Here is MarkPT’s recap of his road to Pitt fandom. It’s a great read and Mark wins the secret contest to be the first POVer to use “jagoff” in his story.

Like many POVers, I grew up in southwestern Pennsylvania. My dad was a minor and regional sports fan. As I recall he favored Pitt among college sports teams in football (and Duquesne in basketball) but if Pitt wasn’t playing PSU he would root for PSU against other teams. The three sports teams I recall hearing the most about in Belle Vernon in the early 70s were Pitt, PSU, and Notre Dame.

I can’t remember hearing much about WVU at that time of my youth. I’m guessing that being 10 years old when Johnny Majors and Tony Dorsett got Pitt football on the proverbial map had a lot to do with it, but I developed an affinity for Pitt Sports at an early age despite never having attended a game. I think I developed an aversion for Penn State around the same time.

My tolerance or dislike for other teams largely centers around the head coach of the team, and long before the taint of scandal hit PSU I developed a distaste for JoePa. He always struck me as a bit of a whiner, kind of like the equivalent of Jim Boeheim in college basketball. So at this point of my life (Junior High/High school) I liked Pitt but had only a casual interest.

For my first college experience I went to Alderson Broaddus (College then, University now) in rural West Virginia, about an hour south of Morgantown. It is a tiny school (my graduating class had 144 students) but I loved it and had a fantastic four years. The school at that time was so small that we didn’t have a football team.

Many of my friends adopted WVU as their major college team to root for due to its proximity but I remained true to Pitt. I will confess though that I don’t have the degree of disdain for WVU that I have for PSU. Probably because some of the greatest years of my life were spent in West by God Virginia.

I graduated from the Physician Assistant program at AB in 1984. Physician Assistants weren’t in the demand that they are today and my first job was in correctional medicine in a Medium/Maximum security prison in Hagerstown MD.

The job was very interesting but the administration was horrendous and I got out of there and moved back home and took a job in the Public Health sector in Greensburg in 1985. In this job it became clear that physlcal therapists were in short supply and I decided to return to school for PT. I applied to an Army program at Fort Sam Houston and to Pitt. I had to take the GRE for the Army program and if I had scored 10 points higher on it, I’d probably be retired from a military PT career by now.

 

The Army urged me to retake the GRE and reapply next year, but I got accepted by Pitt so decided I’d go there (a bird in the hand…). That wasn’t quite as simple though as it first seemed though, as Pitt wanted me to take two more prerequisite classes before starting the Pitt PT program in the summer of 1986. I didn’t think that would be a problem but I couldn’t find the classes offered anywhere as my acceptance came in February and the PT program was due to start in June.

I put in a call to the Dean of Education at my alma mater Alderson Broaddus (it’s a little easier to do that at a school of about 1000) and he said he would see what he could do. I hadn’t heard from him and the acceptance deadline at Pitt had come so I called Pitt and told them that I had to decline as I couldn’t get the prerequisite classes scheduled that they required. Three days later I got a call from Dean Digman at AB saying that he was able to set up independent studies for me for the classes that I needed! I called Pitt back and they had just had a student decline admission and I was given their spot.

After 6 more weeks back at AB, I finished there on a Friday and started the following Monday at the University of Pittsburgh!

Due to the prevalence of sports injuries, athletes are often drawn to a career in PT, and Pitt athletics was well represented in my class, which included Chuckie Scales from the football team, Joey David from the basketball team, and Tony Salesi, who was already an athletic trainer for Pitt Basketball. I attended Pitt during the Mike Gottfried/John Congemi era, which was a pretty good time for Pitt football. I was a commuter student so I didn’t go to games regularly at the time but most remember attending those ESPN weeknight games after classes with some of my PT classmates.

As an alum , my fandom for Pitt increased but still hadn’t reached the zeal I have today. Raising a family during that time took precedence so I watched the Panthers on TV regularly but maybe attended five games over the next 20 years.

I have some coworkers who had season tickets for Pitt FB and began to think about getting them someday. I mentioned earlier that I seem to like or dislike a team based on the personality of the HC, so it is ironic that when tickets next to a couple of friends/coworkers opened up, I decided to take them, suckered in by jag-off Todd Graham’s promise of “Speed, Speed, Speed”.

I know that a poor college game day experience is often cited at Pitt, but I immediately loved it and now look forward to games with the same zeal that I looked forward to Belle Vernon Kennywood Community Picnic days as a kid. (even more so now thanks to Fran’s POV tailgates!)

I’ve gotten to know some of the other season ticket holders sitting around me and they serve as a reminder of how it is a small world. The people sitting on my left live within walking distance of where I grew up, and the father of that group went to high school with my father. The friend on the other side of me played baseball at Pitt with our very own Upitt!

