Longtime Steelers scout Bill Nunn, one of the most "instrumental men" in Bills GM Doug Whaley's life, passed away Tuesday night of complications from a stroke at 89.
"Professionally and personally I wouldn't be the person I am today without his input," said Whaley. "Besides my father and my grandfather he was one of the most instrumental men in my life. No doubt about it."
A 46-year NFL veteran with many credits to his name and career, Nunn was thought of as a trailblazer for African-Americans in the scouting world. He was considered one of the premier scouts of the traditionally African-American colleges, and was a 2010 inductee of the inaugural class of the Black College Football Hall of Fame.
"Especially being an African-American, there's no doubt about it that I wouldn't be here without Bill," said Whaley. "I would not be here without the in-roads that he laid because he was one of the first African-American scouts on the road."
Nunn started in Pittsburgh in 1967 and became a major contributor on many successful drafts including the Steelers 1974 draft which included four Hall of Famers, a feat no team has ever matched. When Whaley started with the Steelers as an intern in 1995, he quickly formed a bond with Nunn.
"It was right around when he had just finished retiring, but he still was around as a part-time scout," said Whaley. "As an intern everybody knows you spend plenty of hours sitting around doing a lot of grunt work, but he would come in and we would just talk philosophy of football, scouting and of life.
"Professionally, this guy is an icon in the business but personally he's an icon in my heart."