This bio is from Mike Buncher (Mitt72) who is a regular reader but infrequent commenter.  His is a more simple story than some but the theme remains the same; Pitt changed his life. I love the part about what his Mother did so that Mike could attend Pitt.  We tend to forget what our parents did for us… but then somehow we do the exact same things for our children.  Mike’s Mom was of the generation who would do whatever it took to ensure their children had better lives than they had.

I’m 68 years old, born and raised in Pittsburgh. My grandparents emigrated from Poland and started a family in the Squirrel Hill section of the city back in the 1920’s. My grandfather supported them by working as a baker while my grandmother, a homemaker, cared for their three children.

Image result for taylor allderdiceMy mom went to Taylor Allderdice high school along with her two brothers; the same high school I attended some twenty years later. When they graduated from high school they found jobs, got married and started families of their own.

No one from my family had gone to college and aside from my doctor I don’t think I even knew a college graduate while I was growing up.  But my mom had a dream for her kids.

She told me, more times than I care to remember, “You are going to college,” and while I pushed back and tried to convince her otherwise I could tell there just was no way I was going to win that argument.

I had two initiations to Pitt football. The first came at around age eight. Our Cub Scout troop received tickets to see Pitt play. I don’t remember who we played; I just remember being amazed by the spectacle of a college football game and amazed by the excitement, the size of Pitt Stadium and the roar of the crowd. I was hooked.

My next connection came a few years late when I was around age 11. My mom had remarried and our blended family moved to Stanton Heights where I started in a new school and was unhappy about the move and all the adjustments it took. Gym class was the one place I felt comfortable because I loved playing sports. It was my gym teacher, Mr. Adams (Henry Adams) who made me forget my school problems, reintroduced me to Pitt football and made me a fan forever.

He told our class of about 30 or so 11-year-old boys that he had played football at Pitt. He said he was the starting center on the Pitt football team that went to, and won, the 1937 Rose Bowl. He mentioned this quietly without fanfare or bravado. And he never even mentioned that he had played football professionally for a year with the Chicago Cardinals after college.

Wow” I thought! We had a real live football player as our teacher. After that introduction I felt lucky to be in my new school and I shared a bond with the other guys in my class regarding Mr. Adams. From that point on Pitt was going to be it for me.

Some years later when it came time for me to go to college my mom made good on her promise to me. We didn’t have much money but she learned that I could attend Pitt for free if she got a job at the university. So while I was in high school my mom started working at Pitt as a secretary at The Graduate School for Public and International Affairs so I could go to college for free. Even my books were discounted.

Image result for pittsburgh steel millsOf course Pittsburgh was quite a different city when I started Pitt in 1968 and Pitt was quite a different school. Pittsburgh was a steel mill town; a shot and a beer town and a town of immigrant families. It was a town devoted to the Pirates and the Steelers and I loved them both. Reflecting the community and the times Pitt was a much more basic and bare bones university than it is today.

So my choices for college were Pitt and Pitt. When I entered Schenley Hall for my college interview I was nervous so I stopped for a moment to glance at the Cathedral of Learning. The sight of it looming so close made me stop me in my tracks and I said to myself: “This place is going to be important for me.” and it surely has been.

I graduated from Pitt in 1972 and went straight into Duquesne law school graduating from there in 1975. Like so many others who have said the same Pitt made all the difference in my life. The University gave me a way forward that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible for my family just as it has for countless thousands of other families with modest means.

My daughter has graduated from Pitt also and obtained an MBA degree. My son, after graduating from a different school, worked at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health and then went on to become a physician.

These are life-changing accomplishments for both myself and my family and Pitt has been central to them all… and I am deeply grateful for that.

100 thoughts on “How I Became a Pitt Fan – Mitt72

  1. Thanks for sharing your story Mike. My dad’s family settled in Stanton Heights. I lived there on 2 separate occasions. We went to Pitt the same years. Would love to talk about our shared experiences sometime. That’s what makes this site so cool… thanks to Reed for making all this happen. Can’t wait for the golf outing.


  2. Mitt 72 – Thanks for sharing your story with us. Amen to Pitt being central to future accomplishments. It’s why I say H2P. – Hobie


  3. Great story Mike… our lives paralleled.. I was raised in a working class family and was the 1st to go to college…


  4. Mike, great story. My parents told me the same thing “you are going to college”. I think our parents knew back then that the only way to get ahead was to get a college education.


  5. When we passed through the Squirrel Hill Tunnel on Sunday’s heading back to school my guts would start to tighten..I was out of my element in the city..I wanted to quit Pitt and work in the mill with my Dad..when I told him that I wanted to go back to Woodings Tool Works the seen reply was Hell NO. someone in this family is getting s college education and it’s going to be you!” There was no talking back to Big Sherm(as I called him) I really am Sherman Jr, literally named after William Tecumseh Sherman…

    I was blessed to be around unselfish and caring people with strong work ethics.


  6. Mike, another great Pitt story.

    It seems a bunch of us graduated in 1972. Certainly in that era.
    I remember parking my jalopy behind Dawson St. while attending summer school
    to make up for a couple dropped classes, and the car turned orange from the sulfur dust
    from J&L. Pittsburgh is no longer a shot and a beer steel town.


  7. Here is an email I received from a reader who has never commented but I though I’d share his thoughts (strong thoughts) about the state of the program today.


    I am writing to you since you are the most realistic of all the Pitt Sports Blogs I have read.

