Here is another “Bio” piece, this one by long time reader and frequent commenter “Pittman4ever” (Jim Gianoutsos).  I strongly urge all of you to take a moment to jot down your own earlier Pitt memories and I’ll post them then compile them into a set piece later. Add photos if you like – or I’ll add some visuals here and there – and send it to me as a Word attachment via email. But please chip in…

We all have our own story as to how in the world we became fanatic Pitt fans!!!  The following is my story and I look forward to hearing yours!

…..It all started in 1923 when an immigrant couple originally from a speck of an island in the Greek Isles gave birth to their third child, Nicholas James (my Dad). The Gianoutsos house (pronounced “Ja – new’- chess”) was on a large hill on upper 5th Avenue, known in that day as the “SoHo” section of Fifth Ave.  herronave_teenieharris

My father grew up within a walking distance of Oakland and Pitt Stadium back when the Panthers were the greatest college football team in the world, winning National Championships in 1929, 1931, 1934, 1936, and 1937 (not to mention 1915 & 1916). He used to tell me that when Marshall Goldberg was part of the famed “Pitt’s Dream Backfield” the Pitt Center would point to where the run play was going just to let the opposing team’s defense know – and they still couldn’t stop it!

He also shared the story when one Saturday the Panthers were playing a big game and to his chagrin, the game sold out early. No problem! He rounded up about a 100 guys who were also without tickets and they rushed the main gate, getting in with little resistance!

As students were lining up for the national anthem at his Fifth Avenue High School graduation ceremony rehearsal, someone behind my dad started messing around and slammed into him. When the Principal looked up he assumed it was my dad who was disrespecting the flag and he berated him in front of his classmates as one of “those foreigners” who disrespect our nation.

My dad got so upset (as he was highly patriotic) he ran up and punched out the Principal!  The Vice Principal had actually seen what had happened, talked to the Principal and took my dad aside and said all he had to do was apologize to the Principal and he could still get his diploma and graduate.  My dad told him if anyone needs to apologize it’s the Principal, not him! He also threw in that he’d make more money in their family painting business than he ever would with that diploma (which he did)! He then walked out of the rehearsal and went downtown to the nearest Army enlistment office and joined on the spot.

Four years later my dad returned from WWII having fought under General Douglas MacArthur in his return to the Philippines, where he made five first wave beach landings as part of the Army’s 40th Division. There were only a few men who returned with my dad from his outfit.

Afterwards he and his brother took over Gianoutsos Brothers Painting, which my grandfather (Jim) and his brothers started in 1913. It grew into the largest painting company in Pittsburgh painting such iconic structures as the Liberty, Smithfield, West End, 9th and 16th St. bridges, Allegheny General Hospital, the Civic Arena, Kaufman’s, and Forbes Field prior to the 1960 World Series, to name just a few.

Jim and his Dad right after Jim’s graduation from Robert Morris.

One of the first things dad did after returning home from the war was to marry my mom (from Southside, pronounced “Sasside”) and buy Pitt football season tickets, which he still held while I was growing up. Going to Oakland, buying a hotdog, walking up Cardiac Hill, and then rooting for the PITT PANTHERS was how I was raised.

And in doing so I learned early on really important things like; Pitt has the greatest football tradition in the nation, always hate Notre Dame, Penn State was our little sister for decades, and there is nothing greater in all of sports than Pitt’s blue and gold!

In the mid 70’s I bought my own season tickets in Section 4 (just a row or 2 below our famous POVer Lastrowsection4!  My young bride and I would go to the Black Angus every pregame for their famous Greek soup (Chicken Avgolemono), climb Cardiac Hill, enter the lower gate into the underbelly of the historic stadium and walk the ramps upward hundreds of feet in elevation just to get to field level! Then up the steps of Section 4 to the top of the world where from 1976 to 1982 we watched the greatest team on planet Earth.


Editor’s Note: Jim really  “get’s it” with this piece.  He weaves together his life’s tale as well as his ancestors’ stories to give us a lovely look at what his early life in Pittsburgh was like and the influences which made him who he is today.  Notice that this isn’t all about Pitt football either,  we already know what sort of Pitt fan he is (crazy), but now we know more about Jim our friend personally. Great job Pittman4ever!!

