The Chief hired Chuck Noll. Dan Rooney hired Bill Cowher. And now Art Rooney II, the Chief’s grandson, heads up the search for the third new Steelers coach in 38 years.

Any pressure?

“The only pressure I feel,” said Rooney II, “and I think we all feel, is just to find the best coach we can find for this organization at this point in time. It’s probably no different than any other time we’ve had to go through this.”

And so it begins.

Rooney started the search by identifying two internal candidates – assistant head coach Russ Grimm and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. Rooney said no other members of the current staff are under consideration at this time. He admitted that those two will have an edge on the competition.

“It’s certainly something to take into account,” he said. “Overall we’ve had an approach to the game of football that I think has been fairly consistent going back to Coach Noll. So I think that looking for people who we feel fit with the organization and the approach we’ve had to football, I think those kinds of things will be factored in.”

The Steelers have begun looking at outside candidates as well. They have until Sunday night to interview assistant coaches of playoff teams that have byes this week. The assistants on playoff teams that don’t have a bye this week will be made available next week, even if that team advances in the playoffs this weekend.

At least one member of the hiring committee, which consists of Rooney II, Dan Rooney and Kevin Colbert, will travel to those playoff cities to conduct interviews.

Some of the hot playoff assistant coaches are Chicago defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, San Diego offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan.

Other interesting candidates include San Francisco assistant head coach Mike Singletary, Washington assistant coach Gregg Williams and Tennessee defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

A college coach such as Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz would not be ruled out.

Whisenhunt interviewed for the Atlanta opening on Thursday and for the Arizona opening on Friday.

He’s also received permission to interview for the Miami opening. Grimm has an interview scheduled for early next week in Arizona.

“As I stand here today I’d say we’ve got to go through our process,” he said. “If something happens that we can’t move that quickly then we’d just have to live with that, but I think as time goes on that may become more relevant.”

Rooney said NFL playing experience would be a plus, but not necessary, nor must the future coach have a vast knowledge of the organization.

“I think someone who let’s say shares similar philosophies to the approach to the game of football, I think those kinds of things are important,” he said.

Rooney was asked if he’s seeking a particular personality profile.

“I think that you want a personality who, No. 1, is somebody who can deal with the players and get the players’ attention,” he said. “There’s sort of a proven track record in that regard as an important personality trait.”

One problem facing an outside candidate is that the Steelers, only a year removed from the Super Bowl, are built to run the ball and defend with the 3-4 alignment. Would the new coach be forced to keep assistant coaches who are integral to those core beliefs?

“We don’t think you just bring somebody in and say, ‘Here are your assistant coaches,’ ” Rooney said. “I think whoever comes in has to have the ability to put their staff together. Obviously, having said that, we think we have good people on this staff and would recommend that they consider people on the staff. The bottom line, I think, is that the person who comes in has to be able to put their staff together.”

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