It’s funny how your athletic fandom can become imprinted on your kids. My younger son became a Pitt fan, graduating from Pitt in 2015 with a degree in Computer Engineering. Funny he is not as strong a Pitt fan as I am but seems to have a worse loathing for PSU (and WVU).

So that about sums up my Pitt story. They say confession is good for the soul, and huh…I do feel better! The POV blog and tailgates have greatly enhanced my Pitt athletic interest and I thank Reed and all of you for that. Hail to Pitt!

58 thoughts on “My Name is Mark… and I’m a Pitt fan

  1. Reed.. Mark is “PittPT “ when he posts.

    Another great story from another true Pitt fan! See you at the Penn State tailgait Mark.

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  2. Joey David, there is a blast from the past! Was my first favorite athlete. Was always partial to his coach Dr Roy Chipman also, we share a unique birthmark. I have a random blonde patch in my hair that I took some crap for as a kid. I used to have 2 hair colors, brown and blonde, now I have 3, brown, blonde, and gray…

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  3. Thanks Mark for yet another interesting bio. PT is a very lucrative field these days. I dated a girl who was was in the grad program at WVU back in the early 90s.

    Sadly, your son not being a big Pitt fan is probably very typical.

    Joey David is the long time BB coach at Mt Lebanon.

    wwb

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    1. I believe the fact that all 3 are northeastern schools where high school FB talent has been dwindling would be a big factor. The NFL pretty much dominates Northeast FB, except of course for the Dairy School with its large alumni base

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  4. PittPT – Thanks for writing. Enjoyed the read. I too attended Pitt as a grad student. Attending Pitt as grad student is not the same experience as an undergrad. I knew Hillman Library better than I knew the bars of Oakland. – Hobie

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  5. Went golfing yesterday with Mikey the Nitter. About the only good thing is he played worse than me! The state of Pitt football was actually a surprise to both of us. We thought Franklin was a windbag who could recruit but not coach. And that the Duzz was someone who could be the next big thing.
    I’m more optimistic about this years team than most, but it’s becoming pretty clear the national guys and most outsiders do not think much of this years squad. Also, from what I’ve read I’m not real excited about any of the kids visiting the school this month. Really a bunch of mehs! For the first time since his arrival I may need talked off the ledge with the Duzz ability to recruit. I’ve tried to ignore the stories I’ve heard but he’s gonna have to rally quickly or it could spell big time problems.

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  6. Mark – excellent job! Enjoyed reading of your journey – via WV, of all places – to Pitt fandom.

    I’ve worked with and become friends with some truly outstanding West Virginians. It’s a shame that a faction of really crude and obnoxious fans taints the WVU image…

    Hail to Pitt!

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  7. Mark, really good stuff, we certainly need more non-Pitt Alums or Pitt Grad Student Fans. I have great friends from Belle Vernon and also from WV and WVU, the panhandle was part of my work territory. I remember how much fun it was to go to games in Morgantown before it got really ugly. It does show how a minority can create the image of a group. Bunch of Jagoffs.

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  8. So we are last in all sports, there it is in black and white. So this is the hand that Heather was dealt. Obviously most here care most about football, but it is time for a gut check of the BOT. Is this who we are?
    Bottom Feeders?

    I am still hoping for the best, but this may be the year Narduzzi starts feeling the heat. As Reed asked me off-line, when is the last good news you heard about Pitt Football? Capel got off to a great start, but he seems to have cooled down. We won’t win many games with all guards.

    It is all about recruiting. The best teams recruit the best players. The best players win.

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  9. The best looking women I ever met at Pitt was a PT student. Her name was Virtue. A friend introduced me in the Nursing cafeteria in 1973, and I could not speak. I always though about her lucky patients.

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  10. It takes awhile, you wouln’t think it would, but it does…but when Heather brings back the uni’s and colors we all want, she will live in Pitt lore forever…

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  11. GC, so some patients had a Virtue? Sorry about that…
    Thanks Mark. Good stuff. Scooter is a P.A. can’t recall if he went to AB also. Are you able to make the golf outing?

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  12. Thanks for the kind comments all, and for those who haven’t submitted a bio yet, it really is fun to take a look back. Fran, I would love to come to the golf outing but I’ll be on my way to summer vacation that day.

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  13. I think Mark mentioned he will be boarding a plane to the Bahama mama’s that weekend.

    Hey Fran, is Scooter coming out?

    PITT’s recruiting class will be strong. The next couple weekends are filled with visits. Remain calm and stay away from the exits while we are still a few miles away from the landing..