    I am Pitt Grad 1969 and have had football season tickets since 1967. This season will be my 51st.My wife (also a Pitt Grad) has had season tickets since 1973.
    In the early days, I would take my family on vacation to Edinboro when Pitt would hold their fall camp.I also traveled to West Liberty College for camp.My wife and I attended the 1976 Sugar Bowl Champion game.

    I say this so that you will know I am a true Pitt fan.

    I attended this years spring game at Heinz Field.  I saw a fairly decent defense, however, the offense looked terrible. The offensive line was a sieve.  The tight ends are offensive linemen masquerading as receivers. The receivers could not catch the ball nor gain any separation and the running backs were average at best. The only bright spots I saw on offense were the quarterback and fullback.

    I had hoped that PN’s 4th year would have the program further along. I see another 5-7 or 6-6 year. I feel that Pitt is the Same Old Pitt due to PN’s mediocre recruiting which is trending downward.

    Just recently one of the best offensive lineman in the WPIAL (Andrew Kristotic) from Pine Richland committed to Notre Dame. His football coach and his dad both played for Pitt!!  How can PN justify this?? I keep on hearing how great a relationship PN has with the local high school coaches, however, every year the best local recruits are not signing with Pitt.

    Year after year the only way to see the best high school players in Western PA is to go to their high school games or watch them playing for Notre Dame, PSU or Ohio State.  What is the problem?

    The elephant in the room that the Pitt administration will not acknowledge is that the local fans, high school coaches and recruits do not see a commitment from the Pitt administration.  Everyone knows that Pitt needs an On Campus Stadium. Watching Pitt at Heinz Field lacks the atmosphere of a real college game.

    Companies purchase seats so the tickets are sold but the seats are empty – they can’t even give them away. I don’t think it’s solely PN’s fault because it is almost impossible to recruit with all those empty seats and the lack of a real game day experience which we usually experienced at Pitt Stadium.

    That old adage “if they win people will come” does not hold true.Everyone except the local radio pundits agree that knocking down Pitt Stadium was a horrible idea.

    Time and time again, PN has missed out on the best local recruits – Sanders, Wade, Jeter, Raines, Banks, etc. When you can’t get the majority of the best local recruits, you certainly are not going to get 4 or 5 star players from out of state.

    Pitt’s recruiting area is very limited, – Butler to the North, Altoona/Johnstown to the East, Youngstown/Steubenville to the West and Uniontown to the South. Even though most Pitt fans don’t want to admit it PSU owns the rest of the state. Notre Dame, Ohio State and now West Virginia come in every year and cherry pick the best local recruits. To be successful and to put fans in the seats, the best local recruits need to come to Pitt.

    Numerous times I have called the local radio stations to discuss the feasibility and necessity of an On Campus Stadium.  Every time it’s the same – no room, no parking, too costly, etc.  Most times I am cut off or ridiculed for bringing up the OCS (especially by Ron Cooke). Pitt fans should realize that the local sports commentators only mimic whatever Pitt’s sport information gives to them.

    Pitt fans should know that Cooke, Zeise, etc. are only talking heads.  Court jesters in front of microphones.  They are not urban planners, traffic engineers, or architects and have no knowledge of what it would take to build an OCS in Oakland.

    To paraphrase Chris Peak from Panther Lair “it doesn’t matter how many top recruits you offer it only counts if you get them to sign”.  So far PN has lots of offers with very few results because he is recruiting with one hand tied behind his back.  Remember Majors and Sherril got many great football players to come to Pitt while playing “in that old dump” (Ron Cooke).  Lou Saban could not recruit under the existing conditions at Pitt.

    Different coaches, different athletic directors but same old results.  Bobbleheads, cans of pop and Sweet Caroline are not going to save the football program.

    The athletic director’s VICTORY HILL has to include an ON CAMPUS STADIUM.

    Class of 1969


  8. The picture of Alderdice H.S. brought back memories of sharing an apartment on Beechwood Blvd. After a Steeler’s game, my apartment mate’s son and I climbed the fence around the football field to try kicking field goals. Hadn’t thought about that in years. – Hobie


  9. PittGrad69…my head and many others have come out of the sand…we aren’t recruiting or at least that what the results say.


  10. That is an extremely well written passionate piece by a guy who is unfortunately in a very small cohort.
    Hence the problem, not enough people are passionate enough to make an OCS happen. Unless a guy like David Tepper decides he wants to make it happen it just won’t.

    I agree with everything that he says, but am resigned to the fact that there won’t be an OCS in my lifetime.
    A Go Fund Me site wouldn’t raise a million dollars, let alone the political will to make it happen.

    I am also not willing to give Narduzzi a pass because of the yellow seats. Wanny was able to recruit, so it can be done. Even if a decision was made to build an OCS today, it would take 10 years to achieve, so do we just give up till then?


  11. I’m one of if not the biggest Dave Wannstedt fan. I realize it’s apples and oranges and just saying. DW’s regular season record after 3 years was 16-19 while Narduzzi’s regular season record same 3 years is 21-19. I get the the fact we are mostly talking about the previous head coaches recruits in both instances were the primary the factors in the record. My point being, it takes a good 3 1/2 years going into the fourth to judge a coaches recruiting. Everyone talks about Wanny’s recruiting abilities with me included in hindsight as being exceptional. Yet Narduzzi is being judged before most of his recruits have hit the field.

