On Sunday Steelers’ Chairman Dan Rooney Sr. celebrated his birthday.
On Monday, he was celebrated with the Global Sports Summit’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual event in Aspen, Colorado.
The award is presented annually to a team owner who has made a lasting contribution to their team, league and community through their leadership and commitment over an extended period of time. The winner is nominated and voted on by their peers in the Global Sports Summit Governing Body.
“He can legitimately claim that he has been there from the beginning and grew up in the business and has had a tremendous passion for the NFL and the Steelers his entire life,” said his son, Steelers’ President Art Rooney II. “That’s been something that his passion shows, and he has been an inspiration to me and everybody in the organization for many years.
“My dad was born a year before the franchise was born so he always jokes that was his first birthday present, when my grandfather bought the franchise.”
This is the fourth year a Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented, with previous winners being Jerry Reinsdorf, Chairman & Alternate NBA Governor, Chicago Bulls; Jerry Colangelo, Chairman, USA Basketball; and Peter Holt, Chairman & CEO, Spurs Sports & Entertainment, San Antonio Spurs.
“He’s probably one of the few people who that the reality of him is even more impressive than the reputation,” said Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin. “He’s very hands on. He’s a people person. He has the experience of a lifetime and he brings that to our building on a day-to-day basis.”
Rooney served as the United States Ambassador to Ireland from 2009-2012, but according to Steelers Hall of Famer Joe Greene, he earned that title long before.
“He was the Ambassador before he got the title Ambassador,” said Greene, who was Rooney’s Hall of Fame presenter. “When Dan spoke, people listened. He had a wealth of knowledge because he didn’t just come on the scene.
“The Pittsburgh Steelers are the envy of a lot of people in this league because of the consistency, and the way this organization goes about doing its business and that’s Dan Rooney.”