Geographic Connection to Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh, Allegheny County
Wide receiver Lynn Swann earned entry to the Hall of Fame as part of the Steelers championship teams of the 1970s.
Awards: Football Hall of Fame
Lynn Swann was born in Alcoa, Tennessee on March 7, 1952. He went to an all-boys' Catholic school in San Mateo, California and attended the University of Southern California, where he played football. He was picked by the Pittsburgh Steelers, in the first round of the draft. He then went to four Super Bowls with them. Swann was inducted into both the College and National Football League Halls of Fame. Swann retired from football and became a broadcaster for sports. Lynn Swann ran for Governor of Pennsylvania and lost in the 2006 election. He is married and has two children.
Lynn Swann was born on March 7, 1952, in Alcoa, Tennessee. His father, Willie, was an aircraft maintenance worker and his mother Mildred worked as a dental hygienist. He is the youngest of three boys. Swann studied dance from the age of two until his senior year of high school, studying tap, modern dance, and ballet. He thinks that if it was not for his mother, he would have never had been a good athlete. Swann left Tennessee after his parents had career issues. He started his education at the all boys Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, California. In addition to being a football star at Junipero, Swann was state champion in the long jump, and also an honor student. Once graduated, he went on to play football at the University of Southern California. There he played in two Rose Bowl games, helping the Trojans win the 1972 national championship and was elected team captain and most valuable player in 1973. In 1973, he was All-America wide receiver and won the Pop Warner Award as best senior player on the Pacific Coast. He completed his college years with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Relations from the School of Journalism and was still dancing. Swann was later inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 1993.
He was selected the twenty-first pick in the first round in the 1974 draft, by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was named the All-Rookie team in 1974. Swann helped the Steelers win four Super Bowls and was voted Most Valuable Player in the Super Bowl X in 1976. He was then selected National Football League Man of the Year in 1981. Swann wowed football fans and players alike with his ballet-like ability to catch a pass for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He made catching the football a production. Swann could leap, twist, hang in the air and somehow come down with the ball. Former teammate Joe Greene said Swann's legacy was nearly untouchable and no one else knew how to make an impact on the game.
Swann stayed with the Steelers until he retired in 1982. He was named an All-Pro Team Selection in 1975, 1977, and 1978 and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001. He was also selected to the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team by Hall of Fame voters. Swann began his broadcasting career in 1976, while still active with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He moved to a full-time broadcaster with ABC Sports upon his pro-football retirement. He served as reporter and analyst for the Olympic Winter Games and Olympics. He has covered college games, Monday Night Football, and wide world sports. When he is not working, he contributes to his community as a volunteer. He is a several board of directors and spokesman for National Big Brothers and Sisters of America. Swann served as Chairman of the Presidents Council on Physical Fitness and Sports for President Bush from June 2002 to July 2005. He provided funding for over 100 scholarships to the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School.
Lynn Swann decided to run for governor of Pennsylvania in 2006. He then began to file papers to the state election agency. He had a fundraising committee formed and was called Team 88. He spoke about hard work, determination, and the will to succeed. He was hoping to become Pennsylvania's first African American Governor, but lost to Democratic Governor Ed Rendell by double digits at the polls. In 2008, Swann considered running for the House of Representatives from Pennsylvania's 4th congressional district, but decided against it. Swann is now part-owner for Pittsburgh's AFL expansion franchise. He currently lives in Sewickley Heights, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh. Lynn Swann is married to Charena Swann, who is a psychologist. They have two sons.