For the fans of Old School Historically Great NFL Teams, or if you’ve been a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan, you might want to greet Robert Morris University head coach John Banaszak Saturday at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome with another title: Sir John Banaszak. He was a defensive lineman for the famed Steel Curtain, after all, who has three Super Bowl rings. One of the decisions he makes in the morning, at times, is which ring to wear.
Banaszak, a long time assistant at Robert Morris, took over for another famed for NFL name in Joe Walton, after Walton retired as the RMU head coach following the 2013 season. Walton was the head coach of the New York Jets from 1983-89 among other jobs in the league. This week, Banaszak said there’s a lot of Joe Walton and a lot of Chuck Knoll in his ways of coaching, the latter of course the former head coach of the Steelers. Also an influence: George Perles, his position coach with the Steelers.
“He’s had a great deal to do with my success,” Banaszak said of Perles. “Great coach. Very technique-oriented. He demanded an awful lot from us.”
The ballboy in Banaszak’s day with the Steelers was none other than Pat Perles, George’s son who spent several years as a Bison assistant. All it took was one text message to Patrick to get his take on Sir John: “One of my father’s all-time favorites to coach because of his toughness, intelligence and work ethic. He could play all four positions on the D-line and was a de facto coach as he was so smart. Played with an unbelievable effort and motor. Was overshadowed by Joe Greene, LC Greenwood and Dwight White but very close to those All-Pros production-wise because of the ‘intangibles’ he possessed. Again, toughness, intelligence and work ethic. He is a lot like the kids I coached up there at NDSU in that regards.”