Here is a bio by our commenter friend “frank md”…

I lived in Johnstown through high School among Pitt and PSU fans.  I really had no feelings either way.  But that took a turn after I graduated from high school.

I wanted to become an aeronautical engineer.  I found that PSU had that course so I applied there.  But when I heard from them they said they could not offer me any assistance even though my grades were in the top 10% of my high school class and our family qualified for low-income assistance.  So I applied to Pitt.  Lo and behold Pitt offered a small scholarship that I could use to attend the Johnstown campus.  Since they did not offer aeronautical engineering, I enrolled in electrical engineering.

Frank LuciaAfter two years I had to transfer to Pittsburgh because Johnstown did not offer the last two years of electrical engineering.  By the way, Pitt-Johnstown is now a located on a huge beautiful campus with four-year degrees.  With my Johnstown scholarship over, I had to wait to see if Pitt would continue the scholarship in Pittsburgh.  Otherwise it meant the Air Force.  Pitt did offer an Alcoa scholarship and loans.99

I had been working in Johnstown for Acme markets and as luck would have it they had a store in the North Hills on McKnight Road.  I also had family in Pittsburgh as my uncle and nephew had a barber shop on Fifth Avenue for many years.  So, off I go to Pittsburgh.

I joined two of my fellow Johnstown engineer friends in an apartment on North Bellefield Avenue across from Schenley High School and one block from the Luna.

My first experience with football was a bonfire before the 1963 Miami game.  We lost.  But I learned that a large group of engineering friends from Pitt-Johnstown also attended games.  From then on we attended the games in a group and no fraternity dared question where we wanted to sit at any football or basketball game.  Tiger Paul was our hero.  One time we took a basketball trip to Morgantown.  Our tickets were behind wooden beams and we saw fish flying onto the court.  The 1963 Pitt-PSU game was one of great sorrow because of Kennedy’s death even though we won 22-21 at Pitt Stadium.

After graduation, I took a Federal job in Washington.  Three of my best Pitt friends did the same thing as the government was desperate for engineers.   At least once a year we would go back to Pittsburgh for a football game.  My wife attended a couple of the games but she lost interest and only went along to go shopping.

I soon became best friends at work with PSU and WVU graduates.  That sparked heated rivalries as we attended PSU and WVU games.  Back then I had a 12 passenger van, so we would load up everyone along with the necessary provisions to get us through the weekend.   We still talk today about how we survived those trips.

I could relate many stories of those trips where we should have been arrested.  Some of my favorite trips included:  Pitt-WVU in 1970 (historic 36-35 come from behind win); Pitt-PSU in 1976; and in Pitt State College wins in 1979, 1980 and 1988.  There is no greater feeling for a Pitt fan then beating PSU in State College.  In Morgantown we saw burning couches and students riding on top of school busses.

Now I watch all the Pitt football and basketball games on television but I return to Pittsburgh for at least one football game a year.  The loss of Pitt Stadium still pisses me off.

Readers: These Bios have been so popular and well received that the authors keep remembering additional things about their Pitt experience.  So I’ll add those thoughts as they come in…

From GC:

“Why Pitt Is It”… Two more anecdotes

While I lived in many locations during my college years, including above Flo’s Records, which gave great access to the School of Public Health as well as the Bars and the Big O, one Football related activity included one of my stays on Chesterfield St.  After a major upset of Syracuse, we hadn’t beat them in years, some very drunken friends brought a fifteen foot section of the goalpost in our house, had a beverage and went on their merry way taking the goalpost with them.

One thing that was memorable during my years was the craze known as Streaking. It started one spring when a mixed group came out of one of the windows in the quadrangle in the full Monty to the delight of a large group assembled there. This happened on several occasions and then these type of events started springing up all over the City. I doubt that Pitt Students invented the event, but it was the first time most of us heard of it.

One Saturday Night on Chesterfield rumor has it that in the middle of a grape and grain party, a large number of participants streaked down Chesterfield to the roar of the appreciative onlookers. The only problem was that we/they had to run back up the rather steep incline. A good time was had by all.

