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Cowher hires 2 coaches, keeps 1

Tuesday, February 15, 2000

By Ed Bouchette, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Yesterday, at long last, was a good day for Steelers Coach Bill Cowher.

Not only did he announce the hiring of two coaches, but he kept another from leaving.

Bob Bratkowski, hired last year as their wide receivers coach, turned down a chance to interview in New Orleans for the Saints' offensive coordinator's job.

Cowher also announced he hired Irv Eatman as assistant offensive line coach and Willy Robinson as secondary coach. Eatman played offensive tackle for 11 seasons in the NFL until 1996 after three in the USFL following a college career a UCLA.

He was assistant line coach for the Green Bay Packers last season. He will assist line coach Kent Stephenson.

Cowher said his responsibilities would be hard to describe, but he wants Eatman to help his young linemen develop.

"It's something that's going to enhance, hopefully, the development of some of the younger players who we're asking to step in and play right away," Cowher said. "Just more on the technique part of it, until he feels comfortable with what we're doing."

Bratkowski was offensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks for four years until Mike Holmgren was hired as coach and brought in his own staff. He likely got a raise in pay to stay.

Dan Rooney gave New Orleans Coach Jim Haslett permission over the weekend to talk to Bratkowski, and he tentatively was to fly there yesterday.

"I would like to be a coordinator again someday," Bratkowski said. "I believe I'll get another opportunity. Maybe this wasn't the right time."

Bratkowski's son, Shane, will enter his senior year of high school, and he did not want to disrupt his schooling.

Robinson replaces Tim Lewis, who was promoted from secondary coach to defensive coordinator last week.

Robinson also coached with the Seahawks and was recommended to Cowher by Bratkowski. He was defensive coordinator at Oregon State last year under Dennis Erickson, and served with him at Seattle and at the University of Miami.

He called his new secondary "young and aggressive" and "great technicians."

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