The Terrible Towel®

The Terrible Towel® and Allegheny Valley School

During any game involving the Pittsburgh Steelers, there is a sea of black and gold towels waving throughout the stands. What creates this colorful vision? The Terrible Towel. In 1975, The Terrible Towel® was created by the Steelers late broadcaster Myron Cope to inspire fan involvement in a playoff game against the then Baltimore Colts. Decades later, The Terrible Towel® remains a Steelers fan essential. And for more than 20 years, the sale of any The Terrible Towel® product benefits the individuals supported by Merakey Allegheny Valley School (Merakey AVS).

the terrible towel In 1996, Myron Cope gave the ownership of The Terrible Towel® trademark to Merakey AVS. Since then, the royalties from the sale of all officially licensed "Terrible Stuff" (including towels, ties, ornaments, lapel pins, flags, bibs, cookies, temporary tattoos and more) have come to us. Long time friend to Merakey AVS Myron Cope passed away in February 2008. Myron’s involvement with Merakey AVS stretched more than a quarter century beginning when his son became a resident of Merakey AVS. "The Terrible Towel’s long history and the spirit it brings to the Steelers Nation is phenomenal," states Merakey Allegheny Valley School’s Executive Director, Development & Communications Dorothy Hunter Gordon. "What many may not know is that the sale of every officially licensed Terrible Towel item helps the vulnerable throughout Pennsylvania. Merakey Allegheny Valley School is eternally grateful for the legacy Myron Cope has entrusted to us."

When the Steelers play, fans around the world enthusiastically wave The Terrible Towel®. And they buy more "Terrible Stuff." Since 1996, Merakey AVS has realized more than $5 million from officially licensed The Terrible Towel® products. The funds that Merakey AVS receives from The Terrible Towel® are used to cover costs such as equipment, program development and renovations to our facilities. The Terrible Towel® directly helps to improve the quality of life for the people with IDD who are served by Merakey AVS.

You can cheer on the Steelers and also support Merakey AVS by purchasing Myron Cope's Official The Terrible Towel® products. To order call 1-800-832-6883 or order online at All officially licensed products contain a tag that identifies that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the item will benefit Merakey Allegheny Valley School. If you see a The Terrible Towel® product for sale and it does not include this tag, it may be unlicensed. If you spot a product without the tag, please contact Dorothy Hunter Gordon at or 412-299-7777 with the details.