Former Tigers coaches lead Steelers to Super Bowl Sunday - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

Former Tigers coaches lead Steelers to Super Bowl Sunday

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC-TV) - This Sunday's Super Bowl will feature three coaches with ties to the Mid-South: Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, wide receiver coach Randy Fichtner and linebacker coach Keith Butler.
  
All three men once coached at the University of Memphis, and all three coached at Arkansas state together before heading to Pittsburgh.

Tomlin spent two years as graduate assistant at the U of M. He's the youngest head coach ever to take an NFL team to the Super Bowl. And if he wins on Sunday, Tomlin will be just the second African American head coach to win football's biggest game.

"I knew Mike Tomlin was going to be very successful just because of his work habits," said John Flowers, Director of Football Operations for the University of Memphis. 
 
Flowers has been a part of University of Memphis football for 24 years. He shared a media guide photo from 1996 of Tomlin as a young Memphis Tigers graduate assistant. Now, 13 years later, Tomlin's team is favored to win Super Bowl 43.

"He was here when you got here. He stayed when you left," said Flowers about Tomlin's work ethic. "He studied the game. He wanted to know everything that there was to know to become a good football coach."
 
Wide receiver coach Randy Fichtner coached the Tigers twice, most recently as offensive coordinator for Tommy West.

"High energy guy...works nonstop," Flowers said. 
 
And then there's linebacker coach Keith Butler, a former Tiger linebacker who played in the 1970s. He also coached linebackers for the blue and white in the 1990s.

"It says volumes...we have a quality football program here. It's a big-time college football program," said Flowers.
 
You can expect there will be many Steelers fans among the University Of Memphis sports staff this Superbowl Sunday.


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