2018 COAA Fall Owners Leadership Conference | Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines | La Jolla, CA | November 14-16, 2018
Mel Blount, Pittsburgh Steelers (retired)
Mel Blount: A Legacy of Leadership (Approved for 1 AIA LU)
Mel Blount was born in Vidalia, GA and grew up on a farm. At Lyons High School, he was a star in baseball, football, basketball, and track. Upon graduation, he was offered a scholarship to Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. While there, he was a Pro-Scouts All-American pick as both safety and cornerback.
Mel was a third-round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers where he spent his entire professional football career (1970-1983)
He was named the NFL's most valuable defensive player in 1975 by the Associated Press after leading the league with 11 interceptions and 13 fumble recoveries, two of which he returned for touchdowns. He earned All-Pro acclaim in 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1981. He also was a four-time All-AFC selection and played in five Pro Bowls.
In 2007, he was ranked number 36 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.
Shortly before retiring from the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1983, Mel thought frequently about what his post-football legacy. He felt that the system was failing too many young people and decided to make a difference. During his last season with the Steelers he and his brother opened the first Mel Blount Youth Home in Vidalia, Georgia via the Mel Blount Youth Leadership Initiative. The mission of the Youth Leadership Initiative is to provide youth with programs where they will have a healthy environment to learn, work, play and develop principles of respect, responsibility, and leadership.
Since opening the first home, Blount has worked continuously as an advocate for troubled boys. In 1997 he was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame.
Mel serves on the board of directors of numerous organizations concerned with America’s youth. Some of his many awards and accomplishments include:
• NAACP – Human Rights Award (1990)
• Named 524th Daily Point of Light by President George Bush (1991)
• Named one of the Eight National Heroes by US News and World Report (1991)
• Selected as one of the Ten Most Caring People in America by The Caring Institute (1992)
• Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award (1996)
• Inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame (1997)
• NFL Alumni Spirit Award (2000)
• NFL Alumni Order of Leather Helmet and Community Service Award (2002)
• Life’s Work Career Achievement Award (2006)
• Art Rooney Awards Dinner – Bob Prince Humanitarian Award (2007)
• Inducted into the Black College Hall of Fame (2011)
• The Jerome Bettis Humanitarian Award (2012)
• Heinz History Center Outstanding History Makers Award (2014)