One of my friends who chickened out was so disappointed in himself that he and a girlfriend streaked the Chatham College Graduation Ceremony. To say that it took real balls is an understatement.

The Smart Phone has ruined any chance of this craze occurring again, at least without masks.

From Anonymous: 

Some of my fondest memories included a group of us including players such as Marty Schottenheimer and others in the Tuck Shop with sororities. My wife was a Tri-Delta.  Between the Theta’s and TriDelts, they had the market on players.

Another memory was a secret one of Dale Steward, Popp and some others with me in dropping a car hood from a dorm window in Schenley Plaza.  There were no athletic dorms them, players and other students were in the same rooms although they liked to pair the players together. It never stopped a good party even when the Tower Dorms opened.

Kudos to the Pitt Campus Police who watched out for all students and frankly keep a lot of us out of mischief. One would watch my fiancé go from the towers to her dorm just as a friendly gesture. I can remember them quietly corralling some handicapped guys in wheelchairs who would go full blast down from Fifth to Forbes past the Original.  Amazing how they had it timed so no one would get hurt.

Along with some of my friends from law, business, and medicine who attended Pitt, we all enjoyed our time.  We worked our tails off academically as no one gave a “special grade” because of who you were.  I never heard of any professor ever calling roll in a class and saying that “your boss called to see if you are in class” which happened to my son at Clemson. You were expected by Pitt to pull your own academic weight and be responsible for your reputation and that of the university.

83 thoughts on ““My Pitt Fan Story” and Bio Addendums

  1. I am loving all these personal histories. This kinda stuff, about all kinds of people, prominent or not, is probably my favorite thing to read anymore.

    As for another story, just wanted to say that I understand why comments are closed on the Ricky Town series until it is finished, but… maybe I’m in the minority, but I don’t even WANT to comment until it is finished. The prose itself is maybe the best Reed has ever produced for us. You are drawn in and captivated and only want the rest when you finish what is currently available.

    It is all excellent work both by the contributors and by Reed.

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  2. Great stuff Frank, especially that you attended games with rival fans. I did the same and it made the wins more special, without the animosity that seems to be prevalent these days.

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  3. gc… I was the quad that night right after leaving Bimbos with a bunch of my PT classmate… we were pretty much toasted…the non -streaking, tallywacker swinging nudies crawling out of the window of the dorms was the PITT Panther football team! The girls in were awe-struck… also remember night streakers across the Cathedral lawn… now-a-days a frat can get expelled for a little underage drinking or fisticuffs..

    Frank good story. You were there in 63 for the Pitt- PSU game! You are the 1st poster that I have seen who actually was present..I was in 6 th grade.. wasn’t much of a Pitt fan as a youngster.

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  4. Frank md – Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed the read. GC – Apparently PItt was more of a party school than I realized during my years at Pitt as a teaching fellow. Everyone – Keep the stories coming. -Hobie

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  5. What a crowd gathered for the Cathedral streaking that we heard was coming… seemed like a couple of thousand lined each side of the Cathedral… the streakers only clad in tennis shoes appeared down towards the 5 th Ave side near Heinz..across the lawn they raced with reckless abandon until they hit the terraced section heading toward the student union .. down went 2 of them into the slog that always was present at the bottom of the terrace after a rain…picked themselves up and unshakenoff they ran .

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  6. There is another football team story that I wonder if anyone can confirm. This one happened circa 68-70.
    There were two athletic families from Penn Hills, the Flynn’s (Tommy) and the Flinn’s. The Flinn’s were real tough guys. Pat Flinn graduated with me at Penn Hills and was not to be crossed. He wrestled for the state championship, heavyweight title with his arm in a sling from a collar bone or shoulder injury. Rumor has it that when he lost he ripped his arm from the sling, punched his opponent in the face and knocked him out. Not exactly good sportsmanship.

    Anyway, the story is that one night at Chief’s the two Flinn brothers and their father, took on a large number of Pitt Football players and pounded them into submission. I always wondered if it was true.

