Another interesting look at Pitt and its athletic department over the years from our reader friend “Anon”.  One important thing about this particular reader and contributor – he and his family have been intimately associated with the University of Pittsburgh for many, many years so when he writes something I pay very close attention to it…and it has matched with what I know almost 100% of the time.

In writing this, my purpose is to open thinking about what are the issues with the size and fervor of the Pitt football fan base.  Only this sport is being questioned as basketball has proven in the past to be quite attractive and sold out when Pitt has been relevant in the top 20 in basketball. Surely under Capel, we all anticipate a recalibration and quick building of a highly successful program again.

So, what are the issues with Pitt football?

Certainly for those of us who enjoy the college football sport and who have developed a genuine caring about Pitt football in particular, this is a serious question. Our current Athletic Department and leadership at Pitt have made a strong commitment to utilizing sports as a “front porch” for national recognition and respect for the University of Pittsburgh.

 Yes, yes, we all know the naysayers and their mantra of “Pitt’s too cheap or the administration hates the athletic department.” Those who make these claims are influenced by (1) the waters of the three rivers which still has negativity molecules in plentiful supply; (2) a complete lack of knowledge of Pitt’s organization and finances; and (3) recognition of what Pitt truly values.

 So, skipping the water problem, it can be acknowledged that for decades Mr. Jerry Cochran ran a very squeaky tight ship concerning Pitt finances and contributions to the athletic department.  Nothing but nothing got past him for coaches salaries, athletic costs, etc. That continued until his retirement a few years ago. Also, it might be added that with the retirement of Chancellor Mark Nordenberg who genuinely wanted good sports programs at Pitt, a new regime came in at the right time for Pitt athletics.

Unlike Nordenberg who formerly ran Pitt’s law school, Chancellor Gallagher is more current on marketing, positioning, and building upon Nordenberg’s success in academic enrichment of Pitt. Yes, yes, Gallagher was rushed into a bad choice in Barnes as AD but that was due to the last five years of Jamie Dixon’s difficulties at Pitt due to his recruiting base and the ACC which he never wanted Pitt to be in as opposed to either the Big East or B10 where he could continue his recruiting of the NY-Philly area.

The fall off in attendance at the Pete plus less success on the court signaled that something had to change, so why not Barnes who was part of the NCAA Tournament Selection committee? That didn’t work and was further not a boon to Pitt football.  So, rather quickly Pitt moved on from Barnes to Heather Lyke.

 Heather Lyke was underappreciated due to the size and scope of Eastern Michigan sports. But, what was forgotten was that this is a very bright lady who spent considerable time in Ohio State’s athletic department plus earned a law degree. She has been shaking and churning the Pitt athletic department and staffs to find very good coaching talent. She does not appear to be another Steve Pederson or Scott Barnes, in fact, she just might become Pitt’s best athletic director in decades.

 Add to the staffing of the athletic department and many coaching positions, there is the big money from membership in the ACC. But, keep in mind that the Pitt administration is still shoring up the football programs expenses. Money is not overflowing from alumni, fans, and merchandising sales so far. Perhaps there will be change as more success happens on the field. Currently, Pitt is investing in building football, basketball, baseball, soccer, softball, and wrestling programs. Please don’t sit on laurels as this is a concerted effort by Pitt and it had better work.

 The reason that it better work is simply that Pitt wants sports as an attractive, successful symbol of Pitt’s national image. However, the fundamentals of Pitt are #1 above all else, academics, research, and international recognition. Yes, you are reading this correctly, Pitt would drop any sport tomorrow if it were a choice between that sport and Pitt academics. So, for those of you who would close one eye if Pitt engaged in some shady practices to get recruits, build programs, or get national ranking attention, you are daydreaming while giving Pitt’s core nightmares.  Many of us who love Pitt football and basketball would rather see Pitt close down all sports and simply concentrate on becoming the Stanford of the East before engaging in the nonsense done by so many big nationally recognized sports programs.

Let’s go back to what is the core problems of Pitt fandom.

 First, for most of Pitt’s history, it was a commuter university of national acclaim. Streetcars, buses, and cars delivered students to the campus and then quickly got them to their places of work where they could earn tuition money. The number of dorm students was a small percentage of Pitt’s student enrollment unlike big land grant universities. Pitt did not have a tidy little 10,000 to 30,000 town that was integrated with the university. Pitt had Oakland which was the residence of many wealthier people as well as working class families of steel workers from Jones & Laughlin and other mills.

