Former Ambassador Dan Rooney
Ambassador Daniel M. Rooney
Daniel M. Rooney was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland on July 1, 2009 and presented his credentials to President Mary McAleese on July 3, 2009.
Ambassador Rooney is well-known in Ireland as one of the founders of the American Ireland Funds which are dedicated to building bridges of peace, culture, and charity in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Ambassador Rooney has also funded the annual Rooney Prize for Irish Literature to highlight the work of Irish writers under the age of 40. He has also been actively involved in charities in the U.S. Among his community activities, Ambassador Rooney was a board member for The United Way of America, The American Diabetes Association, The Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In February 2000, Ambassador Rooney was recognized by the prestigious Maxwell Football Club in Philadelphia by presenting with the Francis "Reds" Bagnell Award for "contributions to the game of football."
Ambassador Rooney’s family is originally from Newry in County Down and he has been a regular visitor to the island for most of his life. Ambassador Rooney is joined in Ireland by his wife Patricia. They have nine children: Art, Patricia, Kathleen (deceased), Rita, Dan, Mary Duffy, John, Jim and Joan and 18 grandchildren.
Previously, as chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers American football team, Ambassador Rooney continued the standards and tradition instilled into the Steelers' organization since his father, Arthur J. Rooney, founded the team back in 1933.
By the time Art Rooney was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1964, he had begun to turn over much of the operation of the Steelers to his oldest son, Dan. A decade later, after having worked in every area of the organization since 1955, Dan Rooney was named president of the Steelers in 1975. Now in his 54th year in the organization, he is one of the most active NFL owners and one of Pittsburgh’s most involved executives in civic affairs. As his father before him, he assumed the title of chairman in 2003, handing over the reign of presidency to his eldest son, Arthur J. Rooney II.
Rooney joined his father in August of 2000 as only the second father-son tandem to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Rooney has also been a central figure in NFL operations over the past 26 years. He is a member of several NFL committees, including the board of directors for the NFL Trust Fund, and the NFL Ventures Committee which includes NFL Properties and NFL Films. Additionally, Rooney was appointed chairman of the Expansion Committee in 1973, which considered new franchise locations and directed the additions of Seattle and Tampa Bay as expansion teams in 1976.
In 1976, Rooney was also named chairman of the Negotiating Committee, and in 1982 he contributed to the negotiations for the collective bargaining agreement for the NFL and the Players’ Association. He again played a key role in the labor agreement reached between NFL owners and players in 1993.
Rooney was a member of the NFL Economic Committee which is studying the League’s revenue sharing policy and overall disbursement of League revenue, and the Hall of Fame Committee. He most recently was appointed chairman of the six-person Diversity Committee, charged with establishing guidelines for hiring head coaches in the NFL.
Drawing upon his vast experience in the football business, Rooney has developed a philosophy and management style that emphasizes open, practical and efficient management. Rooney has been commended for molding a model professional sports franchise with a low-key approach and delegation of responsibilities to his well-informed staff. Rooney's accessibility and honesty has allowed him to maintain an excellent relationship with the media, both in Pittsburgh and nationally.
Daniel M. Rooney was born on Pittsburgh’s North Side on July 20, 1932, the oldest of the late Art Rooney's five sons. He is a 1950 graduate of North Catholic High School, where he quarterbacked the varsity football team. He went on to graduate from Duquesne University in 1955 with a bachelor of arts degree in accounting.
Ambassador Rooney resigned his post and returned to Pittsburgh on December 14, 2012.