Shutdown Corner - NFL

Very sad news from Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Kaye Cowher (pictured, far left), wife of ex-Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher, lost her battle with skin cancer and passed away on Friday in North Carolina at the age of 54.

Mrs. Cowher was a native of North Carolina - the Cowhers met while attending North Carolina State in 1976 - and the Cowhers moved there after Bill retired from coaching in January of 2007.

Services will be held on Monday.

Mrs. Cowher played basketball at North Carolina State, and was one of the first women in her home state to receive an athletic scholarship, according to Bouchette. She later played in the Women's Professional Basketball League until that league folded in 1981. She then married her husband, who was playing for the Cleveland Browns. The Cowhers' three daughters, Meagan, Lauren, and Lindsay, have all been basketball players, speaking to the strong influence of their mother -- and grandmother. Their father originally didn't want them to play, but was overruled by Mrs. Cowher's mother.

"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."

Perhaps the most abiding public memory of Mrs. Cowher is the hug she gave her husband after the Pittsburgh Steelers lost Super Bowl XXX to the Dallas Cowboys. She was, according to Bouchette, a regular presence in press boxes on Steelers game days.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Cowher family.

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