Greetings from Los Angeles. I have been a POV reader since you launched and an occasional commenter under PittPride26. Reading the blog post today by Pittman4ever really flooded back memories of how I ended up at Pitt so I started to jot them down and it ended up being longer than I intended or imagined…
By Dan LoBue (Pittpride26)
I ended up at Pitt in a pretty round about way that I thought you guys may find entertaining. Growing up in northern New Jersey I latched on to the Steelers as my favorite NFL team. It was the late 70’s, the Giants and Jets were terrible so I bandwagoned. As 1990 rolled around it was time for me to figure out my college destination. I was in the top 1/3 of my high school class, had (slightly) above average SAT and played varsity football and baseball. My parents wanted me to stay in state but with those solid credentials Princeton was off the table so the logical destination for me was Rutgers.
At our high school college fair the University of Pittsburgh had a table so I wandered over and was talking Steelers with them. Boy I loved Rod Woodson back then, 26 was my football number and I still wear it to this day on softball jerseys! They also started telling me about the campus and the city feel. Living in the shadow of NYC I always dreamed of living in the city and being able to watch the Steelers every week sounded awesome. Watching any team you wanted was not an option back then. That said Rutgers was going to be my choice but might as well apply to Pitt anyway and did so.
To add another layer, my high school girlfriend was a year older than I was and
currently a freshmen at the University of Delaware. She really wanted me to go there. It is actually a pretty great campus but at 17 years old it seemed like picking a school based on my girlfriend was a bad idea. Did I tell her that?
Heck no! Instead I filled out the application. The last page said ESSAY (optional) so I opted NOT to write the essay figuring they would deem me lazy and reject me which would help me avoid an unpleasant conversation.
Winter 1991 arrived and my application letters came back. To my utter shock and dismay, I did not get into Rutgers. It surely worked out in the end but I have never really gotten over it as several of my lesser ranked classmates got in as did my youngest brother. I love my home state but I will always hate Rutgers for this rejection. I got into some smaller Jersey schools and Penn St accepted me with some you can go ton a branch campus for two years and then transfer to main campus that I never considered for a second.
Then Pitt’s letter arrived and I was accepted. It was at that point I started to get excited at the thought of attending Pitt so I scheduled a campus visit to actually see the place. The day we were leaving to visit Pitt a letter from Delaware arrived. Lo and behold despite my laziness it was an acceptance letter!!!!!
I went to see Pitt and fell in love with the campus, the city and the idea of being close to the Steelers. I even took a tour of Three Rivers Stadium that day. We just drove to the stadium in the winter, walked in the office and said we were Steeler fans from New Jersey and they took me out on the field and gave me some swag. It was amazing and my college choice was made.
I had one more piece of business to take care of, so I hopped in my 84 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and drove down to Delaware to tell my girlfriend I was going to Pitt. Did I tell her Friday night when I got there? No… coward that I was I waited until Sunday morning before I had to drive back. It did not go great but we actually stayed together until Christmas break of my freshman year.
So I stepped on campus Fall of 91, my orientation roommate was future Pitt QB John Ryan. I graduated in 1995. The truth is while I was there it was a pretty dark time for Pitt athletics. No bowl games, one NCAA appearance which was a first round blow out loss to Keith Van Horn and Utah. That said it had no real impact on my time at the school, I loved everything about it and molded me into the person I am today. Not sure people should apply/pick a college based on what professional football team they like but I have no regrets.
After graduation I returned a few times for big games in the 90’s, I was at the last Pitt stadium game vs Notre Dame and the 12-0 Three Rivers game against Penn St. Being in a big crowd and seeing two big wins cemented that I would follow my school and my team for as long as I walk this Earth of ours.
Coming from a dark timeline of Pitt sports as a student my expectations to this day remain tempered but it also has meant that I have truly enjoyed Howland-Dixon hoops and recent football wins over Clemson and Penn St because I have seen what rock bottom looks like.
I transferred employment to Los Angeles in 2003 and have not been back to Pittsburgh since 12-0. I play softball every week with a Pitt hat on and most weekends you will catch me in a Pitt t-shirt. Every few weeks the hat or shirts inspire someone to strike up a conversation about Pitt and I love it. I have two young boys and “maybe” sadly for them they watch Pitt football and hoops with me every week and they too have shirts they proudly wear. Oh, and they also like the Steelers…
I can’t wait to get a weekend picked out with both Pitt and the Steelers at home to take the trip back and show them around and watch my teams play live. In fact, it will 100% happen in 2019. (as I think Pitt football is going to have a good year then 😊)
25 thoughts on “How I Became a Pitt Fan; “Pittpride26””
Whoa and man. Great story Dan and a great looking family. I don’t hear or read a lot of positive stories from PITT alumni from that era. Proper perspective hasn’t ruined your time while attending PITT and spent on campus. Good on you… comment more please…… we need the faith great job. . . . . .ike
Dan – thanks for sharing your story. It sounds to me Lyke your rejection from Buttgers had everything to do with the fact that your transcript was too good for their standards.
Pitt’s softball team beat VT with a walk off grand slam in the 1st round of the ACC tournament. Next up will be the winner of UNC vs GT. Pitt won both season series 2 games to 1.
Burgers is not worthy
If my girlfriend was that Delaware hen in the picture, Pitt would have no chance
Too bad you didn’t see some big wins in sports while at Pitt
But I’m sure you remember old Pitt stadium and the Fieldhouse
The new students today don’t know what they missed
So the steelers drew you to Pittsburgh but what keeps that connection to Pitt alive today?