Not the ideal Chapel Hill version of a campus and town. Pittsburgh was big, bustling, and bruising with one of the smallest African-American populations of a major city in America. Pittsburgh was sectionalized into ethnic enclaves such as Polish Hill, Swissvale, Garfield, Bloomfield, Squirrel Hill, Homewood, the Hill District etc. Immigrant families lived in close proximity to others who shared their ethnicity. So, Pittsburgh in many ways was a lot like a smaller New York but more industrialized. That made for a different student body at Pitt.  Pitt wasn’t the place you went to party or cruise through college. You had to work your ass off both in school and in a one or more jobs to get that diploma.

 Pitt embarked on a disastrous trimester system. Why? It enabled students to accelerate their course load over a year to graduate in possibly as short as two and a half years. What that experiment did was destroy any concept of alumni “Class of XXXX” as each student was in their own class not a large collection of people at the same pace going through  college. That took away the sense of camaraderie for most students.

 Pitt never had a strong vibrant Greek system. It was too expensive for most students and students were too busy studying and working to afford the time and efforts of joining a Frat or Sorority.  Other schools could count on the collective efforts of the Greek System to support and encourage playing sports at their universities.  Pitt was a totally opposite of PSU as humanly possible in what was important to the student and their families.

 The Academic leadership of Pitt did resent Pitt’s athletic department and what they tried to do to build programs. Under Chancellor Litchfield, Pitt almost went bankrupt as a private university (private like Northwestern and Stanford are private) due to the incredible millions spent on bringing in world recognized faculty, building out research programs, investment in buildings, investments in the Medical school and acquisition of hospitals, and building of the International Affairs programs of Pitt.

Football and basketball were not important except as entertainment.  Resentment built with a lot of former players, friends, and families to form the Golden Panthers which decided to put their money into Pitt athletics such as recruiting and hiring Johnny Majors and continuing right up until the 80’s when scandal happened.

So, unless there is a similar banding of wealthy ex-athletes and families, like the Cost Family and others, Pitt sports will be reliant upon the monies of the ACC until sufficiently successful to be self-sustaining and growing.

 Remember, there were many other factors too affecting sports fans for Pitt. The coming of conferences while a boon in monies to be shared, destroyed old-time rivalries. Does anyone seriously think that if Pitt were playing Penn State, West Virginia, Navy, Syracuse, Miami and Notre Dame virtually every year that we’d be having attendance discussions?

Pitt Stadium could seat 60,000 people. Heinz Field seats over 72,000 people which is extremely large for Pittsburgh in general. By the way, the Rooney’s are not dumping on Pitt! They contribute quite a bit of money to Pitt as well as Duquesne plus they don’t own Heinz Field but happily share it with Pitt under the Pittsburgh Sports Authority. Pitt’s leasing deal saves Pitt millions while enabling top-tier facilities.

 Well, enough rambling on.  Just take these words from someone who has followed Pitt football for more than 60 years plus has known many of the past and great players of Pitt.

Editor’s Note: My parents were professionals at Pitt before and during the Chancellor Litchfield years and my father, as the Assistant  Dean of the Graduate School of Business (back when there was a lot less faculty) , worked very closely with Litchfield on starting the International School of Studies mentioned above.   What is written above are just the same thoughts I heard all the time when growing up in the 50s, 60s and early 70s in my “Pitt” household.

247 thoughts on “The Issue of the Pitt Fan Base

  1. This is a wonderful summation of what this gentleman and you too Reed have been telling us all along. The University part of Pitt’s title has to come first. BTW I was at Pitt for the Litchfield and trimester years.

    Wasn’t there also a falling out between Litchfield and the Mellon family and their billions, so much so that they pulled their support from Pitt and went to CarnegieTech to support that school, to the extent that Carnegie Tech renamed itself Carnegie Mellon University?

    I think the Mellon Institute Building just across the street from the Cathedral was an industrial research facility that Pitt and Carnegie Tech were to collaborate on together. It was situated next to Pitt, not next to Carnegie Tech, for whatever that is worth. You guys probably know about that than I do.


  2. That article was long overdue..totally supportive and verifies Reed’s writings on this subject …hope it enlightens all. I usually post from my heart like many of the fans on here when it comes to this issue. You lay out the facts in back and white. Sombering!

    I too believe bigger things will happen with Heather in charge. It will take patience… something we are all “ long on.”

    Thank you for article. Extremely well written.


    1. But, but, but the polio vaccine was delivered by Pitt. You mean there are 10 more schools better academically that this kid is looking at?

