Since retiring, former Pittsburgh Steelers’ GM Kevin Colbert has largely been out of the spotlight. True to form, his humble roots have let Omar Khan work uninterrupted without critique or challenge. But Colbert was out and about over the weekend, showing up to an IUP basketball game as the Crimson Hawks make their push in the D-II playoffs.
The IUP account tweeted a photo of Colbert greeting players yesterday.
On the surface, the connection doesn’t seem obvious. But a quote tweet from IUP head coach Joe Lombardi seems to explain the story.
Colbert is friends with Lombardi, a Western PA native who has served as IUP’s coach since 2006 and has coached in Pennsylvania for nearly his entire career. And he was there with Matt Furjanic, a former Robert Morris head coach. In the late 70s, Colbert served as a Grad Assistant for Robert Morris’ basketball team before becoming the school’s baseball coach before breaking into the NFL as a BLESTO Scout in 1984. Colbert is a Robert Morris grad who returned to the area after being hired by the Steelers in 2000.
Colbert proved to be IUP’s good-luck charm, edging out an upset bid by the #8 seed Winston-Salem State, 52-50 in a game that came down to the final possession. IUP will play Virginia Union in the second round of the D2 tournament.
While Colbert has hardly been visible to the public since retiring last summer, he’s still been around the NFL. According to the PPG’s Ray Fittipaldo, Colbert was in Indianapolis for this year’s NFL Combine as part of the league’s Combine Committee. And when Khan spoke to reporters during his few days at the Combine, he said Colbert checks in every once in awhile and the two still text.
This is the first full offseason without Colbert running the helm, surely a weird feeling for him, Khan, and the entire Steelers’ organization. Khan’s goal will be to continue Colbert’s winning legacy, building through the draft, making shrewd free agency signings, and making more Steelers’ history.