74 thoughts on “How in God’s Creation Did You Become a Pitt Fan???

  1. Haven’t read the piece yet but looking forward to it. After just a quick glance are we talking about Jim Carey or Pittman? back to grilling…………


  2. Guys – let me tell you…if Jim can do it so can you!

    jk – excellent piece.

    BTW – I looked everywhere for photos of the interior of Pitt stadium …you know – with all those tons of dirt piled up as an interior buttress against the side of the stadium. No joy.


  3. Kudo’s to you Pittman. Much of that story we have spoke about but you put your memories to words very eloquently and painted a picture that we all can relate to being from WPA. You hit a home-run friend. iek


  4. Reedster, carrying over from last article. Wake me up when you are overly optimistic anytime night or day. I’ll call your doctor…

    Anyone remember Jim’s story about his runaway banner caper? He’s been on the lamb in Texas ever since baking really small muffins… ike


  5. Very enjoyable read. Great memories of the Black Angus.
    I had a prof who would take me to lunch which included a couple martinis.
    Made afternoon classes interesting.

    My maternal grandfather was from Athens. Made it to Rhodes, Mykonos, and Santorini
    last fall, also Athens. Those Greek Islands used to have poor fisherman and a few olive trees.

    Now there are hotel rooms that rent for 2,000 to 10,000 a night. Oia is that beautiful.


  6. Why are ACC logos along the left field line at yankee stadium. Is the ACC making a play on grabbing St. John’s? 🙂

    Pitt was in script but wrong colors.


  7. Jim – now that is a fine American story. I’ve got nothing that even comes close. My sister, younger by two years and passed 1-1/2 years ago to cancer, was a penn state grad.

    To this day, my dad still does not understand the heated rivalry of Pitt vs psux. The one thing my dad and I have in common regarding psux is that my sister’s two teenage boys (HS FB stars) never attended a Jerry Sandusky FB camp as youngsters. For that, we are very thankful.

    My sister wanted them both to go to the monster’s camp at PS Behrend many years ago, and my brother-in-law put a stop to that. Wise man, thank God!


  8. The pedo enablers were getting trashed on ESPN College Sports XM Radio late in the afternoon yesterday while I was driving. The host, Mark Packer opened the 4pm hour with a 15 minute rant about how he can’t stand psux and their decision to not renew the Pitt series. Packer gave Pitt cudos for wanting to renew and continued to trash anything psux.

    One main point Packer kept hammering home was that Pitt was the reason psux was kept from the CFB playoff in 2016. He reminded everyone that the current 4 game series is tied at 1-1 and that the game should be played every year, no excuses. He called Franklin a coward if he won’t influence the school administration to get Pitt on the schedule. He listed the cupcake games they’ve played over the past two years, the upcoming cake walks and even threw in something Lyke “Montana Institute for the Blind”.

    Pedo enabler fans try to justify the decision to not play the game by saying “they don’t have time for Pitt” and “it doesn’t gain them anything”. For that Packer reminded the pedo enablers again of the 2016 loss and what that did for psux – he continued to label Franklin a coward for avoiding Pitt.

    Another excuse by psux is that they need 7 home games to fund their athletic budget. With Pitt wanting a home & home series, that hurts that effort every other year. NO IT DOESN’T. There are always 2 cupcakes that will take the psux paycheck to play in creepy valley. It can be done.

    Bulletin board material?

    September 8th can’t get here soon enough for me.

    The Pitt “Akron” Panthers vs Penn State “pedo enabler” Nittany Liars


    1. I actually went to PSU boards to see what they thought and the reasons they gave was due to the 3 OOC games the B10 has that would leave them with 2 cupcakes and PITT every year and the fanbase, especially the younger ones appear to want more variety than just the same exact same schedule every year. While it sucks and I think we should play them, I can see where they are coming from. Would I want PITT to play the exact same 10 teams plus 2 cupcakes every year or would that get old fast. Conference realignment sucks but it’s the new world we live in.


    2. Not enough money? Penn State FB made $81M last year …. 3rd on the B10 behind Mich ($106M) and OSU ($89M).

      The real truth is that they sell out whether it’s Pitt or Erie Express College for the Blind and EECB will plat at PSU and not demand a home game.

      wwb (I ma not the Anon posted above)


  9. Jim.. loved your story… a hard working Greek family who painted the city they made home. I bet there was love in every stroke of the paint brush! You are a true Pitt man.