    To be clear here… I am not lauding Narduzzi’s recruiting to this point, far from it. Just saying it’s at least one year away for me to act as if I have any idea about how his recruiting has been. PITT is a 3* recruit football team by in large and 3* recruits rarly make an impact before 3 years. Maybe that’s how they came up with those silly rankings in the first place? ike


    1. Hell Ike – look at who DW recruited in his first three years at Pitt – star players galore and that pushed those later wins.

      Even some of DW’s 2* and 3* kids became “star” players for us –

      Dickerson, Byham, Malecki, Jacobsen, McCoy, Sheard, Berry, Pinkston, Romeus, Otah…and that’s just the 2006 class.

      we had seen exactly zero ‘star’ recruits committ to Pat Narduzzi to play at Pitt in his four years of recruiting. Not one so far has broken into stardom – maybe Pickett will or maybe Ford will but so far…or his own recruits…not one.


  12. Ike, what concerns me – missing out on kids who’s Dad and or coaches were former Panthers…I am along for the ride and hoping Heather is “on top of this.”


  13. In my many conversations with people both at Pitt and in the city Gov’t (old school friends) I have a firm belief that Pittsburgh will never allow an on-campus stadium to be built in Oakland. it just won’t ever happen. Also I know the president of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Meg cheever, and have talked about Schenley Park as a possible site – the trusts that PPC hold are irrevocable and will never be used for anything but parkland especially in Flagstaff and the area around there.

    The Schenley Park golf course – if it ever closes- reverts back to parkland and can’t be used either.

    Now, if Pitt was smart there have been many parcels of land they could have bought elsewhere on the east side of the rivers to built a new Pitt stadium but those are going fast.

    Pitt’s “campus” as we knew it is no longer confined to Oakland as it was back in the earlier days. The vast majority of students don’t even live in Oakland but have moved into Bloomfield, Squirrel Hill (all the way up to Forbes and Murray and all of Wilkens Ave now)…East Liberty and Lawrenceville – Pittsburgh has changed dramatically and while the University bldgs still are mostly in Oakland the students aren’t.

    The romantic vision of having a ‘new’ Pitt stadium is dead folks – The bold fact is that no one save a few die-hard Pitt fans wants one – there is literally no interest among the citizens of Pittsburgh or the gov’t to do so.

    Beside many Pitt fans do like Heinz Field as I do and feel that it is fine for the type and size program we have.


  14. Those Pine-Richland snob kids don’t concern me much but the loss of Kwantel Raines did. Even the few PCC white boys would rather sit on the bench at ND. I can’t how PITT can stop that. Narduzzi has a better idea and prefers to exact his energies elsewhere. Like down south. Big weekend coming up mid June.


  15. He could have stopped that by cultivating close and real personal ties with the local HS coaches but he hasn’t done that and its too late at this point. It is like he thinks he and the Pitt program are something super special and if you don’t show interest to his satisfaction he gives up.

    You make it sound like kids and their parents can’t have their minds changed and that just isn’t true – DW got good players to flip all the time. All good HCs do that.

    He’s whiffing on not only local star HS players but just about all that we have offered and had staffers visited – that shows by his lack of getting 4* and 5* out of state kids to come to Pitt on official visits – which are where the ‘closing’ for commitment is really done.


  16. Look at the official visit Lists: in 2006 alone DW got 44 kids to take official visits…

    DW had 11 4*s kids visit in 2006 and signed 7 of them.

    In 2007 DW had nine 4*s visit and signed 6.

    In 2018 PN has one 4*s visit and signed 1.

    In 2017 PN had five 4*s vist and signed 3.


  17. What turned me on Narduzzi’s ability to recruit was after the great offensive performance under Canada, he didn’t leverage that into a stellar recruiting class. He gained no momentum from that. I also thought the extremely poor performance at Navy, when he had the fans solidly behind him took an a large portion of the air out of the bubble. His early success on the field did raise expectations but his recruiting has been very average, and doesn’t seem to be improving. I also think all of the early hype with the Pat signals also raised expectations and now has fallen flat. He just doesn’t seem to be a closer.


  18. “The bold fact is that no one save a few die-hard Pitt fans wants one” is COMPLETELY untrue.

    If your statement was meant to be that not enough care enough, I agree wholeheartedly. But, I can tell you this- out of Pitt fans who go to games, nearly 75% of the people I’ve spoken to who prefer to be on campus, provided there was sufficient parking options. And, my son and his friends (currently students at Pitt) overwhelmingly would prefer walking to games and the added buzz around campus that an OCS would bring.

    Is it too expensive? Maybe. Is it lacking institutional support at Pitt? Obviously. Is it lacking governmental support? You say it is and I believe you.

    But, to say that equates to people not “wanting” it is not true. In a perfect world where a white knight donor was able to purchase the necessary ground and build the stadium, it would be very warmly welcomed by the majority of fans over 40 and the current student body. Only those whose experiences are limited to Heinz Field Saturdays would ever claim they don’t want an OCS.. and that’s the same group that didn’t care about PSU (because they never experienced the rivalry) but sure hate them now like the rest of us.

    An OCS is good for building the school spirit we all know is lacking and is necessary to build sustainable winning programs. It appears the Lyke is making strides toward holding coaches accountable for winning and the Petersen Sports complex for baseball, softball and soccer is a step in improving facilities.

    Nothing is impossible but those things we convince are selves are impossible. Maybe it’s not possible now but with the right pressure from the right people, anything can happen. I don’t believe it will because too many Pitt fans accepted mediocrity long ago but it’s not impossible.

