After nearly three decades working in the Steelers' scouting department, Mark Gorscak is "graduating."
Gorscak, 66, who has worked as a scout for the Steelers since 1995, will officially retire June 2. But he's not fully retiring from football altogether.
The Donora, Pa. native and Ringgold High School graduate, will still do some odd jobs in the scouting community. But he doesn't want the year-round rigors that go along with being a full-time scout any longer.
"I figured out that I spent nine years of my life in 28 years in a Marriott hotel," Gorscak said. "That's not a badge of courage. That's more stupidity."
It's been a journey fueled by a love of the game.
A former high school center – he snapped the ball to Joe Montana in his days at Ringgold – Gorscak earned a degree in psychology from Dickinson College before earning a Master's in sports administration from St. Thomas University in Miami.
That led him on a long and winding road that saw him hold positions in coaching, administration and even becoming the first general manager of the Pittsburgh Gladiators in their inaugural season in the Arena Football League.
His journey eventually landed him at Weber State University in Utah, which is when former Steelers' scouting director Tom Modrak contacted him in 1995.
"I get a phone call from Tom Modrak. He goes, 'This is Tom Modrak from the Steelers,' Gorscak recalled. "I said, 'You need tape? What do you need?' He goes, 'No, I want to know if you want to interview to be our BLESTO rep for the Pittsburgh Steelers.' I went, 'Yeah, absolutely.' He said that a friend of ours, Don Deisch from the Minnesota Vikings, had recommended me. He said he needed someone who knows the West Coast and knows people and he said you're from Pittsburgh also.
"He said, 'How about next week, we'll interview.' I told him we had a problem. I run this camp in Alaska. Can I interview the following week?' Mo goes, 'You do what? Can't someone else run the camp?' I said, 'To be truthful, no.' Mo goes, 'You sure you want to postpone this?' I said, 'I have to.' He said, 'OK, I'll interview you the following week. But just so you know, I'll interview some other people, then.' I thought, 'What an idiot I am. This is the Pittsburgh Steelers.'"
As it turned out, Gorscak got the position with the Steelers, starting a long and successful run with the team.
"Very blessed. I'm dumbfounded," he said. "To go to the Super Bowl your first year, you think it's pretty easy. In 1995, I started, we went to Tempe, Ariz., and played the Cowboys. I'm thinking this is easy. I'll be back again. It took another 10 years before I got back in 2005. You learn how precious it is to get to a Super Bowl and to win it."
The Steelers advanced to the Super Bowl four times in Gorscak's tenure with the team, winning it twice.
And he's been honored to work with a number of men who are already enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and others who will be someday.
"I'm proud and fortunate to have lived through seeing Bill Cowher, Mike Tomlin, the many assistants both of them had," Gorscak said. "The players, you start looking at that defense back in the day, wow! We were loaded. It was just phenomenal."
But, all good things must come to an end.
In Gorscak's case, this seemed like a good time to step away from his full-time role with the Steelers, even though he's going to continue to attend games as a season ticket holder.
He'd also like to continue in the role that has made him something of a household name in some circles. For the past two decades, Gorscak has run the 40-yard dashes at the NFL Scouting Combine each year in Indianapolis.
It's gotten him a lot of publicity over the years.
"It is a grind, but it's satisfying, too. When you start talking about these young men and their abilities, the influence you might have in report writing or meeting them at the Combine, it's a humbling experience," Gorscak said. "I have young people come up to me before running the 40 and they say, 'I've been waiting for this my whole life.' I said, 'What, the Combine?' He said, 'No, you starting me in the 40. I've been watching you since I was a little kid.'"
With his retirement, Gorscak's continued involvement with the Combine would require being approved by the event's board of trustees.
If it doesn't happen. Gorscak will be content doing what he can in the football business and continuing to touch the lives of those around him, something that he didn't realize he had done so much of until he made his announcement earlier this week on social media that he was stepping away.
"I'm a lifelong learner. I seek creativity. It's time to create," he said. "You just don't realize the things you have created throughout the process. The number of texts, phone calls, has been phenomenal. You just don't realize the impression you make. This is a guy who is just a scout. It's very humbling."