  10. Hey Jim question. I knew a guy from Greensburg that played basketball at Robert Morris same time as you went there. Jeff Butler, he was a big kid and pretty good at hoops. Do you recall?


    1. Ike,
      Do not remember that name. I commuted to the downtown campus. The streetcar line was one block from my house in Dormont. Fast/easy/cheap commute. The B.B. players were all at the Moon campus. RMC had great B.B. teams back then with Gus Krop(?) as HC. I wanted a Business Degree and there was no way I was going to get into Pitt’s Business School as at the time academics was not a high priority! :>)


  11. I still think the State Legislature should require Pitt, PSU and Temple to play each other every year for the good of the taxpayer, the two cities and Pennsylvania football. The three are funded to a great degree by the Commonwealth and therefore the people of PA. It is good for PA commerce and in the long run might get more kids to play football in PA. That way you could get one home and one away each year.


    1. To me it would be much more valuable for recruiting to play these two as opposed to WVU which adds nothing for us and exposure in WPA for them. It does give a good crowd and a good game, but a probable loss for us. So does PSU, but the other side of the state is generating some good players, more than the WPIAL these days.


  12. I’d rather play WVU anyways. The more uncivil a rivalry the better. Nothing drives me more mad at a game than the certain segment of Pitt fans who watch football with a pro-mentality and complain about people standing and hooting and hollering and trash talking … or you know the college atmosphere that Pitt is missing. The more my wife has to worry about what my kids will here or see, the better. Haha.


  13. Pitt should come out with a statement that they are no longer interested in playing PSU. Time to move on and stop looking desperate. No need to play them any more.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. gc – Pitt really is not recruiting central or eastern PA anyways. Not sure how it helps recruiting except that we have a big name on the schedule. If Pitt really wants to play PSU, go the neutral site route and play in Philly. Pitt does recruit NJ, DE and MD so it’s beneficial to both Pitt and PSU. PSU is not really recruiting western PA very aggressively either.


    1. FWIW, I have traveled across PA twice on football Saturdays …. (1) from Philly to Pgh via the Turnpike about 10 years ago, and (2) from Cleveland to Hershey via Rte 80 and 322 about 3 years ago.

      On both occasions, just about every other AM radio station I scanned carried the PSU game .. and Pitt had no coverage outside of the greater Pgh area. (they might have but I didn’t pick it up in my car via scanning)

      I assume this is also somewhat indicative of TV coverage that Pitt may not be televised in the Central and Eastern PA via regional ESPN while PSU will be aired throughout the Commonwealth

      PSU FB radio affiliates .

      compare the list on the link above to the following:


      Altoona: WFBG-AM 1290
      Altoona: WVAM-AM 1430
      Ambridge: WMBA-AM 1460
      Beaver Falls: WBVP-AM 1230
      Bedford: WBFD-AM 1310
      Connellsville: WLSW-FM 103.9
      DuBois: WCED-AM 1420
      DuBois: WCED-FM 107.9
      Harrisburg: WTKT-AM 1460
      Indiana: WCCS-AM 1160
      Johnstown: WCRO-AM 1230
      Latrobe: WQTW-AM 1570
      Meyersdale/Somerset: WQZS-FM 93.3
      Oil City: WKQW-AM 1120
      Pittsburgh: KDKA-FM 93.7
      Rockton: WCED-FM 96.7
      Uniontown: WMBS-AM 590


      1. Four years ago due to my wife’s job, I had to leave the lovely North Hills of PGH where I resided for 30 years. I taught at Urban Pathways Charter School on Penn Ave in downtown and loved it. We relocated to the desolate, PSU infested farmland of Lebanon, PA. I assumed I would never be able to find PItt football or basketball on tv again if we weren’t on an ESPN network and I have never been so happy to be wrong.

