Rooney never got anything handed to him, he worked his way up from water boy to front office jobs and finally, chairman of the Steelers. He spent 80 years, practically his whole life, with the black and gold. He was born and raised on the North Side and attended North Catholic High School. He went on to Duquesne University and ended up meeting his wife in the Steelers’ offices, where she also worked.
On St. Patrick’s Day in 2009, former President Obama nominated Rooney to be the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland. Rooney served until December 14, 2012. He was a longtime supporter of Obama, and told The Irish Times in 2011 that he would consider resigning from his ambassadorship position to campaign for Obama’s presidency.
Current and former Steelers paid tribute to Rooney on social media. Wide receiver Antonio Brown posted a photo of Rooney and himself on Instagram saying, “This season, the number 84 on my uniform will represent the 84 years you spent on this earth making an impact on the lives of others. I’ll miss you my friend. Thank you for everything.”
Retired Steeler Troy Polamalu tweeted: “We’ve lost the heart & soul of Steeler Nation. Incredible person humanitarian & true patriot. May his memory be eternal. Love U PapaRooney.”
Even former Coach Bill Cowher shared his condolences on Twitter saying, “RIP Dan. My Mentor & friend. Thank you for your Guidance & Wisdom. I came a Young Coach & left a Better Man. Your spirit will live forever.”
Rooney was deeply a part of Steeler nation and Pittsburgh as a whole. He truly made Pittsburgh a beautiful place and his legacy and memory will live on forever.
A public viewing will be held for Rooney at Heinz Field Monday April 17 from 2-7 p.m. at the PNC Champions Club inside the stadium. His funeral Mass will be at St. Paul Cathedral Tuesday April 18th at 11 a.m.