|Birth name:||Tunç Ali İlkin|
|Date of birth:||September 23, 1957|
|Place of birth:||Istanbul, Turkey|
|Height:||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight:||263 lb (119 kg)|
|NFL Draft:||1980 / Round: 6 / Pick: 165|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of 2004|
Tunch Ilkin (born Tunç Ali İlkin, September 23, 1957 in Istanbul) is a Turkish American sports broadcaster and a former American football player. He currently serves as a television and radio analyst for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is distinguished as being the first Turk to play in the National Football League.
Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Ilkin's parents Mehmet and Ayten Ilkin emigrated to the United States when he was two years old and settled in the Chicago area. He attended Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Illinois where he won All Conference and All County honors as a football player. In 1975, he was granted an athletic scholarship to Indiana State University. He was chosen by the Steelers in the sixth round of the 1980 NFL Draft.
He played offensive tackle for the Steelers from 1980 to 1992, earning two Pro Bowl appearance honors (1988 and 1989). He played for the Green Bay Packers in 1993 before retiring from football. He served as Vice-President of the NFL Player's Association from 1989 to 1994.
After retiring from football, Ilkin began appearing as a commentator and sports reporter on sports broadcasts in the Pittsburgh market. His popular segment, titled Lunch with Tunch, featured interviews with Steeler players and coaches.
In 1998, he joined the official Steelers broadcasting team of Myron Cope and Bill Hillgrove as an analyst. After Cope's retirement following the 2004 season, the team decided not to replace Cope and Ilkin took on the color-commentary duties once carried by Cope. He worked alongside sideline reporter and former team mate Craig Wolfley, who like Ilkin joined the Steelers via the 1980 draft. Ilkin and Wolfley hosted a morning radio show called In The Locker Room with Tunch and Wolf on WBGG (AM). The show was cancelled in the summer of 2006. The show now appears daily during the football season on 970 ESPN in Pittsburgh.
Ilkin works as an analyst on the Pittsburgh affiliate of Fox Sports Net and has written articles for NFLHS.com, a website for football fans. He is the Senior Vice President of the Athletic Training Network, a company that provides athletic training and program material to coaches and players.
Tunch Ilkin was married on April 24, 1982 to Sharon Senefeld, and they had three children: Tanner, Natalie, and Clay. The Ilkins resided in Upper St. Clair, PA. On February 6, 2012, Sharon Ilkin died after a lengthy battle with cancer. In 2013, Ilkin remarried, to Karen Rafferty. A convert from Islam to Christianity, Tunch Ilkin is the Director Of Men's Ministries for South Hills Bible Chapel.
In 2007, Tunch became a Limited Partner and Spokesperson for LIFExpo, a Health, Sports and Fitness expo started in Pittsburgh by Managing Partners: Ed Foutz, Tim Gerwing, Michael M. Kadrie and Rob Young.
In a November 2013 visit to Turkey he took part at the activities of the Istanbul Cavaliers, and was interviewed by the sports newspaper Fanatik. Ilkin said in that interview that he would like to coach an American football team in Turkey.
- http://www.hickoksports.com/history/nfldraft1980.shtml#round6 accessed 17 Feb 2007
- "“I grew up Muslim, but by college considered myself an atheist... “As a Muslim Turk I grew up with a scales mentality in which God would weigh your good versus your bad in determining if you spent eternity in his kingdom,” Tunch says. “But these teammates told me about God who loved me enough to hang on a cross and do for me what I could never do for myself—pay the price for my sins.”
- LIFExpo **HEALTH.SPORTS.FITNESS 4 GENERATIONS**