The lasting image of former Steelers coach Bill Cowher may be of his goateed grimace, emblematic of his 15 years as head coach. Now that he's entered semi-retirement, Cowher's relaxed a little bit. He'll be a studio analyst for CBS this season, and you're likely to see a different Cowher than you're used to. But the intense Cowher still comes out from time to time, especially with his new hobby. He's taking piano lessons. And it seems that his teacher, Kim Russ, is the Cowher equivalent of piano teachers.
"You've got to practice three or four times a week. She can tell when I don't," Cowher said. "She doesn't make me run laps or anything, but she gets on me pretty good if I don't practice enough.Cowher is only 50, but claims that he doesn't plan to coach again. He's got too much sheet music to learn and play! But in all seriousness, Cowher's semi-retirement seems to be driven by the desire to spend more time with his family. It doesn't seem like an excuse either - he seems truly genuine.
"I walk out of there, my back's hurting, my neck's knotted up, and my fingers are really sore. I told her I had a bad pinkie, she said she wanted to hear results -- she doesn't want excuses."
"You can always go back, to coaching. You can't go back to spending time with your family."Cowher may be analyzing games for a living now, which requires on objectivity over all else. Remember when Magic Johnson first retired, and joined NBC's NBA team? He spoke of far too many "we's" than "they's." Cowher insists this wont happen.
"You don't work for people like the Rooneys and at a place like that for 15 years and not pull for them," he said. "A lot of the coaches and players I worked with are still there. I'll always pull for them, but objectively. I'm going to analyze them like anybody else."
Then, after a brief pause, Cowher said with a smile: "Like I was analyzed for the last 15 years."