Bill Nunn (American football)

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William Goldwyn Nunn Jr.
Pittsburgh Steelers
Born: (1924-09-30)September 30, 1924
Homewood, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: May 6, 2014(2014-05-06) (aged 89)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA
Career information
Status former scout
College West Virginia State College[1]
High school Westinghouse High School (Pittsburgh)
Career history
As administrator
19701987 Pittsburgh Steelers Assistant Personnel Director
19872014 Pittsburgh Steelers scout (semi-retired)
Career highlights and awards
Honors Black College Football Hall of Fame (inaugural member – 2010)[2][3]
2011 Pittsburgh Pro Football Hall of Fame (inaugural member – 2011)[4]

William Goldwyn "Bill" Nunn Jr. (September 30, 1924 – May 6, 2014) was a sportswriter, newspaper editor and American football scout for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the National Football League (NFL). Due to the fame of his son, actor William G. Nunn III, he was also known as Bill Nunn Sr.


Early life[edit]

Nunn was born and raised in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the son of William G. Nunn Sr., who was the managing editor of the Pittsburgh Courier. The Courier was among the most influential black publications in the nation.[5][6]

The younger Nunn attended college at West Virginia State where he was a stand-out basketball player on a team which went 26–0 in his senior season.[7] His high school and college teammate, Chuck Cooper would become the first black player drafted by the NBA. Another college teammate, Earl Lloyd, was the first black to play in an NBA game.[1]

Nunn was recruited by the Harlem Globetrotters, but chose instead to return home to Pittsburgh to work at the Courier.[7]


Nunn started as a sportswriter at the Courier, and eventually moved up to become the sports editor and then managing editor in the mid-1960s after his father's retirement.[5]

Scouting career[edit]

As a sportswriter for a black publication, Nunn developed deep knowledge of football programs at historically black colleges and universities. The Courier named a "Black College All-America" team starting in 1950.[8] The NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers noted Nunn's coverage of these players who were traditionally under-represented in the league and in 1967 Nunn accepted a part-time position on team's scouting staff. The sideline became a full-time position two years later when Chuck Noll became the team's coach.[5]


Nunn lived with his wife, Frances, in the Schenley Heights neighborhood of Pittsburgh.[9] Their son Bill was an actor; he played Radio Raheem in Do The Right Thing. Because of his son's fame, the elder Nunn referred to himself as Bill Nunn Sr.[5] Their daughter, Lynell Wilson, is a former U.S. Attorney.[5]

Nunn died on May 6, 2014 at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, two weeks after suffering a stroke.[10] Burial was at Homewood Cemetery, Pittsburgh.[11]


  1. ^ a b Gorman, Kevin (February 26, 2010). "Nunn a champion for change". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on March 5, 2010. Retrieved March 12, 2010. 
  2. ^ "2010 Inductees". Black College Football Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on February 20, 2010. Retrieved March 12, 2010.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  3. ^ Labriola, Bob (February 19, 2010). "Nunn to be enshrined on Saturday". Archived from the original on March 25, 2010. Retrieved March 12, 2010. 
  4. ^ "PPFHOF Inductees". PPFHOF. March 15, 2011. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Finder, Chuck (July 24, 2006). "Q&A: Bill Nunn Sr". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. pp. D–2. Retrieved March 12, 2010. 
  6. ^ Varley, Teresa (February 27, 2007). "Long-time scout Bill Nunn is a man who made a difference". Archived from the original on February 10, 2009. Retrieved March 12, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Bouchette, Ed (February 20, 2010). "Steelers scout Nunn receives honor". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on February 23, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2010. 
  8. ^ Yardley, William (May 9, 2014). "Bill Nunn, Scout Who Shaped Steelers' Super Bowl Teams, Dies at 89". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 12, 2014. Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
  9. ^ Vancheri, Barbara (July 27, 1992). "Bill Nunn". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 19. Retrieved March 12, 2010. 
  10. ^ Fittapaldo, Ray; Bouchette, Ed (May 7, 2014). "Bill Nunn Jr., longtime Steelers scout, dies at 89". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on May 7, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  11. ^ "William G. Nunn Jr". Retrieved 13 November 2015 – via Cemetery Records, The Homewood Cemetery. 
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Pittsburgh Steelers Assistant Personnel Director
Succeeded by