    Like my Dad always said to me, “Don’t tell me you ‘can’t’ do something. You can’t fly and you can’t live forever. Everything else is a choice.”


  19. I really do not care who PITT offers and don’t care who visits. I care a little more who commits and then…. even more how they play on the field under Narduzzi’s coaching. Seriously. That’s all I care about. If they are also good boys and don’t get into too much trouble would be great as well. Not a prerequisite of mine. I have Reed to worry about that.


  20. Mike — Mitt72, thank you for sharing your journey to PITT and Pitt fandom. Enjoyed it. I graduated from PITT in ‘71.

    Thanks also to the Classof69 post. Agree completely that Coach Duzz has one arm tied in recruiting. Try this: put yourself in the place of a big-time high school football recruit. Then go to a random game at ND; then go to a random game at PITT. See which school’s game-day experience gets you more excited…

    Hail to Pitt.


  21. I have heard that the new exclusive “PITT” stadium may be exactly where it sits today. Right on the north shore. We’re years away from that though…


  22. I don’t know why a multi purpose venue cannot be part of victory heights. Pitt owns the land. It would be far easier to raise money for it if football was part of it

    The trend is towards smaller stadiums. The viewing experience is just so much better at home. So build a venue that one wants to attend for a special experience. Something so unique that it gets people off their sofas and away from their TVs and computers.

    I don’t think raising $250 million over five years is too much to ask. Public and private donations. And it would be victory heights. Homes to more than one program. Offices, classrooms, maybe dorms, retail. A facility that students, businesses and the community can use 365 days a year.

    Our annual welfare check from the ACC will be $40 million alone in a few years once the ACC network starts.

    It can be done. Let wanny and Marino be the fundraising chairs.

    Heinz is just too big. Terrible atmosphere. The recruits pick up on it. The parents know Pitt isn’t committed to sports by being a renter.

    So land is not an issue. See OC lot. And money can be found.

    Build a venue for how sports will be played and watched twenty years from now. That to me means smaller stadiums, more technology, a home type experience, and a way to physically take part in traditions on campus that you just can’t do at home.



  23. A couple people above wrote about how great Wanny could recruit…but if he played Nard’s ACC schedule, how many games does the ‘stache win? We are currently playing five ranked teams a year and the Wannasouras lost regularly to the likes of UConn, South Florida, and Rutgers. I was a student during the Wanny era and only got to see one bowl game but many bowel games indeed. I believe we are looking at the Wanny era with blue and gold shaded glass


    1. Absolutely. Narduzzi’s record has been against much stronger competition than staches. The vitriol towards Narduzzi on this board is misguided.


  24. And to say Heinz is good for Pitts needs is like saying ketchup is a good sauce for my meatballs.

    During the height of Pitt football in the early 80’s, the avg attendance was 52k. That was when Pitt was a national power and Pittsburgh was a much bigger city.

    So why is pitt playing in a 70k stadium?



  25. I can’t tell you all how many times I looked on Google maps and sized up Gesling Stadium. It’s surrounded by one smaller building and a larger one but they both can still be built over. Tepper likes PITT and CMU. These two schools need to work a lot more together. You move the track and share all facilities and PITT may find a new home right next door.


  26. I would build a venue of 40-45k. Pitt only averaged 36k last year. Nearly 24k yellow seats that every parent, recruit and TV viewer saw. A 45k venue would be at 100 percent capacity in most years. Since the move to Heinz, Pitt is at roughly 60 percent capacity. That’s one of the worst figures among all college programs. Am I the only one that sees a problem. And winning will only bring attendance back to sherrill levels if we’re lucky. So start the fundraising campaign for victory heights. Include a multi purpose venue as a component. And Pitt football can have a new home in 5-7 years. At that time the steelers will be building their new domed stadium in Washington county.


    Liked by 1 person

  27. My math is off 32k yellow seats. Crap it’s even worse than I thought. Basically half fans in blue or yellow and the other half as seats impersonating fans.


  28. Think about it this way
    You sell someone on a new venue by providing them with a new experience and a better experience than the one at home

    Can you enjoy the smells of the tailgating at home?
    Can you participate in fun game day traditions at home?
    Can you high five and hug a fan in front and behind you after a Pitt score at home? A person you’d probably never met before now becomes a new friend.
    Can you hear what the fans yell about our bum of a coach or other crass and snide comments while at home?
    Can you yell hard enough that your lungs catch fire and you’re in need of a throat transplant after the game while you’re at home?
    More importantly can any yell at home impact the game? Your noise isn’t being heard.
    Can you share a campus experience with loved ones at home?
    Memories are created on campus



  29. Besides the OCS, the major reason Pitt FB coaches cannot recruit locally, is that local HS coaches are most loyal to their players, and these coaches know that there is a long history of lack of commitment by the Pitt administration to winning. They will accurately and honestly tell their players (even the Pitt grad coaches) that they can expect a decent 50-50 win/loss record with an occasional small bowl game at Pitt. Average local players will accept that, but the good ones, like WR Foster, will accept a bench seat and maybe one year of starting at a major program in exchange for being part of a winning program and atmosphere. Building the OCS could change that entire dynamic and start the local coaches selling their top players on Pitt again.


  30. It would be great for someone to interview Foster, and ask him how and why he made his decision, and does he have any regrets. Would he have preferred the Boyd scenario vs. his own situation?


  31. UConn, USF and Rutgers were ALL top 25 teams during the Wannstedt era. The fallacy of a “bad” Big East has already been discussed here.

