From SI-From the same city that gave the world the polio vaccine, the first movie theater and the banana split come five current NFL head coaches, including four of 16 -- 25 percent -- in the AFC.
Welcome to Pittsburgh.
Head coaches Bill Cowher (Pittsburgh), Jim Haslett (New Orleans), Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati), Marty Schottenheimer (San Diego) and Dave Wannstedt (Miami) all hail from the greater Pittsburgh area.
"Football is a large part of the heritage of Western Pennsylvania," says Cowher, who owns the longest tenure of any current NFL head coach with one team (11 seasons). "The game has such a great tradition here. It most likely stems from the blue-collar work ethic that originated from the early years of the area.
"The fact that so many NFL head coaches are natives of this area is also a tribute to the excellent football coaching available at such a formative age."
Haslett echoes his former Steelers boss. "I worked for Bill [Pittsburgh, 1997-99] and learned from him much of what it takes to be a head coach, and I always have admired Marty [Schottenheimer] as a player and a coach," says Haslett. "I believe that the area all five of us come from breeds a mutual respect for each other. I know that I respect each of those guys a tremendous amount.
"The area has a great tradition of football on all levels -- tough football -- and it was part of growing up as a kid. You started with it young and it just became part of your life."
Pittsburgh's native sons have NFL coaching credentials taller than the Monongahela Incline. The Bengals' Lewis is the lone rookie head coach of the group, but has made his mark as a defensive coordinator. In 2000, his Baltimore Ravens unit set an NFL record for fewest points allowed in a 16-game season (165).
"Football always has been an important part of the fabric of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, and I think that ties into the work ethic that is part of the culture there," says Wannstedt, who attended the University of Pittsburgh and began his coaching career at Pitt. "Growing up around Pittsburgh's steel mills, I really learned the value of hard work, and that carried over to the football field, from the scholastic ranks all the way up to the NFL."
Lewis credits the parents of the Pittsburgh natives who now lead NFL teams. "We grew up under parents who had solid work ethics in a blue-collar environment," he says. "Their principles were built on hard work and, as a result, our foundations were built on hard work."
Earlier in Schottenheimer's career, he was joined by four fellow Pittsburgh natives who were then NFL head coaches: Joe Bugel, Chuck Knox, Ted Marchibroda and Joe Walton. "I've always felt that the one element that you learn in Western Pennsylvania is that nobody will give you anything," says Schottenheimer. "You're going to have to work for whatever you get in your life. Western Pennsylvania was always a hotbed of football before Texas and California and Florida were recognized.
"A lot of kids grew up with the idea that football was something they were going to be involved with."
Lewis and Schottenheimer both attended Fort Cherry High School in McDonald, Pennsylvania and played for the school's legendary head football coach James Garry. A 1994 inductee into the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Hall of Fame, Garry coached Fort Cherry from 1958-2002. Along with instilling football values such as discipline and teamwork, Garry compiled a sterling coaching record of 265-153-14 (.630).
"They did a real good job for me," says Garry about his former players-turned-NFL-head coaches. "They were always very attentive. They were team leaders and they're good people."