      Time to start cheating again to win big.


  3. very good history of Pitt
    My history of Pitt was the end Posvar and Bozik/Briscoe/Billick (Killer B’s)…dark times for Pitt football

    I would say that there is no reason that Pitt cant aim to become the Stanford of the East

    I think Heather is realizing that all sports programs are important and all need good coaches and facilities
    Hence the recent firings long overdue and the Victory Heights initiative

    The money from college football is just crazy and the new streaming environment and end of TV contracts in 2026 will separate the winners from the losers
    It is estimated that the winners (those schools with the strongest brands and followers) stand to gain up to $111 Million per year in extra revenues

    Pitt doesnt generate strong revenues – donations are under $10M, merchandise is around $10M and revenues are around $40M (football)…see my links/comments from earlier
    Thats almost a $40M shortfall relative to the typical ‘elite’ athletic school

    So we know that athletics can generate a ton of money for the school
    We know the importance of the front porch from a branding perspective
    We know a good sports experience can help improve a students quality of college experience and can results in higher giving rates
    We know when schools win on the field that these schools see an increase in applications and quality of applicants

    Students want to connect with sports in some way and become engaged
    Sadly our university does a poor job engaging these students

    Pitt needs to build future fans. Its fanbase is small compared to other schools. Hell our campus is only 132 acres. Penn States main is over 6000

    So I ask Pitt what is the plan to build your fanbase, engage students, develop a stronger brand, and to truly earn that ACC check

    I hope Gallagher’s leadership team have these answers but I have my doubts since there are 2 Penn State grads on this team and absolutely no one who has a Pitt degree and would know the Pitt experience.

    I say its good to understand the past but one must look to the future and start building for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great article, explains a lot and should expand the understanding of many that read it.

    Two things to add, the near bankruptcy forced Pitt to become state related, so Pitt will never be the Stanford of the east. CMU is the Stanford of the East without the athletic programs.

    Pitt’s official campus may only be 132 acres, but the actual campus is a large part of the city, including much of Oakland , Shadyside, Squirrel Hill and the SouthSide. All of these areas house Pitt students and provide entertainment. You can also add Heinz Field and the old Gulf Oil Research and many other Pitt owned or shared facilities.

    Pitt need and its fans need to embrace its uniqueness and sell that.

    Pitt’s efforts to improve all athletics will improve the overall fan base and get more local people wearing Pitt hats etc. It does seem to have improved already.


    1. 132 acres is official. Oakland and surrounding neighborhoods are indeed much larger than that. I agree.
      But our fanbase is small relative to other schools. That is a huge issue. Pitt does a poor job cultivating fans.

      Pitt for all practical purposes is private. Less than 10% of funding comes from the state and that number is only going down.

      Stanford is excellent in both sports and academics. They just won the Directors Cup again. We finished as one of the worst among all P-5 schools. We came in at 111.

      I have to differ in my opinion of Chancellor Mark. If he was serious about good sports programs, why did Pitt continually finish near the bottom of the Directors Cup during his tenure?

      Why did he hire his buddy back as AD after he was fired at Nebraska?

      Why did it take so long to build facilities for baseball, softball and soccer. And we still dont have AC for our wrestling, gymnastics and volleyball teams. They play in a 70 year old venue. Our swimming and diving is located in a 60 year old building. We still dont have tennis courts or a track and field.

      Moreover, Pitt still does not have a rec center (I’ve posted many links on this) like other progressive schools who know how to attract quality students and improve their student experience. Pitt’s idea of a rec center is the climbing wall located in Trees.

      I guess I see Pitt for what it is but more importantly what it can be.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. More delusions … Pitt becoming the ‘Stanford of the East’

    Stanford is always ranked academically in the Top 10 or so of everyone’s rankings. Pitt is usually ranked in the 50s or 60s. (which is good for a public univ but Miami and UNC are just 2 univ that are always ranked much higher.) Pitt is a public, urban school that brings in many students that Stanford would reject.

    Sanford’s FB coach, David Shaw, is among the Top 10 highest paid. California is right behind Florida and Texas when it comes to high school football recruiting.

    I could go on and on …. wwb


    1. Pitt is actually ‘state related’
      Its not a public school
      Less than 10% of funding comes from the Commonwealth

      You are defeatist in attitude when you say Pitt cant do better

      I personally believe that Pitt can do better on the academic side. How much better is debatable but I also know Pitt will most likely never be as good as those truly ‘private’ schools or Iveys

      I also believe Pitt has tremendous opportunity to improve the overall competitiveness of its sports programs. I think Heather can move Pitt to the top half among P-5 schools. We sit in the bottom 5% now.