    And Pitt hasn’t played as great a schedule as some believe..Here’s the ranked teams we’ve played an how we’ve fared with and since Wannstedt..

    2005- (2) #25 Louisville L; #11 WVU L
    2006- (3) #15 Rutgers L; #10 WVU L; #8 Louisville L
    2007- (2) #23 Cincinnati W; #2 WVU W
    2008- (3) #10 USF W; #19 Cincinnati L; #24 Oregon St L (Bowl)
    2009- (1) #5 Cincinnati L
    2010- (2) #24 Utah L; #19 Miami L

    Wannstedt – 3-8

    2011- (2) #14 USF W; #22 Cincinnati L

    Graham- 1-1

    2012- (4) #13 VT W; #18 Louisville L; #ND 3 L; #19 Rutgers W
    2013- (3) #11 FSU L; #24 Va Tech L; #24 ND L
    2014- (1) #24 Duke L

    Chryst- 2-6

    2015- (2) #5 ND L; #21 Navy L (Bowl)
    2016- (1) #25 VT L; #3 Clemson W
    2017- (4) #4 PSU L; #9 Ok St L; #20 NC St L; #2 Miami W

    Narduzzi- 2-7

    Stats alone don’t tell the whole story but the narrative that the ACC Coastal is so much better than the Big East just isn’t true. The ACC’s strength has come from the Atlantic in every year of Pitt’s membership.


    1. Jay, those rankings are at the time we played them. For example … in 2016 PSU was not ranked when we played them yet finished 7th. (Ok St finished 11h) Pre-season rankings are a joke and distort everything.


      1. Well, do the research for year end rankings and you’ll find it doesn’t change much. And, THE REST OF THE WORLD considers record versus Top 25 by using the rank at the time of the game.

        Are you saying Pitt’s win versus Miami wasn’t us knocking off a #2 beacuse they finished ranked #13? Would you say Pitt beat #2 Miami or #13 Miami?????

        Because… They finished #13.


        1. In Narduzzi’s 3 years, Pitt played 14 teams that finished ranked. 4 in 2015, 5 in 2016 and 2017.

          And rankings towards the end of the year are always more pertinent than the beginning of the year


          Liked by 1 person

  32. No doubt the vast majority of Pitt Fans would prefer an OCS if it had all the amenities. Most people would prefer to live in a nicer house or neighborhood, it is kind of irrelevant. If we had a 40 -45,000 seat stadium with all the amenities and a bad football team it would still be empty. If we had a successful team, we would play games at Heinz anyway, when ND, PSU, WVU FLST or Clemson came, we would give up home field advantage.

    Pitt needs to embrace that it is a city school and sell those advantages and differences to Football players.

    We learned this year and last what a poor performance does to attendance with out BBall program.

    Pitt needs to figure out how to fill the lower bowl in Heinz to create a better atmosphere.

    If an OCS is ever to be built, it will be when there is sufficient demand to make it happen.


  33. Tex – many good points in your comments. You should talk to Richman and arrange a sit-down with Heather to discuss your ideas.

    I’m serious.

    Go Pitt.


  34. 75% of fans attending a Pitt home game is a very very select sample. There is no interest for a Pitt stadium in Oakland across the board except for a maybe 20 thousand it fans and that isn’t enough to swing a project like Pitt Stadium.

    How many of those pitt fans are going to buy into a bond or going to donate money for Pitt Stadium?This is what’s happening folks Pitt doesn’t have the money to spend on it and they won’t, and the city’s not going to chip in because they don’t care.

    it’s not going to be revenue-producing and it’s not going to be zoned for that by the city … it just isn’t going to be happening.

    We have been talking about this since the move to Heinz and that is almost 20 years ago soon. There is a reason that the Chancellor and both ADs said when they were first asked about a new Pitt stadium “That is so far down the list of priorities at Pitt…” that is an a most exact quote from the chancellor and both ADs mirrored it.

    One more thing, I know some of the very big donors to the university, not the athletic department but the university, and they are adamantly opposed to any kind of a stadium in Oakland and if they’re waving that many millions of dollars donation yearly in front of Pitt and saying ‘this is what your risking’ then you know Piit’s not going to take that chance.

    Take that FWIW but I’ll say right now we will never see a new football, or huge mixed use venue, built on Oakland proper, Panther Hollow or any Pgh parkland.


    1. but why cant a multi purpose venue be part of victory heights. Heather already wants to raze the fieldhouse and make a parking garage out of it. She wants to build athletic offices, and a 3000 seat venue with AC for gymnastics, volleyball and wrestling. Trees needs to be imploded since its outlived its life and puts pitt at a competitive disadvantage and is a costly maintenance headache. The land is there on the OC lot. Pitt owns it. The footprint for a 45k tiered venue is not that large. It could also make the victory heights initiative easier to sell.

      The ACC wants Pitt to do this as well. What other ACC school plays in a 70 year old facility without AC that 3 sports programs call their home???

      if football continues to play at Heinz, there will be a yellow seats problems. This most definitely impacts recruiting and detracts from the game day experience. And recruiting impacts winning. Heinz offers Pitt no competitive advantage.