I think it’s a good question to ask any alumnus since many of us don’t have fond memories of sports at Pitt
Great story, Dan. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Dan.. really enjoyed your round-about way to the Burgh and PITT. Great looking family within the POV family. Isn’t the POV great in how it brings us all together.
Please post more often. Would love to hear more from you from sports input to old memories like you just shared…You have triggered some of my ole memories…..Again, thanks for sharing !
Was there a story somewhere near that Delaware Blue Hen coed picture?? I must’ve missed it. 😉
Seriously, the story was OK, but I hated the part where Penn State only admitted you to branch campuses but Pitt accepted you at main. WTF???? True, respectable Pitt guys/gals should never even apply to Penn State.
So true, I was accepted at Cornell, Marquette, Notre Dame, Penn, Temple and Pitt. I would of never applied to Creepy Valley State in a million years.
As much as I hate to say it, I was a few years ahead of Dan, and back in late 80s and early 90s it was tougher to get into the Dairy College than it was Pitt. Happy to say that as my daughter gets ready to enroll in an engineering school next year, it is harder to get into Pitt Engineering than PSUsux Engineering. Not that she has any interest in applying there. Raised her right!!!
I did have the desire to go to a D1 school for the sports, Rutger (barely) counted, so Penn St seemed to be worth an apply. I never even visited. I did have another friend who too them up on that deal and went to Hazelton for two years and transferred to main as a junior.
Dan, I so enjoyed your story. And to remain a true Pitt fan in the era when you were at Pitt is; well, a true Pitt fan. I graduated from Pitt in 1974 and was on the cusp of their 1976 National Championship and was there for their Final 8 Billy Knight basketball appearance. Call me insane, but I turned down a CMU Engineering School scholarship and matriculated to the Pitt Engineering School because I wanted to attend a school that had Division 1 football to occupy my social life in the fall. More luck, than analysis; my future Pitt coed wife LOVED Pitt football.
I attended Pitt’s 2018 “Panthers on the Prowl” at the Fairmont Hotel two days ago. I got my picture taken with Coach Narduzzi and Coach Capel and wished them well. THey were very nice. I got my picture taken with AD Heather Lyke and wished her well. She was very nice. Pitt threw a first class event. I can not lie; I left there with my Pitt friend thinking I am so fortunate to be a Pitt alumni. What a great institution.
Since I’m old, I’ve been to a lot of these events and I sense a change in the way the wind sets in Pitt’s sails.
Maybe it was the prime rib, or the 3 choices of pierogis, or the Jack Daniels, but I haven’t had this feeling since Jackie went house hunting in College Station, Texas.
For the Sean Miller detractors.
Arizona basketball recruiting: Despite lingering FBI cloud, Sean Miller has rebuilt top-25 class
Feel very fortunate Dan….that Buttgers didn’t accept you. Best thing that might have happened to you 🙂
Good story Dan! (Also, good story Jim before Dan. Didn’t have a chance to comment)
Someone probably mentioned this earlier – Pitt recently added a couple of preferred walk on RBs. Jason “the Truck” Edwards, a kid who evidently benches 350 and squats 570, plays mean, and will mentor under Aston at FB. And a RB from Robert Morris who is a decent player and will add depth at RB (and probably play special teams).
rocky, does this mean that PITT is in big big trouble bringing in walkons? OMG!
Haha! Hell no. Saw a video of the Truck and he ran over six or seven guys on the way to the end zone. Yes, it was high school, but the kid looks strong and loves to hit. Was as good a LB as RB in high school. He’s from WV, but I cant hold that against him as he is coming to Pitt. The kid is mean. I like it.
The other kid from Bobby Mo will add depth, has three year’s of college experience and so is mature, can add value on the scout team and evidently is a hard worker which is never a bad thing for the younger kids to see.
I’ll be rooting for both of them.
Walk on are good Ike.
But unless you are a program where kids turn down other school’s scholarships to attend your school as a walk on (see Wisky) then they are of limited value overall.
For my good friend..
ike — I grew up high on a hill, and not far from the upper station of the Duquesne Incline. Walked past that incline everyday on my way to grade school and high school.
“High on a Hill” always felt like it was written for us Mt. Washingtonians!
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rocky, I was joking about the over hyped walk-on dilemma PITT seems to be having. I like the Tank pickup and the RMU kid can only help as well. Good luck to both of them..
Pittpride26 – Loved the read. Thank you. – Hobie
Yeah Dan, I just wanted to say again how I loved reading your story. Great stuff. Hope more chime in with their PITT stories. ike
I was there the exact same time as you were Fall 91 to Spring 95. We sucked in all sports but we did dominate Danny Hurley and Seton Hall. We almost got Texas at home because Curtis Martin had an insane game. Great story
Thanks for the kind words guys and it was fun to write. It really is hard to say how I became so invested in the sports other than it happened after graduation. I never attended a hoops game at Fitzgerald and after being required to attend football games as a fraternity pledge freshman year I almost never went the following three years. We watched on TV but we usually to over served the night before to battle that hill. I do fondly remember playing fraternity football Sunday nights AT Pitt Stadium, that was awesome. I think that is why I question how important an on campus stadium really is. It seems to me that schools that draw the most and have the most passionate fan base come from Alumni not current Students. We are lucky we went someplace where every weekend we can watch our alma mater on TV, there are really only 65 or so schools that can say that!
Thanks for sharing that story Dan. Very well articulated.
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