Here is a Pitt-life Bio from an old friend from the message boards and who is a truly great Pitt fan. – Central80. I’ve had a chance to meet his family and watch games with them and all because of our similar fandom for Pitt football…

My history as a Pitt football fan has many phases and dates  back to the late 60’s. Family friends were good friends with Boo and Kay Connors. Boo Connors was the legendary Pitt football equipment manager for many years. Every Pitt home game I would go with my friend Mike and his family and meet up with Kay Connors and her group of friends at the Pitt Tavern. I would scarf down huge ham sandwiches and drink as many pony bottles of Pepsi as I could manage before the walk up Cardiac Hill. After the games we would meet Boo and he would take us into the locker room to meet the players. These were not very good years for Pitt football and I’m sure that these years were meant to prepare me for my fate as a Pitt fan.

My later grade school and high school years I would walk from my house in Shadyside to Oakland with my buddies and sneak into the stadium and look at all of the drunk students. They were as entertaining as many of the games. In college I became one of those drunk students. My friend Jakes was a bartender at the Sanctuary and would work Saturday mornings before games. Jakes never met a drink that she didn’t like to give away. She also dated a player so I became friends with a lot of guys on the teams at that time. This was also during Pitt’s glory years so the games were a lot of fun.

After college I, of course, remained a Pitt fan but didn’t attend as many games as I used to. Not sure the reason why but other things just took priority. That changed sixteen years ago when my son was born. He and I have been going to Pitt games since he’s been ambulatory. He’s had the opportunity to meet many players, from legends Tony Dorsett, Jimbo Covert, Larry Fitzgerald, and Dan Marino to James Conner and Quadree Henderson. Each one of them treated him like gold. Pitt football and their games have been such a bonding agent for my son and I and they are something that we will always share.

My daughter enters Pitt in the Fall and that begins a new phase for me as a Pitt football as a Pitt father. She looked at many schools and initially had scant interest in Pitt….namely because it is in Pittsburgh. She finally decided that Pitt was the best place for her and her academic interests. I couldn’t be happier. I was also so proud that the one school that she refused to consider was Penn State!!

In my brief history above I haven’t mentioned one specific game. As a fan I would love for Pitt to win every time they take the field but, ultimately, that’s not what is most important to me. Enjoying the experience with the people in my life, from grade school until now as a parent is what is more meaningful and important to me. A lot of you seem to have photographic memories concerning details of games, Reed included. I’m not like that. I remember the fun that I have had with people. The bond that I have created with my kids and even some people on social media. These will always be my memories of Pitt football.

Not the wins and losses.

75 thoughts on “How Did Central 80 Become a Pitt Fan?

  1. Things I have in common with Central80….

    Bonding with son as Pitt Football fans.

    Daughters refusing to consider Mt. Nittany as a destination for their college years

    +1 Central80

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  2. Great story Central 80. Some of you guys were right smack in the middle of the PITT football experience which is pretty darn cool. and i remember you being around the block on message boards as well. Great job and thank you . . .ike

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  3. Going into the locker room had to be a huge thrill for a youngster…. In my youth I remember going up to our high school players and asking for their chinstrap after a game. Someone told us we could find cleats on the field. Remember the white fiberglass screw-on cleats? We never found one but I was never good at Easter egg hunts in my early years when they really hid’em.

    Good story. You guys who seldom post need to get on here and join the fray.

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  4. always gratifying to have your children follow in your footsteps to the alma mater ….and become one of the drunk students at the games.

    wwb

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        1. The tough schedule will probably prevent Pitt from going to a bowl. Far easier to play in a weak Big 10 division and schedule cupcakes. Teams like Iowa, Wisconsin and Penn State don’t need to work all that hard for 10 wins. Yet everybody sees those 10 wins and they get highly ranked and a good bowl game.

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          1. Oh no, this again. Polls, especially of the preseason variety, as a basis for anything.

