‘A Different Way to Win’ details Dan Rooney’s life’s work, with the Steelers and beyond
Jim Rooney interviewed over 50 people to tell the story of his famous and beloved father – the late Dan Rooney, best known as owner and president of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“A Different Way to Win: Dan Rooney’s Story from the Super Bowl to the Rooney Rule” will be available next month.
At an event Tuesday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, Jim Rooney said the book highlights four areas: the building of a prestigious franchise in the NFL; the dynasty of the Steelers of the 1970s; Dan Rooney’s decades of work to support reconciliation in Northern Ireland, which led to him becoming U.S. ambassador to Ireland in 2009; and the Rooney Rule, an NFL policy that requires teams to interview a diverse slate of candidates for head coaching jobs.
Jim Rooney said the book is part memoir, but it also explores his father’s impact on business and humanity.
“Where he was really effective was playing that long game. He stuck with things,” said Rooney, a business entrepreneur who has worked at University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business. “What I hope comes across in the book is this idea that you can be strong, be principled and set really high standards — and also have the commitment to humanity and be decent and kind.”
The original text was 700 pages long. Jim Rooney’s brother, Steelers president Art Rooney II, said that was a bit much.
“Jim has spent the better part of the last two years working on this project, been all around the country and interviewed people and has some great stories from my dad’s time in Ireland as well,” Art Rooney II said. “I think it’s an interesting story. He did a great job.”
Jim Rooney said one of the most moving interviews was with Patricia Hume, the wife of Northern Irish politician John Hume, a co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize for helping to bring about the peace agreement in Northern Ireland.
“She was talking about my father visiting Derry (in Northern Ireland), a place that’s been troubled for years and the impact my father had on that area,” Jim Rooney said. “She started to cry. It was a meaningful moment.”
This project began when Jim Rooney and his dad talked about doing a piece for the Harvard Business Review about the pathway to the Rooney Rule, which has been adopted by other industries. Dan Rooney died in April 2017, before they could complete the meetings. Jim Rooney continued the interviews.
“I was touched by what the people I interviewed shared with me,” Jim Rooney said. “There was a deep, emotional connection.”
With the help of a professional editor, he said he was able to trim it to 215 pages. Steelers Hall of Famer Joe Greene wrote the foreword.
“Dan Rooney’s leadership at the National Football League was unmatched. This book will tell you why,” former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said in a statement.
Loretta Brennan Glucksman, former chair of the American Ireland Fund, said that “Dan Rooney’s work within his homeland of Ireland was as significant as any American’s could be. He established the bedrock for the U.S. contribution to peace.”
What would Dan Rooney say about this book?
“He would say he wrote his own book,” Jim Rooney said. “He would be glad to have touched so many lives.”
The book is available for preorder on Amazon and shop.steelers.com.
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .