I received this letter in an email the other day and wanted to share it with you all as soon as possible. This was written by a friend of mine who is a long-time Pitt supporter and a graduate so as an alumni he has a large spot in his heart for the University. I think he makes some excellent points and I think this is something we all should read…
I just read your latest POV article, and several thoughts occurred to me based on over 60 years of following Pitt athletics; graduating from Pitt in undergrad, and personally knowing a great many of the most illustrious of Pitt’s athletes. Yes, I go back to even EJ’s Dad and Freddie Cox being classmates.
During my days in Pittsburgh, Pitt was highly respected as a private university with far higher entrance requirements than other known major colleges such as Penn State and WVU, etc. Those playing sports at Pitt in those days were genuine scholar-athletes who had to play both sides in football.
Look at the wonderful guys from the 1963 football team and you would see a great many academic and career successes from lawyers, dentists, doctors, engineers, etc. You also would see that quite a few players were drafted by the NFL and AFL but chose to pursue their careers rather than professional sports. I went to law school with some of them and used to be with them in the Tuck Shop and more.
Unfortunately, time has not been kind to Pitt after the 1983 season. Yes, there was the misery from 1966 until Johnny Majors arrived through the help of great guys I knew such as John Konomikes. Pitt’s constant internal feuding between the academic wunderkind brought in by Chancellor Litchfield who bankrupted Pitt to build extensively both in buildings and highly regarded academics to mirror an Ivy League school and the weak leadership of the athletic department resulted in a civil war.