            Pitt won’t be bowl eligible because in year 4 of Pat Narduzzi he can’t coach the team to a 6-6 record against a Coastal schedule, a crossover game at Wake Forest, a home game against Penn State, a road game against UCF (with a new coach) and a road game against Notre Dame (who is a regular ACC opponent and who would probably be on the schedule anyway if Pitt wasn’t in the ACC). Then add the Albany home game.

            And then Wisconsin or Penn State will win the good bowl game or at least be competitive in it.

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        2. No sir! But winning will be that much sweeter when the W’s stream in for 2018.

          I’m hoping the nits are in a he Top 10 by 9/8 – that would be great.

          H2P!

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  5. Great story. Thank you. Congrats on your daughter

    Have not heard of Boo for almost 50 years. What a nice man. He saved me on many a parking ticket.

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  6. One thing that was ultra cool about Pitt stadium, you could actually watch the game without being inside the stadium. The back rim of the stadium (by the VA )was actually either at or slightly below the sidewalk up there. So you could see the whole field up there just hanging out on the sidewalk. It was very neat.

    That was such a unique stadium which was unique to Pitt. Such a shame it is no more.

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  7. Emel, that’s exactly where I watched many a Steeler game at the back rim of the stadium. And that was when the Steelers were one of the NFL doormats in the league.

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    1. Right jrn…..nobody wanted to watch the Bill Austin coached Stillers back then. I think even bad Pitt teams outdrew them.

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    1. Tell that to the nits and badgers from Wisconsin.

      The plan this year is to beat the teams on our schedule. No excuses from me.

      Eight wins is the low water mark for Duzz and the 2018 Panthers.

      PSUx will win ten even with a loss to Pitt.

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    2. No, because people just remember the wins. The Pitt fanbase is the only group in the country that wants to apologize for winning. Pretty sad.

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    3. Reed you really want it all. Don’t see how that is realistic. If you want Pitt to get to the next level, including recruiting , you have to demonstrate success, which requires strategic scheduling. Otherwise expect continued failure. I’d much prefer to be 9-4 with a decent bowl game and better recruiting, to 5-7 (with honor?). Who’s with me.

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  8. ^^I would say it is Reed. For the time being it is a strategy I agree with. State penn doesn’t seem to have a problem with it full time. The ACC is a good enough conference with representation in the NCAA playoffs the past how many years that there is no reason imo to feel like PITT would be dodging competition in any way. PITT shouldn’t be playing a tougher schedule than the pedo’s or anyone else. Hopefully they will in a few years.

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  9. I was born the year the Panthers roared…1976! I remember sitting in a monsoon against BYU( I think it was BYU) I was at the 1st game under the lights against, I believe against a Jim( don’t call me Chris) Everett led Purdue team. My craziest Pitt memory was a mid 80’s game against Ohio St. Was me and pops, we literally could not find a parking space in Oakland. Well we did at the old Exxon station but they wanted $10, my dad said, “$10, are you out of your mind”( this was the 80’s remember) We proceeded to drive around, no luck! Finally my dad was willing to eat crow and pay the $10, as we pulled back in, even as an 8 or 9 year old kid I read the sadistic smile on the attendants face, “sorry we’re full”. We never made it to the game! My dad lost his mind. Blamed it on me, we didn’t have season tickets back then, he would let me pick the 2 or 3 games we went to. He woke me up in the middle of the night, I smelled the booze on his breath, but he apologized and told me it wasn’t my fault and how much he loves me. Have had season tickets since mid 90’s with my dad and younger brother( who was 3 or 4 and spared Ohio St fiasco). These old Pitt stories are great guys, just thought I’d share mine. By the way my best to this day was 1987 when Billy Owens took it 69 yards to the house, 10-0!!!! I was 11 years old…

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  10. Reed.

    I, for one, never advocated filling the OOC schedule with “cupcakes”, merely limiting the “high profile” teams to one spot and using the other three spots with “lower-level” P5 teams or non-P5 teams, like Rutgers, Maryland, Illinois, Texas Tech, Kentucky or Vanderbilt in the first group and teams like Colorado State, Rice, FAU, FIU, Fresno State, Army, Air Force, etc. in the second. Ignore the FCS, altogether.

