Pitt to honor Dan Rooney at spring game with special helmet (Video)

Pitt will honor late Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney during its spring game on Saturday.

As part of the annual Blue-Gold Game, the Panthers will wear special helmets — with the Pitt logo on one side and the Pittsburgh Steelers logo on the other — to pay tribute to Rooney, who died Thursday at age 84.

Rooney’s father Art founded the Steelers in 1933 and turned the title of president over to Dan in 1975. He served in that role until 2002, when he handed the reins over to his son, Art Rooney II. Dan Rooney also served as the United States Ambassador to Ireland from 2009-12.

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“Dan Rooney was an innovative leader who forever shaped the sport of football and the city of Pittsburgh,” said University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “His knack for resolving conflict, championing diversity and pursuing excellence with integrity earned him not only Super Bowl rings, but our collective admiration and affection. On behalf of the University of Pittsburgh, I extend my deepest sympathies to the entire Rooney family and the Steelers franchise.”

Roger Goodell and Dan Rooney at Steelers training camp in 2010. (AP)
Roger Goodell and Dan Rooney at Steelers training camp in 2010. (AP)

Added Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi: “A truly unforgettable and special moment for me was getting a personal visit from Dan Rooney after I had just accepted the head coaching job at Pitt. This is a man who built one of the most successful and famous sports organizations in the world, yet he was always so humble and accessible to everyone.

“Mr. Rooney represents the very best of the game of football and the very best of Pittsburgh. I don’t believe this unique collaboration between an NFL team and college program could exist anywhere else. The credit for that goes to Mr. Rooney and his passionate commitment to Pitt and Pittsburgh. Our hearts and prayers are with the Rooney family and Steelers organization.”

Saturday’s spring game will kickoff at 1 p.m. at Heinz Field, which Pitt shares with the Steelers.

For more Pittsburgh news, visit Panther-lair.com.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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