      And heinz wont be around forever. Its already outdated. Owners are scrambling to draw fans back to the stadium for games. The viewing experience is just so much better at home. It will take smaller and not larger stadiums. It will take more technology and viewing options. It will take convincing fans that ‘smellavision’ doenst exist on your TV today. Heck one of the best things about attending is the smells from all the tailgating. And then of course the things you see, do and hear while only physically being at a game.

      does the land exist? check (OC lot)
      can fundraising help cover the costs? check

      comes down to who you want to lead the fundraising campaign. My picks are Wanny, Marino and some other high profile community leaders
      you arent dependent on Pitt academic donors to support this community project
      I figure if 25% of the funds could be earmarked from private and public donations (future commitments), the project would be easily green-lighted
      and then if the university is ok with about $100M of long term and low cost debt to build the facilities

      again these facilities are not just for Pitt and for sports
      they are for businesses, the community, students
      it will be a 365 day used venue/complex
      it will generate a positive ROI with multiple revenue streams

      if this project isnt given a priority, you can kiss Pitt football goodbye and we’ll need to accept mediocrity in ACC sports and the quality of student life

      Its a huge opportunity for the community. it may not be part of any AD’s legacy since it will be 5-7 years in the making so of course current and former AD’s arent pushing it. Its hard work. requires lots of planning. lots of fundraising. lots of flack, pushback and naysayers.

      But, WE cant afford to blow it. The community still has one last chance.



  35. Heinz is a dump. Start with that. It is a lousy place to watch any game period. Throw in the fact that it is almost twice as large as we can fill and the empty seats are bright yellow on TV and you have a disaster.
    My name is kman and I am a Pitt supporter
    and season ticket holder


  36. Mike, thanks for sharing!

    An OCS (and winning consistently) would help with creating long term fans out of the student population, would help with recruiting, and would improve the game day experience for most, IMO. As Tex just said above, memories are created on campus.

    In addition to an OCS, campus improvements of all types, including campus expansion through property acquisition, should be top of mind for the BOT and administrators.

    I like Narduzzi’s energy. But, I’m not sure he builds relationships with kids as well as others like, Wanny, Capel or Franklin. Franklin’s got an easier sell for sure (packed stadium, brand, tradition, campus etc), and he continues to clean up in recruiting (just landed a 5 star LB and a couple of 4 stars in the last two days). I don’t like PSU mostly because Joe Paterno was an arrogant a$$hole, and then protected a pedophile. And, many of the PSU fans are arrogant as well. Be that as it may, they are back. We continue to be mediocre. That’s frustrating.

    I am looking forward to this season. The offense will struggle early, but should improve. I’m not worried about the record over the first four games this season, but want to see a solid defense that is ranked in the top 30 at year end and want to see improvement across the board on offense as the season wears on. I also want to see a top 30 recruiting class this year and next. I think that my expectations are reasonable.


  37. I may be in the minority, but I enjoy watching PITT play at Heinz — only thing I don’t like are the empty, neon-yellow seats.

    Loved PITT Stadium because of its setting and beautiful exterior. Didn’t like it inside because of the track that made the stands so far from the field. Always thought they should have investigated lowering the field, extending the stands down close, and building boxes around the upper rim…

    Go Pitt!


    1. I’m in the minority too, MM. If there is ever an OOC, spare me the bleacher seats….


  38. Reed, are you thinking about handing out similar cards with preseason predictions like you did at last years golf outing? and a btw, we never did go back over those cards. Not that many of my thoughts were straight on. (I think I had Wirginis leading the team in sacks) Turns out he was sacked.

    Well anyways, Hendrix posed for a great year, just watch. What I find a little more than strange is that the Steelers are planning a new type of defense that I think we will also see the PITT Panthers football team implementing. HCPN has nothing on me. There will be athletes coming out of the wazoo on defense and looking like they were dropped from airplanes raining down on the opposition. Word is Hendrix and Weaver cannot be stopped with Folston and Jones just as good.

    Wirginis is a monster first rd pick to happen and I still believe in Reynolds. Albert Tucker is my new sleeper this coming year but where will he play?

    Now, any more questions on how I think this year’s PITT football team’s defense will play?


    1. A little birdie says that Tucker can be a player, but he’s still grasping some “dos and don’ts“ in the defensive scheme. Course, aren’t we all…

      Go Pitt!


    2. I like your optimism!

      Fingers crossed that none of the projected 2-deep gets into trouble (grades, reefer, fights, grades etc) over the summer, and that all are eligible. And, healthy.


    3. Wirginis 1st round???… you mean the guy who couldn’t beat out Matt Galambos or Caprara or any of the other average at best LBs we have had since Wirginis has been on the roster?

      That my friend Ike is the absolute epitome of unbridled optimism.


  39. and Mitt72, (Mike) thank you so much for the story. I love to read about all you living in the city and how we all arrived basically in the same place. Well done and thanks again… ike


  40. Yes M&M, Heinz definitely better than the old PITT stadium would right now at this point in my life. Yet if given the choice, I would rather be at PITT stadium sitting on the rotting bleachers. The real point is that plot of land was invaluable and had the room for a new BB arena and a refurbished PITT stadium. You know as well as I do, there is nothing, nothing like walking up that dam hill with all the smells and sights spread on top of a PITT football game. It’s just not the same for me now. It doesn’t reek of college football to me.


    1. ike – you nailed it – it was the setting and view that made Pitt Stadium awesome. And the Pitt Band marching thru Oakland before the game…

      And just the name — “Pitt Stadium.” Can’t do better than that.

      Hail to Pitt.


    2. Pitt stadium was like mustard on a hotdog. You need a good mustard to have a good dog.


  41. Nice addition, longtime reader!

    Remember Pitt Bball and the Pete. The Pitt coaches sold new recruits on the new facility. I think a couple of the 4 stars committed to a “dream” and the plans to build. An idea that the Pete would be finished for their senior year. Same thing can easily happen with an OCS.