      And what does being an ‘urban’ school have to do with applicants and acceptance rates?


      1. OK, Pitt is state-related but Stanford is a private school which is much different, and it can be much more selective when it comes to accepting applicants. That’s the point I am trying to make

        Pitt is a great academic institution and you alums have every right to be proud and loyal. However, you refuse to believe the realities of the situation.

        For example … Did you know that Stanford only has about 12,500 undergrads but averages nearly 48k in its 50k OCS? A 50k OCS … only a pipe dream for us Pitt fans.



        1. Pitt has averaged around 45k fans in a 70k stadium since Heinz opened. Pitt has around 18k undergrads with another 6k at its 4 branch campuses. Even at old Pitt Stadium during Sherrill, Pitt only got 52k in a 56k stadium. Pitt does save money on maintenance and upkeep by being a renter at Heinz. But loses out on any naming or licensing rights.

          Its actually difficult to get accepted into Pitt. Its admission standards have increased and incoming Pitt students have higher GPA’s and test scores than our Nitter friends. Yet somehow Penn State ranks 35-45 in publications and Pitt gets shafted at 50-65. I guess if you get accepted to Main, Penn State gets an automatic bump much like any 3 star automatically becomes a 4 star with a Nitter football offer.

          Pitt cant change the past but it can change the existing reality and build a better future.
          Bring on that OCS


  6. I believe the part about the Mellons. Pitt also ruined the relationship with Helen Frick. She wanted no nude artwork in her building. Pitt refused and she built a second fine arts building behind Clayton. Mellon Institute would have been a great addition to the Pitt Campus and academics, plus ongoing funding. Who knows how much Frick would have donated if Pitt would have traded Carnegie Museum for the nudes, or just hung them somewhere else on campus.

    Academic purity clashes with common sense. I’m sure there is another side to the stories, but oh brother!


    1. Helen Clay Frick, daughter of Henry – responsible for the Homestead strike where Pinkerton guards shot unarmed strikers And responsible, in large part, for the Johnstown flood, who died of syphillis – didn’t want portraits of nudes in her museum?

      See there, I learned something


  7. Pitt needs to have a full out campaign to gets WPA citizens interested in Pitt football and give them a sense of ownership.

    SP tried this and failed but the idea is 100% necessary.

    Some sports teams are doing a multi-year promotion that if you buy two adult tickets – either single game or season tickets you receive two free tickets for your children. An option to buy extra tickets at a discount is included if you have more than one kid.

    Somehow we have to make going to a game just that instead of an “event” where you have to spend ridiculous amounts for tickets, parking and food.

    Many young families can’t afford the $200+ dollars a family would have to spend for attending a single game.

    Another aspect of Pittsburgh that we overlook is that the way the City has morphed and changed over the last 30 years a football game is no longer the only thing for Pitt students to do on Saturdays any longer. There are tons of entertainment opportunities now and I’m not sure how to change that.

    These students today are no longer like what we older guys were when we were growing up. We were always outdoors playing some sort of physical game or another – touch football, softball, hoops, kick the can…we were outside until our mothers screamed at us come come in for dinner or to go to bed.

    We were raised on physical sports but that lifestyle is going away for the most part. The newer generations of kids…and Pitt students (and myself sometimes) feel it is much simpler and way cheaper to grab a case of beer with friends and watch the game on big screen TVs at their apartments or even a bar…

    But student’s free time can be used in more and different ways in PGH now then back in our days in Oakland.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thats why Pitt needs to reach out to these Millennials and get their input. They are the future fans and their children. Its the biggest generation since the Boomers and all you guys are dieing off. 🙂


  8. I would be ecstatic if PITT was the Stanford of the east, that would mean PITT was great academically but also in sports. Stanford has successful programs.


  9. Reed can probably help on the Mellon money story. But I thought the story was the Mellon’s offered major bucks with the caveat that Mellon be incorporated in the University name. Litchfield said yes to the money and no to the name. Hence Carnegie Tech became Carnegie Mellon.


  10. The trimester program got me out of Pitt early but did not affect my Pitt sports feelings. Pitt seems to have lost its way with the area industries and mega donors but lucked out with the ACC. The big college football powers will suck up more of the football money soon and openly become NFL minor leagues. We will be left with the other minors, maybe playing at CMU’s stadium or an aging Heinz. Maybe the old Big East will return. H2P


  11. You alums have to realize that Pitt was actually entertaining the idea of dropping the FB program to level D2 as recent as 1996. This was only 15 years removed from having a perennial Top 10 program.