    Chief’s was one bar that I never entered, heard too many stories like that one. Although one night at Wohlfarth’s while playing pinball, I witnessed a complete donnybrook with beer mugs flying and major fisticuffs , in a large portion of the bar area. Luckily it ended before it got to the back of the bar.

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    1. I was also terrified of Chiefs….I was Luna loyal and my only fight at Pitt was at the Luna on a Friday afternoon at 4pm. Long story….many arrested but Larry (longtime Luna manager) let me go out the secret entrance to the back. Luna in the 30’s 40’s was a famous Burgh amusement park.

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  7. One Night in Haddon Hall I asked a girl if I could kiss her and she said sure and I did.

    It turned out her boyfriend was about 10 feet away… a reserve offensive lineman and he and two other players picked me up and threw me out the front door just like in the movies.

    So I walked back in, ordered another beer and told her that it was worth it for one kiss.

    Guess who I was with the next night?

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  8. don’t have many stories about Pitt FB players … one is my friend meeting Fralic at the bar in Heaven (downtown night club) in 1986. Fralic was wearing a very short-sleeved golf shirt, and my friend told him he should go out for for football.

    wwb

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  9. gc, in my 4+ years drinking at Chief’s (70-74) I don’t recall any fights. Actually saw more rumbling at the Luna. My timing must have been good to avoid any incidents.

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  10. Thanks Frank…these stories are great. Loved the Luna…kept going back there till almost 1990. We used to get 5-6 guys seated in a row on the floor and “rowed” around the bar every time the DJ played the theme from Hawaii 5-0. Got tossed once myself Reed, buy you did it with panache.

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  11. I attended Pitt from 2003 to 2008 and we didn’t/do not today have many bars…hell even Peter’s is shutting down. What were Luna’s and Chiefs? These sound like they were awesome places to go.

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    1. used to live on North Craig right down from those bars. Used to get my beer at the distributor next to Chiefs. Mitchells 1 block down Centre was the more popular place in my day. Electric Banana was around those parts on Bigelow. There also used to be a White Castle nearby for cheap eats.

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  12. ajs32, hard to believe things changed so much in Oakland bar wise. Here are some of the haunts from the old days: Chief’s, Luna, Rudy’s, Haddon Hall, the Keg, Wolfarths, Cozy’s, Coynes (sp?), Sam & Bernies (home of the cat lady). Then there were the more upscale places: Frankie Gustines, Sunny Days, Decades, and there was an Italian place on Forbes. Most places had a liberal policy on IDs, you could tell when the LCB guys were making the rounds as things tightened up.

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    1. The Italian restaurant was Cicero’s, great food for the times. The family also owned the bowling alley across the street. Also the Pitt Tavern, but you had to be twenty one. Mostly an older crowd.

      Off topic but does anyone remember the Atlantic Hofbrau on Liberty in town, great German food, beer and atmosphere. Also, Gammons in East Liberty, my Dad would stop there on his way home from Carnegie Tech.

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    2. Did Sam and Bernie’s become the SOD? Also prior to the WoodenKeg that added Hemingway’s when Gustine’s closed, there was one called Cum Laude.

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    3. LarryV, you are the first to remember Sonny Dayes. Trivia, he was a member of the band that sang “Rock around the clock” Used to love the Spider Rondinelli trio that played there.

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      1. Still remember Spider singing “Is that the earth I see, way out there..”. I believe he wrote that about one of the Apollo missions. I think Eric Kloss would sit in occasionally.

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  13. One of my dad’s good friends played on the baseball team with a one Mike Ditka… apparently a favorite activity of theirs was to strip down to their skivvies, climb out on the ledges of the dorms (which were about six inches wide) 3-4 (or more) stories up, make their way around the building, then climb into other people’s dorm windows and scare the living bejesus out of em.