        All PItt games that are on WTAE Four are on the Central PA CW for both basketball and football. Pitt bb and fb are on Harrisburg’s sports talk radio station. Additionally we even get Root Sports Pittsburgh on our regular Comcast package so I could watch Max Browne destroy Rice hammered on my sofa instead of making a seven hour round trip. I am still teaching (but hate it now) and work with a smattering of PItt grads that also follow our programs pretty hardcore. To my dismay, anything Pitt, Penguins, PIrates, or Ohio State (give me a break, my brother is a Buckeye and I love Columbus) is despised in favor of PSU, and the Flyers. (for some reason most central PA people are Steelers fans over the Eagles it seems like)

        I was a bit harsh above when I said Pitt is despised by most here…it’s worse, they don’t care about us at all. Non-exposure isn’t an excuse for PItt not being big here, we just need to win more and we will be relevant.


        1. wow, I wish I could get the same in Cleveland. We do get the ACC Network … but it is not always Pitt.



  15. Reed – I’d rather play WVU but if PSU doesn’t want to play a home and home, and if the fans truly want the rivalry, that’s really the only solution and the only way to keep it in PA.

    I’d rather not but, for me (and probably you), it’s a wash driving wise. Maybe even a little closer for me, so I wouldn’t be upset about Philly as the home of the Keystone Classic.


  16. There is no reason why Pitt and Pedo cannot sign a long term contract to play each other home and away, skip two years, and then home and away again, indefinitely. This would give the Nitters an opportunity to bring other teams in. They could also develop a signature trophy such as the Old Oaken Bucket, that could reside with the winning team until the next game. This is normally found in conference rivalries, but could still be done to recognize one of the oldest rivalries in football. But of course the Farmers won’t agree to this because it would serve to place Pitt on a par with them, and we can’t have that!


  17. VoR – Or play every other year. It’s clear PSU does not have the interest. I agree there are ways to make it work.


  18. great write up. i really enjoy hearing the stories of how our connections to Pitt began. I share many of Reed’s experiences – growing up in Shadyside my father a loyal Pitt man who taught some courses & guest lectured upon occasion & surrounded himself among friends immersed in the academic culture of the university. I have fond memories of every corner of Pitt stadium and coincidently my great grandfather grew up on the hill and also attended 5th Ave (still a beautiful building btw). As to our “friends” at Happy Valley, i have started to feel very much “F” them. They feel as though they have more to lose then to gain in “granting” us the honor of playing them & i feel as though the more we ask the more it seems like we are begging them – so “F” them. I like the way ADHL is handling it, the proposal is on the desk but we won’t keep coming to the table forever – heck I like the way ADHL is handling almost everything! Is it not becoming popular consensus that she is running circles around “Steve” & “Scott” in her first 18 months? h2p

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Politicians do much gum flapping for little results. Here’s a case where Governor Wolf should step in and since Pedo State and Pitt are both getting state money, mandate that this game be played annually. It’s a state tax revenue boom as well when these 2 play, so they can get their cut as well.

      I believe the Governor of Va. mandated that VA Tech & UVa play every year a few years back and there have been other examples as well.

      And these many creeps in the media should insist as well, instead of telling us how all great Penn State is and what a tough schedule they play.

      And btw when the Creeps play at Ketchup it’s like a Neutral site game. It’s far from when the creeps had to play in Oakland.


      1. I do know that VA state govt stepped in in 2003 and insisted that Va Tech be part of the ACC expansion. You may remember that it was originally supposed to be Miami, BC and Syracuse



  19. Enjoyed the article Pittman4ever. I believe the 40th Division was involved in the Luzon landings in the Battle of the Philippines. Where General MacArthur made good on his promise to Return to the Philippines to defeat the Japanese who had held the islands for almost 3 years in a somewhat brutal occupation.

    Many a good man never did Return to their homes in the USA.


    1. That is correct Emel. Luzon was 1 of the 5 first waves he survived. He actually said if you made it to the sand and then died from a jap bullet that was amazing in it self. Lots of men died in the water from either drowning or by our own bombs coming up short.


  20. Pitt needs to just move on from Penn State…forever. We can still play each other in other sports but football wont happen by their choice and I’m fine with that. They obviously dont need us and Pitt doesnt really need them. Sure its a nice rivalry game but I’d be more interested in resuming the rivalry with West Virginia. And Pitt just gets 6% support from the Commonwealth these days. Penn State around 10-15%. Harrisburg has little leverage with these schools. Maybe when Pitt constructs their OCS in 20 years, we can renew the series and the money can stay in Oakland.