    I agree with Reed that there needs to be more community (WPa) involvement and interest but times have changed. Trying to relive the mid 70s is nearly impossible.

    — nowadays, attendance is dwindling in many sports including college FB. I believe all home games being televised has a major effect here …. that wasn’t the case in the 70s. Now, not only can you watch Pitt …. but there are at least a dozen games with top teams available on TV on any given Saturday.

    — there is no doubt that high school FB talent in WPa has dropped considerably since the 70s …. not even close. Much has to do with the population decline but also the many large suburban schools emphasizing other activities like soccer, etc And the city FB programs are mostly a sham.

    — the success of bordering major FB programs are at a peak. PSU and OSU are now constantly in the Top 10 which not only affects recruiting but also viewership. Even WVU is much more visible in WPa than ever before.

    It should be noted that none of the schools ever lowered its commitment to football the way Pitt has periodically over the past three decades plus. There is no better example than Hayward being hired to replace Wanny …. at a salary much, much less than what WVU was paying for its new coach.

    In a professional sports town with successful NFL and NHL teams, if you snooze, you lose. And Pitt has continuously dozed off over the past 35 years. I do think Pitt can do better than it has shown over the past 8 years but it is not going to be done overnight. I stress patience



    1. With the program or with the coach?

      One thing to consider is if PN has another losing season Pitt can get a different HC at about half the $3.3M he’s being paid and use the other $1.65M for quality, experienced assistants and recruiting staff… Which I think has been a problem for the team so far.

      Partridge is a good one but past him I wonder how good they are. Watson hasn’t impressed so far and the new DC is untested but might be OK.

      If we get to the point where we need another HC I think we could do well with someone like Greg Gattsuo who is getting $273k right now at Albany.

      He’s been at Pitt and did well as the DC & Asst HC at Maryland.

      He’s got HC experience and was a top recruiter for us under DW as well as a great DC & Asst HC for Wanny.

      That is if we ever need a different HC of course.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Before being re-hired at Pitt by PN, Partridge was fired as HC at FL Atlantic after a 9-27 record.

        I still don’t know where this $3.3M figure is coming from (I missed something here) but even so, just because a coach’s salary is raised from $1.8 to $3.3 doesn’t automatically make a guy a much better coach. Of course, if the overall budget for assistants and recruiting is raised, then results should come … but it’s still not going to happen overnight.

        Reed, your anti-Narduzzi bias has propelled you to tell all your readers that recruiting seems to be based solely on the number of 4-stars … and the heck with overall ratings. But the fact is that in overall Rivals rankings, Narduzzi has outdone Chryst at Pitt (except for 2015 when PN was hired). And PC had the advantage of the PSU sanctions for 2 of his 3 years.

        Yes, a few of the 4-stars help make for a good offense in 2016, but the number of 2-stars on defense also made for a bad defense.



      2. Hiring Gattuso would be like Majors II all over again.

        I hope like he!! that never happens.


  12. It is very important that Pitt brings back the (possibly renamed) Golden Panthers to address the weak donation problem. They could build some additional financial controls into the organization to keep it out of trouble, but this type of organization, that raises funds on a national basis, is extremely important. If true, that $10 million per year level of athletic donations is incredibly low.


  13. To put things into perspective, A&M has over $90M in annual donations. Our Nitter friends have over $30M which I think is also low for them.

    These are all figures that have been compiled from various articles. The same articles that say A&M is the most profitable program and Texas generates the most revenues (ticket sales, licensing and merchandise, donations) at over $200M. Pitt’s revenues are around $80M.

    I had also read that when the Golden Panthers were around, Pitt was able to generate 2-3M each year. That may not seem like a lot but in those days it was near the top of all programs. Pitt did get ‘elite’ donation levels for an elite program. Unfortunately, these donations created academic resentment and athletic scandal.

    The new donation marker these days is $40-50M. A new Golden Panthers with proper controls in place can surely help double Pitt’s existing levels. I’m curious who Heather is speaking with concerning Victory Heights.


  14. Thank you for taking time to send us all a great article Mr Anon. The take I came away with is the reason why I feel some of the negativity we read and share on the POV are wasted words. It’s an explanation of the uphill battle PITT football has been fighting for years. Stop expecting PITT to be something they don’t want to be and be happy that we love the school and they give us all enough to get us by and sometimes pleasantly surprise us.


