reader through the heartbreak of losing his wife to cancer in her early 50s and his love for his 3 daughters. Overall, an outstanding book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Not my typical book choice. I bought it after hearing Cowher speak (virtually, of course) through the Pittsburgh Arts and Lecture series. Though I enjoyed hearing Cowher speak about the book and his life, my initial thought was to give the book to my son or my brother, which I will probably still do. However, I am happy to have read the book. Told in first person, Cowher relates his life story from childhood to the present. I found the writing style more than adequate; the book was easy to read Not my typical book choice. I bought it after hearing Cowher speak (virtually, of course) through the Pittsburgh Arts and Lecture series. Though I enjoyed hearing Cowher speak about the book and his life, my initial thought was to give the book to my son or my brother, which I will probably still do. However, I am happy to have read the book. Told in first person, Cowher relates his life story from childhood to the present. I found the writing style more than adequate; the book was easy to read and flowed logically. I could relate to or remember many of the anecdotes.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cris

    I have been a Steeler fan for over 50 years…yes I’m showing my age! I have to say Cowher was a great coach, but I found his story interesting that he only played ball for a couple years. I felt horrible about his wife when I found out. It made me think about the saying, when people retire they die. Instead his wife passed away. She worked so hard raising their family and what should have been their time, was taken away. There were interesting things to learn in the book, so it’s definitely worth I have been a Steeler fan for over 50 years…yes I’m showing my age! I have to say Cowher was a great coach, but I found his story interesting that he only played ball for a couple years. I felt horrible about his wife when I found out. It made me think about the saying, when people retire they die. Instead his wife passed away. She worked so hard raising their family and what should have been their time, was taken away. There were interesting things to learn in the book, so it’s definitely worth reading if your a Steeler fan!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Timothy P.

    Bill Tells Most Even covering people you really don't get to see the whole picture. You get glimpses here and there. You're left to find books like this to tie all of the parts together. Bill Cowher is not a spell binding story teller but rather uses the book to tie together some loose ends to make a complete story for those who have been paying attention all along. There are some stories he left out and there are some private moments respected as the book unfolds. Yes, if you are Steelers fan this Bill Tells Most Even covering people you really don't get to see the whole picture. You get glimpses here and there. You're left to find books like this to tie all of the parts together. Bill Cowher is not a spell binding story teller but rather uses the book to tie together some loose ends to make a complete story for those who have been paying attention all along. There are some stories he left out and there are some private moments respected as the book unfolds. Yes, if you are Steelers fan this is a must read book. Just don't wait for the bombshells.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Deb Urbano

    This is a biased review, as I am a big Steelers and Pittsburgh fan. This was a very good overview of Coach Cowher's NFL carreer, what led to it, and what came after. There were moments when I would have liked a little deeper, more intimate details (like more family and parenting moments). But given that the author is a math head and a football guy, this had enough to be worth the read. The details on the death of his first wife Kay were very touching. This is a biased review, as I am a big Steelers and Pittsburgh fan. This was a very good overview of Coach Cowher's NFL carreer, what led to it, and what came after. There were moments when I would have liked a little deeper, more intimate details (like more family and parenting moments). But given that the author is a math head and a football guy, this had enough to be worth the read. The details on the death of his first wife Kay were very touching.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Paleoanthro

    Coach Cower provides us an inside look at his journey in football and life, from his highs and lows, and provides an insightful look at his philosophy and direction in life. A wonderful read and inside look into Coach Cower days with the Steelers, but also an great tool to understanding motivation and the work/life balance needed to be successful in work and life.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Wendy A Koenig

    If you are a Pittsburgh sports fan, this is a must read!!!! I enjoyed this book immensely!! it is wonderfully written!!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    Excellent book for Pittsburghers. Exciting to see how far a kid from Crafton can go. Time for Dennis Miller to write his book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Really interesting look into Bill's life. Great for any NFL fan. Really interesting look into Bill's life. Great for any NFL fan.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gabriel Jones

    Great to read this bio of the coach I loved to watch growing up. I wish it was more detailed, especially in his championship season. Regardless, a good read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Perhaps most enjoyed by fans of the black and gold, it was fun to relive the Cowher years on the field. I also found this to be a inspiring guide on what it takes to be a great leader.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sheree E Seben

    Great life story of a great man. Very well done. It brought back many memories of this Steeler fan. Recommended for any Steeler fan or any fan of NFL football.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Marie

    Cowher power will get the job done! A cool look into my favorite black & gold team & Coach!

  25. 5 out of 5

    John Gehrling

    As a life long Steelers fan who grew up watching the Cowher-led teams of the 90s and 00s, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Definitely a must read for Steelers fans.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ibraheem Yacubu

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Good

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ramon Alarcon

    Nice quick read. Enjoyed the insights about players and games that I remember as a fan. Appreciate the stories about his family and the love he had for his wife.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bobby Goldbetter

    I’m not a big biography reader but do love football so I did really enjoy the book. Learned more about the man than the coach which truly was what was important to me. It was a quick summer read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Richard Snyder

    Wonderful Book Wonderful book will make you laugh and bring a tear to your eyes. Easy read hope you enjoy as much as I did

  30. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Cerone

    Inspirational from beginning to end. What a great person, family man and Steelers coach. This is worth the read for Steelers and non-Steelers fans alike.

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