    1. Kind of hard to move on Tex…..we’re in continual recruiting battles with them for the locals and the rest of the Penna.

      And we have to share 2 newspapers and 3 main tv local channels with them.

      How do you just forget about them, when the local media does cartwheels about them, while ridiculing us.


      1. Penn state gets off on the attention. On bossing little brother around. Do what the aggies did with the longhorns. Sever the ties.

        Pitt doesn’t need penn state given their attitude. Those arrogant pricks can play Akron and delude themselves into thinking they have a rivalry with Nebraska.

        The local media are jagoffs. Just ignore them.

        I have good and bad memories of penn state in football. I personally don’t need anymore.



  21. We used to do pretty well in northeastern PA if I recall. It’s all about perception and winning. There is no question they have many advantages, but I don’t think anyone could argue our recruiting efforts have come up short. We just haven’t done well, something is missing recruiting wise, lots of possibilities, but I’m still not sure what the problem is.


    1. 4 Top 25 final rankings in 35 years certainly hasn’t helped. And we get mostly bad media spin on a National basis and even worse on the local basis.

      That is why we have lost so many local(s) in the last 15 years imo. We have to be one of the few and maybe ONLY school that gets short shrifted by their local hometown rags,


  22. Capel on The Fan

    about flipping the court — when he came in with Duke, it didn’t seem that hostile with The Zoo on the other side of the court

    McGowans: heard a lot about him but never saw him play and his coach sent Capel a tape. He saw a game where he played against guards who were going to Oregon and FL, and he thought McGowans was the best guard on the court. Great upside.

    Both McGowans and Johnson will be PGs but can play both positions.

    Doesn’t want anyone right now that can’t contribute right away. He is evaluation grad transfers but he doesn’t want anyone merely to be an extra body.

    The these morons (Starkey and Mueller) amazingly start asking Capel about comparing Jordan and LeBron … what jagoffs!



    1. Pitt needs to just severe their relationship with this abomination called the Fan. It should be called….
      The Jerks. And I’m not talking about the callers.


  23. And if you’re not worried about the Duzz recruiting check out bleacher reports article on new hires killing it at their new schools. Depressing


    1. Keep in mind Joe….rarely do Pitt’s high 3’s ever get moved up the .1 or .2 to be a 4…after they commit to Pitt. But that very thing happens much at other, more favored schools.

      Pitt has like 8 very high 3’s in this year’s crop. NONE of them got bumped up. It’s pure bias against Pitt.
      Nothing more, nothing less.


  24. And I can’t help but think how much the football program and sports overall would have benefited if Pitt didn’t get the short shrift on several Heisman votes. Like Hugh Green, Tony Dorsett should have won twice, not Archie Griffin, and Larry Fitzgerald over the joke QB from Oklahomo.

    4 Heisman winners would have put Pitt solidly in 4th place, behind only ND, Ohio Fake,Okla, and USC.

    Notice that 2 of those schools had gift heismans given to them instead of the much better Pitt players.

    Again Deep State Football working against us.


  25. Couple things:

    I’m not worried about Narduzzi’s recruiting ……..yet… I’m with everyone else and wish PITT would land 22 5* players every recruiting class but no one does that. I’ll wait until this season’s end and see where and how it goes. Worried…. a big no.

    Did Hugh get ripped off? Yes that could be but he made a real good showing and is still remember by many as the greatest defensive player of all-time in college football.He would have been a good choice but ripped off? maybe

    Larry Fitzgerald, yes he got jobbed by the biggest jobber in Pittsburgh.

    Someone above, no not Heaven, but in this great article written by Jim said… PITT should declare in public that they are no longer interested in dealing with psu in further talks about extending the football series. It’s about time PITT stood on their hind legs and just say no. No more groveling with that heinous school. Get a contract with the toothless jagoffs down 79 and be done with it.

    Again.. this is the year we all see what kind of coach Narduzzi really is..

