Hines Ward and Jimmie Sacco to be honored with Dapper Dan award

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One made Heinz Field home for more than a decade. The other made sure that house ran smoothly.

Steelers great Hines Ward and Jimmie Sacco, executive director of stadium management at Heinz Field, will be honored at the 77th Annual Dapper Dan Dinner & Sports Auction, presented by BNY Mellon on Feb. 6 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Ward will be honored with the Dapper Dan Lifetime Achievement Award, and Sacco will be awarded the Dr. Freddie Fu Sports Leadership Award. Dr. Fu, who helped found the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine, received the sports leadership award earlier this year.

Ward, 36, played 14 seasons for the Steelers before retiring prior to the 2012 season. He finished his career with 1,000 catches, 12,083 receiving yards and 85 receiving touchdowns -- all team records. He won two Super Bowls, earning MVP honors in Super Bowl XL, and was named to the Pro Bowl four times.

And, for good measure, he won the TV reality competition "Dancing with the Stars" in 2011.

"Being selected for the Dapper Dan Lifetime Achievement Award is a big honor for me," Ward said. "I know there have been a lot of great winners in the past and to have my name mentioned among them is truly special to me. It's very humbling for me, and I am grateful to the folks at Dapper Dan for giving me this prestigious award."

Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher will present Hines with the award at the ceremony. Cowher was Ward's coach for nine seasons.

Since retirement, Ward has worked as an analyst for NBC Sports doing pre-game reports for Sunday Night Football.

Sacco, 57, started working in the city's sports industry as an usher at Civic Arena. After graduating from Robert Morris University, Sacco worked in the sports, entertainment and concert industries before eventually being hired by the DeBartolo Corp. to help manage Civic Arena.

Later, he was hired to manage Three Rivers Stadium before moving to Heinz Field with the Steelers.

"I'm fortunate," he said. "I've been able to stay in my hometown. I've got two Stanley Cup rings and two Super Bowl rings. It's only a dream come true for someone who loves this town, loves sports, loves entertainment."

Many in his industry are forced to move around from city to city with the ultimate goal of returning to their hometown. "I've never had to leave," he said.

Sacco said he looks to Eddie DeBartolo, Denise DeBartolo York, Paul Martha, Dan Rooney, Art Rooney and countless others in the city as his leadership mentors.

Tickets for the 77th Annual Dapper Dan Dinner & Sports Auction can be purchased by visiting www.post-gazette.com/dapperdan or calling 412-263-3850. Prices are $150 for general seats and $250 for premium seats. Tables of 10 can be reserved for $1,500, and premium tables of 10 can be reserved for $2,500. A cocktail reception and silent auction begins at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner and awards ceremony at 7 p.m.

Proceeds benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania youth sports and education programs.

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