    Pitt could start recruiting Freshman and Sophomores in high school to be the first to play in a brand new ocs? That’s like a 7 year window if my math is correct. Sell the dream. Commit to being great and you will be. Commit to being average and you will be. Commit to nothing and that’s what you’ll be. That latter is Pitt athletics for the last 30+ years.

    That said, Gallagher paid great money for Capel. Did I mention that I am really glad that Heather couldn’t close on Hurley. That was a fantastic miss in my opinion.

    Fast forward to football. Narduzzi is an interesting case study and Pitt has a choice to make. Does Pitt commit to funding a new stadium? Is it UPMC Field with a naming rights fee of $15M per year? What a great way to help fund the stadium and pay for maintenance. It’s also a very slick way to move money between organizations without it being a problem. OCS will drive future giving!

    We need to recruit Florida and the east coast markets. Growing population of high school age kids and with that, more players. Head to the beaches!! I am not concerned about wPIAL talent. What Pitt needs to do is put together a bunch of data about 4 and 5 stars that moved away and then show if they made it big or fizzled in college. If data suggests they fizzled more than they starred, I would have that to all the local high school coaches asap, with a message for them to talk to their kids! Conversely, we need to also show how many local 4 and 5 star kids that went to Pitt, made it!


  42. Tucker was my flex pick to defend against the spread offenses as he is big enough to stop the run and fast enough in coverage. If you remember I pushed for him last year as we went against spread offenses like syr, duke, others. To me, he is a hybrid Safety/OLB. He can also rush the passer if needed. Speed kills. He has the speed and the nastiness.


  43. Okay, the natural hat trick for posting three times in a row today.

    It is interesting to me that everyone is enjoying these articles sooooooo much! Not only is Pitt Football the common thread for all of these stories, it is also Pitt Stadium that is the bond. OCS is where it’s at.

    @Reed – If Pitt was serious about what Pitt fans want and need, they would read these articles critically and start piecing it together that the games on campus create a long lasting bond. I have no idea how many fandom pieces have been written so far, but nary a one has mentioned Steeler Stadium as a contributing factor to their fandom and loyalty to Pitt! That is telling for any Administration….except our own!


    1. the students have complained about being bussed over to Heinz for the past 16 years. They also have rarely stayed past the 3rd quarter because of the long wait for the bus ride back to campus.

      I think you get more students to attend with a campus venue. You get more students to stay for the entire game. And you get more students associating the venue with Pitt.

      I doubt many students over the past nearly 2 decades have much good to say about their Heinz Field experiences. That is a huge lost generation.

      Yet the Zoo was born in large part to an on campus venue. Many fun times and memories. A very good experience. Became a focal point on campus. Helped increase the power of the Pitt brand.

      Populous did a damn feasibility study. No word has been leaked about their football conclusions. But part of their findings did lead to the Victory Heights initiative. And I’m pretty sure (since they are engineers and architects) they concluded that a facility was indeed feasible. A tiered 45k capacity venue would sit perfectly on the OC lot.

      But Pitt doesnt have the gumption to raise the funds for it. Its far too easy leasing a stadium they use 6 times a year. They’ve tuned out the complaints of yellow seats, bussing and lack of atmosphere. Buying time with ideas of tarping, Fantas, Pitt script at the 50 (thank you Carrick elementary), special student tailgate zones, moving students down to the sidelines, etc. All relatively minor things.

      Pitt seems to have permanently hitched their ride with the Steelers. When the Steelers move to their new domed stadium, Pitt will be moving with them. The land Heinz sits on is far too valuable to remain an outdated football only stadium.

      Liked by 1 person

  44. Geez, I’m thinking like Huff the third. I must have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night and had a black out? jus kidding, 🙂 I liked that kid the second he said yes to PITT. of course I liked Chapman as well.

    M&M all over it as well…

    but keep an eye on Reynolds and Pine down the road.


  45. So how did Pitt pay for Pitt Stadium in 1925? Fewer games, no TV, low income fan base, etc. Middle of Prohibition so no booze and no lottery sales. Somehow they did it. There were fewer financing options then, as well, no local billionaires or hedge fund mgrs. I’m sure those pee troughs must have cost a fortune!


    1. Well, they were winning championships and all Pitt stadium was was a big concrete bowl – literally – with wooden bleachers. It didn’t cost much at all and was a very small fraction of what even a small football stadium costs now with the requisite clubs, amenities, press boxes, electronic scoreboards and everything else.

      It cost 2.1M to build which would be $29M today – way under what a new Pitt stadium would cost. Temple’s 35K stadium is projected at $153M at the VERY least. That’s just to build and not for any land and logistical transportation modification costs…

      Back then in the 1900’s at Pitt to see a game it was… leave home, spend a few dollars see the game then go home and have dinner… now everything is a G-D “event” that does nothing but drain money from fans.


  46. Script was brought back, still working on the correct colors and a stadium can be built. Just keep squeaking.


  47. Another five win season and Pitt won’t fill a high school stadium.

    They should move to PNC Park, LOL. Right amount of seats. 🙂


  48. VOR- non-union labor! Being a smart ass here. I wondered the same thing. Being a private school I would guess no taxpayer assistance- just shooting from the hip. Anybody have any ideas ? Lot’s of money people then-Frick’s, Mellon’s , Carnegies, James Laughlin, Charles Schwab and Westinghouse.

