4:17 PM ET
ESPN.com news services
Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney has died, the team confirmed Thursday. He was 84.
Under Rooney's direction, the Steelers won four championships in six years -- Super Bowls IX, X, XIII and XIV. He also played a large role in the 1974 draft class, considered the greatest class in NFL history, in which the Steelers picked four of five future Hall of Famers -- Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webster.
Among his lasting accomplishments was his role in the establishment of the Rooney Rule, which was created in 2003 and requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation positions. The rule was named in honor of Rooney, who had served as chairman of the league's diversity committee.
Off the field, Rooney was appointed U.S. ambassador to Ireland in 2009 by President Barack Obama and served until his resignation in 2012. In March 2016, the Jackie Robinson Foundation honored Rooney with its Lifetime Achievement Award.
Rooney was born July 20, 1932, in Pittsburgh, to Art Rooney Sr., who founded the Steelers the following year. He played football for North Catholic High School, and was named to the 1949 all-Catholic League second team, notably losing the first team spot to quarterback Johnny Unitas -- whom the Steelers later signed, and cut.
Dan Rooney began working for his father in 1955 after graduating from Duquesne University. He was named president of the Steelers in 1975 and held that position until 2002, when he took on the role of chairman and his son, Art Rooney II, took over the presidency.