    Today of course such chicanery would be VERY SERIOUS BUSINESS but the stories all sound like they were just good clean hijinks

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  14. Another favorite of Iron Mike’s was to start fights in bars, then slip out… police would show up, ask who started the fight, everyone would say “Ditka,” cops would ask well where is he, “Oh he isn’t here.” Mike found this HILARIOUS

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  15. Golf outing
    I am likely to be in Ligonier anyway. I want to stop in after the golf.
    Is that possible?
    No food or anything.
    Kman

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  16. there is a famous Ditka baseball story from Aliquippa (allegedly true) that Ditka was playing 3rd base and his brother was in centerfield, and his brother dropped a fly ball in the last inning …. and Ditka immediately chased his brother all the way home

    wwb

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  17. My parent’s were tea-totaled so I only went to Pitt with a few beers under my belt usually warming quarts that were passed around in the car as we 17 year old boys drove around the country side or helping my buddy Denny Difillipo clean up his dads restaurant “ Flavio’s” in Apollo. Didn’t care for the taste of beer.

    Jr year at Pitt I got a job as a bus-boy in the university club where I got to sample a few alcoholic beverages courtesy of the older waitresses and an older career busboy. Frankly, most everything I tasted didn’t sit well with me- that was until I crossed paths with 2 frothy silky smooth drinks- the Pink Squirel and the Grasshopper. Now those were tasty.

    Upon turning 21 and being of legal drinking age off I went to Chiefs with several of my frat bros. I fessed-up to Norm that I was there for my 1st legal drink. ( been there before for illegal beers and grilled cooked salami sammich) “Norm asked “What will you have?” I stood there with my chest all puffed proud of the moment and responded “ Gimme a Pink Squirrel Norm!!!” Norm stared at me for a few seconds which seemed like an enternity then belted out so every so every patron heard “ This isn’t a f# inch cocktail lounge, it’s a working man’s bar!!”

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  18. Bernie, if you still like em let’s make a batch at a tailgate… what the hell is in them? Pepto and vodka?

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  19. BigB, My first job outside of the family painting business was working at The Park Schenley as a busboy. Just turned 16 and drove out there to work.
    I remember they just replaced all the carpet with a beautiful light beige color that had large red designs all over it. One of the waiters screamed “Jimmy mou” (my Jimmy in greek) run get cocktail sauce for this ladies fish”. As I was running down the steps in the middle of the luxurious dining area I tripped and the deep dish full of cocktail sauce went flying and landed right in the middle open area on the new carpet!!!!
    Every waiter in that place was on their hands and knees trying to clean it up. Which was impossible! So we added some more cocktail sauce and made it look like it was part of the red design!!! It worked – actually looked really good! :>)

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  20. Grilled cooked salami
    Lunch meat .. tasted great and fit my budget when at Pitt… I brought venison from home for all to eat .. my Jewish frat brothers loved the homemade pork sausage.. I never knew Jewish until I arrived at PITT.. I was 18 when I discovered bagels !

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  21. Not to get off topic here, but after all Memorial Day was just yesterday. Today I visited with my old buddy HPD. HPD is a Pitt engineering grad who served as a supply officer for General George Patton in WWII. I’ve known him for 36 years; we worked together at Standard Oil in Houston, played a lot of golf together, and have managed to stay in touch since his retirement in 1986. At 98, HPD’s days are obviously numbered and now he is giving his lifetime momentos away. Among todays gifts were his 1949 Owl. Honestly, it looks like it is brand new. The pages still crack when you open the book. I haven’t been through the 430 page tome yet, but I did look at the football pages. Pitt was 6 & 3 that year under Coach Mike Milligan. Players included DePasqua, Cecconi and Skladany. Among the wins were Penn State, West Virginia, Indiana, and Purdue. Losses included SMU, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. No face guards then. Damn those guys were tough.

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  22. The Decade was amazing. It opened after I left Oakland so missed out on the fun. Imagine being on campus when bands like U-2, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Bruce Springsteen, the Ramones, Red Hot Chili Peppers Jon Bon Jovi, played in that little Joint.