    Original cost of $2.1 mil which Wikipedia valued at $ in 2017 dollars. So it wasn’t an exorbitant cost in those days compared to what it would cost today….and we had the land then.

    I have looked at Reed’s pic of the ice cold pint on the top of this thread too many times’s calling my name..outta here !


  49. Perhaps what we need is a man, or woman of vision. Anyone can be swayed if you take the right approach. I agree Oakland proper is dead, but the second campus would be ideal. Yup, I said the second campus. Expand like our far advanced Hoopie brethren did. Only way it will ever happen. Old money is dying off. Don’t know if that is good or bad, but with change comes opportunity. We never have seemed to realize winning sports and top notch academics are not mutually exclusive. Just need the right people to sell the vision.
    I’m in Oakland probably more than most. It remains one of the most screwed up traffic areas in a city of screwed up traffic areas. But boy, once you get there it’s worth it!! The snark that is Oakland will collapse upon itself shortly. The lower campus is not only a sports answer, but an academic one as well. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

    Liked by 1 person

  50. I dont see Pitt on this list. Check at bottom of this very interesting article about the future of conferences mainly the football schools and how companies like Netflix and Amazon are transforming how games are viewed or streamed.–118642101/Amp

    Pitt needs to increase their brand. They have 7 years to do it. Heinz is the Steelers brand. A campus facility could help increase Pitt’s brand enough for them to be included in this future top 40 list of schools.


  51. we’re 58th in football value per WSJ

    I am sure our equity is low given our lack of a on campus venue, lack of a clear marketing image (script vs block, vegas gold vs mustard colors), lack of fans because our administration doesnt care about creating fans

    Pitt will lose out on MILLIONS

    So there is a tangible cost to ignoring how sports particularly football can impact a schools brand

    A powerful brand gets you invited to Amazon’s table.


  52. Mitt72, Congratulations .. mostly om making your mom a very proud woman. Well done.



    1. BigB, It just keeps getting better, and a little spooky. I had a 68 red convertible bug just like that one, Sold it in 1984. Only car I ever made a profit on, bought it for $1000, sold it for $2000. Wish I still had it.


  53. Well, not naming any names, but the POV could definitely use some Virtue! 😇

    Go Pitt!


  54. Yep Reed, QW has that kind of athletic ability. I’m taking a chance his maturity has caught up to it.

    btw, I found the perfect doctor for all you skeptics and naysayers. Just watch the whole think and enjoy.


  55. Here’s a couple off topic basketball thoughts:

    Shamiel Stevenson will go down as one of PITT’s all time players.

    Terrell Brown will be an above average player in the ACC in two years

    Peace JUST might become very good, jury still out.

    JWF is better than Artis.

    Sorry Dan…


  56. “Heinz is a dump. Start with that. It is a lousy place to watch any game period. Throw in the fact that it is almost twice as large as we can fill and the empty seats are bright yellow on TV and you have a disaster.”


    kman, you are my hero.


  57. Bernie, I also had a rag top bug…73 orange. Had studded snow tires for winter. Have a picture somewhere of me and my buddy driving around with my Christmas tree in the back seat…top down…twinkle lights on the tree…playing Christmas songs on an 8 track.


  58. Cam Bright fits that bill now who can stop the run and cover a pass catcher – Tucker is a year away from what I’m hearing from those closer to the program than any on this blog.

    The D will be fun to watch this season – worth the price of admission. The depth will be there and experienced players will be all over the front 7. The O needs playmakers to rise up and be counted. KP has already reported for duty with his previous two games against ranked opponents (VT and miami). P.Ford and Shockey will surprise us all with great pass catching and jet sweep runs.

    Now we need to find a RB – someone mentioned yesterday that we are “average” at this position. If my count is correct, we are close to a 4 star average with Hall, AJ Davis and Houdini (sp?). Then you have Q.Ollison and G.Aston who have played Lyke 4 star RB’s, at least for one full season in their Pitt careers. Todd Sibling was ranked as a 4 star by ESPN and formerly committed to Urban Myers at tOSU, but erase that from your mind, cause those 2 facts don’t count with yinzers.



  59. Lastrow and gc…I also had a VW 72 orange bug, Dad signed for it-got it from Ted McWilliams in Monroeville..remember Ted’s was at the bottom of the hill..To make a long story short, I never drove a stick and off I went in rush hour to my frat house on N Ditheridge..what a ride..what a dumbass…never thought I would make it up Bates St


  60. In the last comments thread, you posted this, “PITT’s recruiting class will be strong.” What do you base that on?

    I’m not being contrary, just looking for some hope. Do you have information none of us have? Because everything I’m reading is that there are virtually NO big-time recruits and the whole class might be a 2-3 fill-in class. I’m very worried. If you have different information, please share with the group.


      1. It was in the comments section of the story “My Name is Mark… and I’m a Pitt fan..” and stamped May 30, 2018. I believe around 11 am.


  61. @erie – I think sibley may have been injured and underwent surgery which caused osu to stop selling him. I also think that is why he went from a consensus 4 star to a mostly 3 star. It shouldn’t matter. If he can run like Forrest Gump, we shouldn’t care one bit.

    @Reed – I didn’t think of Cam Bright the way I thought of Albert Tucker. Regardless, I do think that the strategy behind recruiting so many safety prospects was to build them up a bit physically to get a few hybrid players that fit well against the ACC spread offenses, without necessarily calling it a formal “nickel” package. The hybrid players seem to be the answer these days.


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