    For examples..

    Colorado State
    FIU
    WVU
    Army

    or

    Air Force
    ND
    FAU
    Kentucky

    Something like that. All are somewhat “name” schools but give us a more “realistic” shot at entering ACC play at 3-1 or 4-0. We need to build some momentum and give the students and fans more opportunities to walk out of the “Ketchup bottle” happy a bit more often. It’s already been shown that the “casual fan” doesn’t show up just to see Pitt play “big-time” opponents… so what’s the appeal? If Pitt wins the ACC and doesn’t get invited to the playoff, THEN we can worry about strengthening the OOC schedule.

    Just my opinion.

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  11. I agree Jay. Cupcakes maybe too strong of a sentiment and teams like Rice are synonymous with cupcakes so PITT should dummy down the schedule to compatible P-5 teams sounds like a plan. A couple years from now things could change.

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  12. Having 2 cupcakes every year means we go to a bowl. Then we need to win only 4 out of the remaining 10 games. Otherwise we end up like last year or maybe this year. Even SEC teams do it regularly because why stay home for the holidays and the kids get no bowl gifts. College FB bowls are local business events trying to make a little extra money. It is what it is.

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    1. Pitt had two cupcakes last year in Rice and Youngstown State.

      It wasn’t the losses to Penn State and Oklahoma State that kept Pitt out of a bowl game last year. It was losses to GT, Syracuse and UNC who also weren’t bowl eligible last year.

      Pitt has effectively “dodged competition” by playing in the Coastal.

      Pitt will be on national TV for a night game in September. If they win they’ll be feature news the next day and probably through the next week. None of that will ever happen playing non conference games against MAC, C-USA and FCS teams (unless they lose).

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  13. Pulled this from Jim Hammett at pantherlair-

    “The Pitt baseball program is set to finish its fifth regular season as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference this weekend, and the 2018 team is trying to do something it has never done before: make the ACC Baseball Tournament.

    It sounds simple, as 12 of the conference’s 14 schools make the tournament each year, but in the Panthers’ first four years in the ACC, they have finished in the bottom two all four times.

    Pitt’s magic number to make the conference tourney is just one: all the Panthers need to do this weekend is to win one game. That might be easier said than done, as seventh-ranked Clemson will come to Pittsburgh for a three-game set to close out the regular season set to begin tonight.”

    HC Jordano is sitting firmly on a “hot” seat.

    Go Pitt!

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    1. Erie – He will lose 8 of last 9 ACC Games. How a coach doesn’t get fired for that is ludicrous.

      He already lost 6 of 7 as of tonight.

      Heather better purge and hire a winner with SEC or ACC pedigree.

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  14. “PITT is effectively dodging compensation by playing in the Coastal division” If you don’t know what fake news is take a look at that. Blaming PITT for playing in the assigned division now?

    and btw, no one singled out a particular year. It’s called a general concept.

    and stating any of the losses last year didn’t keep PITT from a bowl game last year, speaks for itself = an agenda and false. A 6-6 record would have most definitely put PITT in a bowl game.

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    1. Ike – If we played FSU and Clemson, Louisville and NC State now those would be 4 L’s most years.

      The Coastal is way easier.

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  15. Penn State agrees with an easier OOC schedule. Heck Pitt kept the Pedos out of the BCS in 2016. Follow what the SEC does and schedule only 1 good team. You should win at least 3 of your 4 OOC games. Then you only have to go 500 in conference to go to a decent bowl. SOS doesnt matter to a team like Pitt until it starts competing for ACC titles. Moreover, these big name teams dont draw tons of fans into Heinz. Look at Okie State last year. Only Pedos, Hoopies and Domers bring the fans.

