21 Facts About Art Rooney


Art Rooney was the first president of the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1933 to 1974, and the first chairman of the team from 1933 to 1988.


Two years after Dan Art Rooney was born, the family moved back to Canada and eventually ended up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1884.


Dan Art Rooney remained in the Pittsburgh area, and eventually opened a saloon in the Monongahela Valley coal town of Coulter, Pennsylvania.


Art Rooney attended St Peter's Catholic School in Pittsburgh, Duquesne University Prep School, then several semesters at Indiana Normal School before completing a final year at Temple University on an athletic scholarship.


Art Rooney had named his new team the "Pirates" which was the name of the city's long-established Major League Baseball club of which Rooney was a fan since a childhood spent in the shadow of the team's stadium.


In 1936, Art Rooney won a parlay at Saratoga Race Course, which netted him about $160,000.


Art Rooney placed the bet based on a tip from New York Giants owner Tim Mara, a bookmaker.


Art Rooney used the winnings to hire a coach, Joe Bach, give contracts to his players and almost win a championship.


Art Rooney got his good friend and his sister's father in law, Barney McGinley, to buy Bell's shares.


Art Rooney sent shock waves through the NFL by signing Byron "Whizzer" White to a record-breaking $15,000 contract in 1938.


Art Rooney longed to bring an NFL title to Pittsburgh but was never able to beat the powerhouse teams, like the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers.


Nevertheless, Art Rooney was popular with owners as a mediator, which would carry over to his son Dan Art Rooney.


Art Rooney was the only owner to vote against moving the rights of the New York Yanks to Dallas, Texas after the 1951 season due to concerns of racism in the South at the time.


Art Rooney acquired the Yonkers Raceway in 1972, the Palm Beach Kennel Club, Green Mountain Kennel Club in Vermont, Shamrock Stables in Maryland and owned the Liberty Bell Park Racetrack outside Philadelphia.


Art Rooney died from complications of a stroke on August 25,1988.


An August 1987 Pittsburgh Press story stated that Art Rooney never missed a Hall of Fame induction ceremony in all 25 years, and that he was asked to present his third inductee, John Henry Johnson, that month.


Art Rooney is buried at the North Side Catholic Cemetery in Pittsburgh.


In 1999 Art Rooney ranked 81st on the Sporting News' "100 Most Powerful Sports Figures of the 20th Century" list.


Art Rooney is the subject of, and the only character in, the one-man play The Chief, written by Gene Collier and Rob Zellers.


Arthur J Rooney was married to Kathleen Rooney nee McNulty for 51 years, until her 1982 death.


Art Rooney is the grandmother of the couple's 32 grandchildren, including current Steelers president Art Rooney II and US Representative Thomas J Rooney.