    Reed, you didn’t agree with the statistics that show Idowu and Brightwell as 2 of the top 4 run stopping linebackers returning in the ACC? hmm, stats don’t lie…. 🙂 ike


    1. “Toothless jagoffs down 79”. So typical Pittsburgh that I’m sure half the readers here don’t even realize why I bring it up!? Classic.


  26. ptbreezeb
    “Is it not becoming popular consensus that she is running circles around “Steve” & “Scott” in her first 18 months?” It does seem that way …. but the bar was set below zero.


  27. Well you know, a lot of us Pitt people know Hugh Green was the greatest defensive player ever. But all of these schools that have better football programs than us, each have their own idea who was the greatest defensive player ever.

    Hugh winning the Heisman would have been not only us saying but the National media. It would be undisputed, he would have been the first defensive player ever to win it.

    Also when Fitz didn’t win it. some said it was because Pitt wasn’t an elite team that year.

    Well that didn’t stop them from giving the Heisman to George Rodgers of S. Carolina, who were only 8-4 the year they robbed Hugh Green. And Pitt thoroughly trashed George Rodgers & S. Carolina in the Gator Bowl 37-9 and it wasn’t even that close.


    1. Remember watching Green as a Freshman playing out of his mind! A boy against men played like a man against boys.


  28. wwb – They probably asked about Lebron vs. Jordan because Capel tweets often about the NBA and in particular, Lebron. It’s a relevant question for fun.


  29. Larry didn’t win because Cook didn’t vote for him….

    Hugh Green is the greatest defensive player ever in college football unless you want to put him behind Aaron Donald.


    1. Green finished 2nd in the Heisman as a DE … he should have been awarded the trophies for general principles



    2. At the professional level, AD will prove out to be yet another inductee into the Pro FHOF as a Pitt man. Just my opinion.


  30. Good point JoeK. Knowing Jim like I do he’s proud of that moniker too. Being proud of the city you were from is one thing, being dam proud of your neighborhood is a notch or two above.

    Trust me wwb, I think Hugh Green deserved the award but considering those times it’s understandable to me he didn’t. Defensive players didn’t get the same considerations back then or even know for that matter
    Not saying that was right at all. ike


  31. My uncle and his son had a barber shop on 5th ave near the Brady street bridge for over 70 years
    Talk about memories when me and my sister visited them


  32. In reply to Anonymous @8;38am in reply to EE comment @6:44am.

    Psu wouldn’t & doesn’t play the same 10 teams every year (9 conference & PITT). They would only play 8 (6 divisional, 1 permanent crossover (Iowa) & PITT. The other two are conference games are rotational. Play the 6 west (or is it legends or leaders or pedophiles & sex abusers) every three years.

    If you want two teams that actually play the same ten teams every year, try TCU & Iowa State. (all 9 conference foes & SMU (TCU) & Iowa (Iowa State). You want to create controversy, go to the TCU & Iowa State boards & ask if they’re tired of Actually playing the Exact same ten teams every year. Use psu’s tired of playing exact same 10 teams as the lead in.

    BTW – PITT now plays the same 7 teams every year (6 divisional & the Cuse). Adding psu would make 8. Are we tired?

    Changing the subject – all FBS P5 teams want 7 home games a year. All G of 5 teams want to play 7 home games a year, $$$ makes some teams only get 6.

    BTW – I am for forgetting psu & scheduling the cc in WV, I’m sorry but my history with PITT only began in late 90’s. I remember wvcc not psu. I may be in my 60’s but the present up & coming alums/ fans remember wvcc


  33. Excellent article, Jim!

    BTW, my family and I ate dinner tonight at the St. Nicholas Greek Food Festival on Forbes Avenue, between Pitt and CMU. We do this every year because they have the festival the same week as my son’s birthday, and we love the outstanding food.

    Tonight I had some Souzoukakia on rice. (I figure you know how to pronounce it!) Also had some Spanakopita. And there’ yummy pastries for dessert, live music and Greek dancing! Neat even – and the place gets packed.

    Go Pitt!


    1. Major Majors,
      Thank you for the kind words. Yes back in the day we would hit all the Greek food festivals in the Burg. My family growing up went to Holy Cross in Mt Lebo. My wife (German) knows all the Greek dances better than me and to this day if she Greek dances somewhere people come up to her and ask her which Greek Church does she dance for.

      Liked by 1 person

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