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    1. Absolutely. Coaches/programs are measured by wins. People (some on here too) love to point to our five wins last year in hating on Narduzzi. But the reality is we played two very good teams in the non-conference and now play in a better conference.

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      1. You lost me at “hating”

        Year 3 and “his players”

        Narduzzi is liked because he is a loud mouth intense yinzer and people relate to him.

        His recruiting is atocious and his coaching isn’t far behind.

        His saving grace is there is no way to get rid of him bc our coaching carousel. A top program cans him if he doesnt win 8 games this year. He won’t win 6.

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  16. I guess in fairness and I really don’t know this to be true but it may be possible OSU could have looked like a fair home and home series when they were scheduled? Same goes for UCF I suppose?

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  17. Central80- congrats to you and your daughter on her going to Pitt!

    And enjoyed your article – neat having an “in” to meet some players…

    Go Pitt!

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  18. EE… pray for a late snowstorm and 25 degrees F and PITT will win that 1 game… golf for you in Woolrich knickers… Jordano renewed for 3 years and the love affair with UPitt continues..!!!

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  19. Jay91.. agree with you on scheduling .. get a service academy, Cinncy would be great- they were almost a rivalry or Rutgers – exposure for recruiting NJ or the Twerps for the same reason…

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  20. So, some POVers are golfing in a Pitt Celebrity Golf Event on Saturday. It’s a fund-raiser for an athletic scholarship.

    Each foursome will be assigned a Pitt celebrity to play with them. We don’t know who it will be until we get there.

    Who do you guess will be our Pitt celebrity?
    If you could pick a Pitt celeb to golf with or have dinner with if you don’t golf, who would it be? (Besides Reed, of course.)

    I’m hoping for Walt Harris, or Billy Hillgrove, but I don’t think we have a chance for someone that high up on the Pitt celeb scale…

    Go Pitt!

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  21. Creepy Valley and JoePedo built their whole program on playing nobodies in the 1960’s.

    1968 they played NO ranked teams until the Orange Bowl

    1969 they played 1 ranked team until the Orange Bowl

    1970 they played 1 ranked team, 7-3 no bowl
    1971 they played 1 ranked team before Cotton Bowl
    1972 they played 2 ranked teams before Sugar Bowl where they promptly got shut out
    1973 they played 1 ranked team (Pitt #20) before the Orange Bowl.

    Pitt needs to be much smarter in scheduling. MUCH SMARTER !

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    1. in 2014, they played one (that finished ranked0
      in 2015, they played 4
      in 2016 and 2017 they played 5.

      I’m not saying at all that that they shouldn’t be playing ranked team … all I’m asking is that it is acknowledged here when everyone is throwing out all these stats. This stat matters every bit as much.
      wwb

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      1. Yes wbb, but when does it get to the point where your coach, your program and your team are supposed to be good enough to beat those teams instead of using them as an excuse for losing.

        It looks like we’ve not got to that point with Pat Narduzzi in three full years and we might not get to it in four years… so when do we start pointing at ourselves and saying that we are the ones who are good enough?

        We need to quit blaming teams for beating us and start blaming Pitt for not beating those other teams.

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        1. Reed, please tell me you’re kidding! For 35 years now, Pitt has had 9 head coaches … and not one of them has had a season that didn’t show at least 3 losses. And only once … did Pitt ever win 10.

          So why are you picking on Narduzzi while not acknowledging the quality of schedule he is playing against. That is just as big of a stat as anything else you throw at us.

          wwb

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  22. My Pitt “celebrity” of choice? No brainier… Jerry Olsavsky

    I went to Steelers training camp back in his rookie season, I think it was ’89. I had mad some really cool Pitt stationary as my print shop project in high school and wanted to get Jerry O’s autograph. He was really excited to see it and after signing it for me he said, “I’m not really anybody but I can sign ‘Burt Grossman’ (a 1st round pick that same year), he was my roommate and I can do it perfectly.” My Dad and I laughed about it for a long time.