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    1. and the Police
      I remember a poster of Joe Pa they had outside that said he was Syrian and NOT Italian. Obviously not PC (but anything goes in those days). Got my attention and a good laugh.

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  23. When I hear those old stories about the Pitt football teams, players and schedules, it convinces me even more that the Pitt football tradition must survive. When Pedo was playing the Little Sisters of the Poor, Pitt was playing a national schedule including USC, UCLA, Oklahoma, OSU, Miami, Texas, SMU and many others. Tradition isn’t only about the wins (although more wins would be nice!). Us old timers must continue to impress upon Heather and the BOT that the tradition means something and must be brought back.

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    1. Tell Heather then to lasso up the Spirit of Pitt Stadium. If tradition meant anything, Pitt would not have razed a historic football venue to build a basketball arena. The Pitt Spirit is longing for a return to campus. Maybe Victory Heights will be the new home.

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  24. BigB, I can hear Norm saying that to you. At Chief’s if you wanted any thing more than a shot and a beer Norm would bring you a shot, a glass of ice, and any mix (if he had It) then you had to make it. I once suggested he do more to entice coeds to the bar and he said all that would do is cause problems, guys would drink less and the chance of fights would increase. He said if you wanted coeds go to the Luna!

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  25. At Pitt from ’76-’80 living in South Oakland. Denny’s on Wednesday, Peter’s on Thursday, and the Wooden Keg or Zelda’s (where the girls were dancing to “Brick House”)for happy hour on Frtday. Friday and Saturday nights were usually keg parties. Thanks for bringing back the memories.

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  26. Spent a lot of time in the Decade – at the corner of Rock and Roll.
    Used to regularly see the Iron City Houserockers, Norm Nardini & the Tigers, The Silencers…

    Graffiti was also a venue we’d go to for music… corner of Baum & Craig.

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  27. JoeL, Norm still plays around town you’ll find him up at MoonDogs once in awhile. The Silencers one of the most under-rated band ever to come from Pittsburgh! Warren King was just that in fact. The King.

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  28. Gravel, one of my all time favorites. Bob Corbin and Dave Hanner. Must have seen them 50 times at Sleepy Hollow and many other places. They played a lot of Hank back in those day’s.

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  29. Great tunes Ike…my girlfriend knew Billy Price back in the day. Was his band the Nighthawks or something similar? hey Bernie, no problem doing a Chief’s tailgate. Its the pink drink that concerns me. Haha. Anyone remember the giant burgers at Henry Henry’s? They were pricey but awesome. Used ground chuck. Early 70’s I think…unless I dreamt it. Apologies for the stream of consciousness post…just woke up.

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  30. Norm Nardin I still plays a couple of gigs a year at the Scottdale Fireman’s club, and still sounded good the last time I heard him .

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  31. This is what I like about POV . As i read frankmd’s and other bios the parallels are amazing. I attended Pitt’s Macadam campus on Cypress Ave. Johnstown for 2 yrs in EE before changing to Business and transferring to Oakland. I worked for the A&P in Moxham section with about 6 other Pitt students and was friends with other Pitt students who worked at the Acme on Central Ave. My senior year 4 of us Johnstown boys rented at the Bellefield from Rebecca Miller( the owner) who while we signed our lease informed us with great pride that she was a ” Baltimore Jew” she was about 80 and wore fine black long dresses and had an old fashioned rollback desk as the center of her office like the 19th century. We loved that place because it was accross the street from The Pitt Pott owned by a Southmont (Johnstown) boy who was a ex GI student . The Luna was just a drunks walk diagonal to Craig St. Still remember the Luna crowd spilling into the Craig/Center intersection following the DEFEAT of PS at the end of the fall 59 season, the Pitchers of beer,Ragtime piano and Dixieland band that alternated at the Pitt Pot and yes my one roomie that we called “our daddy” because he was 28,partied out of his football scollie at Laffiette ,did 4 yrs in the Airborne before coming to Pitt. He also walked a 6″ ledge 6 floors up to enter our apt. from the balcony one night. It is true. We all share more than our love of Pitt football. H2P to all.

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