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  14. A little heads up, PITT is getting a visit from a young man who plays DE for Jeannette, Anthony Johnson. I read about the visit on PSN. I say plays for Jeannette because I don’t think he’s originally from there? (Pryor wasn’t either) 6’5″ and plenty an athlete. Led the basketball team and in just one year playing football dominated. PITT needs to take a flyer on this young man. … and oh…. he’s also a cousin of Paris Ford and friends with Damar Hamlin. I’ve been distantly following AJ and he may be a real sleeper.

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    1. Ike if Johnson isn’t a 4 or 5 star most posting here aren’t too interested in taking any flyer on a recruit.—-Nice write up Mark. I think you will be enjoying this football season if Pickett stays healthy.

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  15. Nice story Mark. I laughed out loud at the title “My name is Mark…and I’m a Pitt fan”. Sounded like an intro at an AA meeting. Don’t know if that was intentional, but the metaphor works.

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  16. ike, these are the type of players I previously wrote about. Pitt must continue to capture a large number of these recruits that are below the radar, either started late or were recovering from injuries. Pitt should be all over this guy, and should have watched him play many times since he is local. These types of recruits give us hope and are to be expected. Still needed, however, are a fair share of the 4 star recruits that everyone wants. When Narduzzi stars announcing some 4 stars, then I’ll get excited. At my age, recruiting is the Virtue I’m looking for…

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  17. Watching the NCAA golf, Pitt ought to take over the management of Schenley, get corporate sponsorship to make a great Muni and compete in the ACC. Get the great Country Clubs to host the matches. A great municipal course in the middle of the city would be a great asset as would competitive golf teams at Pitt and CMU.

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  18. gc..Virtue graduated with me…small world ain’t it. Me, you, Ed Fink and Virtue…the only 2 who haven’t met face to face are the 2 on the POV !!! We still have PT class reunions and I see Virtudes every once in awhile. Still a beauty.

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  19. I also wanted to mention that I did hear from some old friends and other readers of the POV.

    So keep those Bios coming, fun reads and reconnections.

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  20. gc… what can I say… there is only one Virtue… I told her how to get on the POV and what a great place to reminisce ( especially with these bios)and great fun and new friends I have made during this later in life journey… last week or 2 has been like being back in school…I hope Virtue chirps in..how she got your email is beyond me… maybe she works for the DOJ….

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    1. BigB, Iposted my email so that old friends who read my bio could talk off line. She turned out to be an amazing woman. I’ll tell you more when I see you.

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  21. C’mon. The over/under won lost record prediction to be pointed out is a losing mindset. I would hate if PITT was projected to go undefeated this year. I’m starting to get a feeling about this defense and how it won’t be so conventional in design and takes advantage of the players they have recruited the past few years and now have on the roster.

    Putting all our eggs in the Pickett basket. (get it) may not be the best idea and this entire PITT football season may come down to?? ………………. Reeds final chapter in the Ricky Town saga? Can’t wait! ike

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  22. We gotta hope there are no Yogis on our opponents D who will still the Picket basket away from us. Where’s Ranger Smith when you need him? Maybe BooBoo is all the help we will neeed…….but I regress..,,,

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  23. Well done, Jim. I had a picture of Yogi Bear in my head when Ike mentioned the Pickett basket but couldn’t figure out how to work it into a comment .

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  24. Mark, nice story. These articles are a great idea and would recommend that Reed have drop down box that reads : “About Us” and under that would be a link to everyone’s bio. Reading these brings me to the conclusion that all of you aren’t jackwagons, you just type that way! Seriously, these bio’s accentuate the facts that it is the medium we use that can be the issue, not the people. For the most part……

    I will take all 3 stars and 4 four stars for a recruiting class this year. Without question!

    @GC – I mentioned the wind out of the sails with Capel a few weeks ago. Hopefully he can get one more re-classification to this year. That would be solid. I think that there may be 2 players left that could re-classify to 2018 that would be helpful this year.

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  25. I think there is a 6’6″ or 6’7″ that may re-classify. I thought he was going to be on campus this weekend, maybe not. Last I heard though was that there are two potential re-class guys. If he can’t land them, I would go without this year in order to keep balance with recruiting numbers for next year and beyond.

    Stallings bringing in 7 or 8 new recruits crushes future year recruiting numbers unless of course, the head coach has the talk. Seems many on here are against the headcoaches in both sports having the talk with non-contributors early. I think that is one area we may be getting better at, which I wholeheartedly agree with. Why have a kid practice, practice and practice, knowing he will never play. Have the talk early and move him out to open new schollie opportunities.

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