    Later, when I was a student at Pitt, he used to come in to Peter’s Pub to play backgammon with Dave the manager (I think he was the owner’s son in law) and he was always great to the students.

    Aside from maybe Wanny, I don’t think there’s a bigger “Pitt Man” than Jerry O.

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  23. Hey M&M, Billy Hillgrove would be a hoot. Jerry O is a good choice as well, always a favorite of mine. An unrealistic but fantastically fun choice would be “the Goose” Tony Siragusa. My choice would be Shane Roy, so I could talk him into coming to the POV golf outing and meeting Reed. 🙂 Seriously, mine would be Wanny. .. ike

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  24. ^^ Upitt, I would be a fool to argue that the coastal was the better division the past few years. You don’t think I’m a fool do you? Point is, PITT played Clemson and beat them at their death valley before they went on to win the national championship. Last year PITT beat the #2 team in the country at the time from the coastal division. The ACC is a legitimate conference with no need to make excuses considering who they play out of conference.

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    1. Miami would of lost that game to Carlow. They were ranked 25 spots to high. You see the QB? If they arent home they suck. That game was a game they were going to lose. Yes Pitt did it’s part. As far as Clemson, they had 3 games they almost lost and the week before NC State missed a game winning fg from 25 yards. Pitt benefitted from playing both at the right time. Yes they won and did their job but lets not act like Miami didn’t doneverything in their power to lose. Clemson was a little different but that was also when we had talent on the roster.

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    2. You better be at Golf. I’m flying in from Miami the night before. Maybe I will stay and eat Perogis with you and sip on some Irons and smoke a stogie. Let me know.

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  25. You crack me up Mark. Perogis are alright but I don’t like when they are cooked WPA style. I find them too greasy. Nothing against Iron City beer but only drank a few in my life (under protest). Smoking? Well… I mostly gave up any type of smoking years ago but I have had a puff or two the past few years. If it ain’t making me high then I ask why?

    I do expect to meet you at Champion Lakes on June 9th though, you flying into Latrobe? We’ll talk.

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  26. Read this over at PSN……and started LOL.

    “During his first season with the team, Chukwuka gained a reputation as a high-energy defender and fearless rebounder that wasn’t afraid to get under the skin of opposing players.”

    This kid wasn’t a fearless rebounder against a scrub rent-a-win.
    Kinda disappointed JC couldn’t find anyone to take this Swede’s 🙂 place.

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    1. Totally agree Emel. In the 20 years I’ve followed college basketball, I’ve never seen a player commit so many fouls in so few minutes and throw up brick after brick on three point attempts. He is as bad as it gets and for him to have asked for a release boggles my mind. If I was JC and watched any tape of the man I call the foul machine, I would have told him CCAC North Campus is looking pretty good for you right now.

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  27. The Pitt baseball team is in the ACC tourney for the first time! Not because they beat Clemson today (we got crushed), but because V Tech lost. So all I can say is “ we’ll take it!” Since 2014 we are not 1 of the 2 bottom teams that don’t make the ACC tournament.

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    1. Sad state of affairs pit man lost six of seven soon to be eight of nine and somehow this guy still has a job. 11-19 in acc. Heather???

      Hope you are well man! 102 in Dallas today

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  28. OT:I see that the Cuse is putting $118 million into upgrading the Carrier Dome. I wish Pitt had to done the same at Pitt Stadium prior to making the move to Heinz field.

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    1. They did – it is called “The Pete”.

      Sad, isn’t it…

      Heinz is home for now – two big nationally televised wins (psux and miami) in the past three years that make some of us Pitt fan’s top ten games (at least in my lifetime).

      Prediction outside the box – Pitt alumni Tepper eventually donates a large sum to build a multi-purposed stadium to be shared by Pitt and CMU that has a high-tech transit system from some remote parking facility. BYOB tailgating will be the only challenge.

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  29. Reed.

    Earlier today I fired off my contribution to the “Why I’m a Pitt fan” series. Hopefully, it explains my passion and supposed “negativity”.

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