  15. I really appreciate this piece, so thank you.

    So let’s start with the excuse making for Gallagher in that he was rushed into hiring Barnes. Executives don’t get rushed. That was bad planning. I can give Gallagher a pass on that, sort of. Secondly, Pitt didn’t quickly move from Barnes to Lyke. Pitt would have kept Barnes for a long time, despite him being as bad as Steve Peterson. Pitt didn’t make the move to get rid of Barnes, Barnes moved out on his own. Pitt executive leadership was fine with Barnes, which is troubling. How did Barnes get here in the first place?

    Pitt will never be the Stanford of the east. Pitt isn’t even close academically or athletically. Aspirational goal, sure. BigB hit it squarely on the head when he said the most recent recruit who did not put Pitt in his top10 was interested in academics. Academics is not us. We are good, but not great fellas.

    With regard to the academic calendar, that is interesting. many universities went from quarters, trimesters to semesters. It’s a great point, but nothing that other schools didn’t overcome, in my opinion.

    I enjoyed the piece even though I take issue with a couple points. For Lyke to be successful, she needs to change the media message about Pitt. Not by calling us Pittsburgh. Not by being cute with words, but being strong with performance on the field. Not Fanta. Not busses. Engage the students early in their matriculation. The players can be a huge part of this. The coaches too. Get them in the classrooms. It’s easy to get tenured professors to paddle in the same direction. She needs to sell the tenures on how a thriving football program will shine light on their academic research, not the opposite. That’s her job….and raising money…and scheduling strategically (biggest flaw to date, except for Hurley swing and miss).

    Being stuck in the thinking of Pitt leadership of the 50’s and 60’s gets you just that, stuck. We keep getting passed up by all of these other institutions and will continue to fall behind academically and athletically without a complete change of course. If you want to see a sea change and how you make it happen, look at Alabama. Alabama used sport to elevate their academic reputation. Review a 25 year chart for Alabama. It is impressive, despite athletic scandal. Noone talks about their scandals, they talk about their academic standing now and how far it has come, due mainly to athletic (football superiority). People support and want to be a part of winners, period.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But you dont pay a coach $3.3M for 7 win seasons
      For that kind of money, I expect a division title every 4 years and some 4 star recruits


      1. Not for 7 WIins s, but for 8-9 with some divisional championships in a P5 conference that sounds D’s about right. What is Kurt Ferencz (sp?) being paid ?


  16. Tex, sometimes you overpay a coach to compensate for weaknesses elsewhere. If the pay is high enough, an assistant coach may take the job even though he is not happy with (or doesn’t know enough about) the available budget for recruiting and assistants. They then start the job and get discouraged when they better understand the competition. A smart coach would take less on the condition that these other requirements for winning are met. When successful, he can then demand more or jump to a better situation.


  17. Hey Reed, I totally agree with that and wanting will turn into having in the next few years. My point being is when PITT has a season like they did last year I don’t understand all the foot stompin like we can’t figure out how this happened? PITT will not tolerate coaches that run a program that the players get into trouble and puts them in a bad light. They also can’t keep a head coach like P Chryst and he goes away. There are lost recruiting classes involved there. It hurts the football program to change coaches all the time.

    Here’s one the Anon author of this article and yourself Reed may disagree. I think Gallagher and some of the BOT’s are more on board with PITT putting forth a more presentable football program realizing that it can actually help their University instead of hurting them. This why I think it’s time to look forward and stop the looking out the rear-view mirror. ike


  18. Here’s one for Fran get him through one of his last days before retirement. Turn it up. This song makes me feel like Narduzzi can win 7 games this year, trending upwards.


  19. Ok Pittfan – did you look at those programs? How has it negatively impacted the university from a reputational or academic standpoint? I’ll wait. I am not proposing mass cheating. What I am saying and the point you missed was that you can use athletics to improve your academic standings. Our academics was not enough to get us in the top10 for Rouse as BigB pointed out.

    People matriculate to winners. Winners want to be around winners. Don’t think so, look at the superteams in the nba. Great players want to be associated with other great players and championships. Nobody cares about vacated wins. It sure hasn’t hurt Saban in recruiting or Alabama in their academic reputation, except for those that aspire to be like Alabama.

    There are no squeaky clean programs. BBall just had AZ, Syr, Louisville, NC and keep going that may have paid top players to matriculate. It’s common practice and it happens everywhere when it comes to extra benefits. I talked personally to a P5 coach about this and he said that 15 years ago, only the 5 stars came with a price tag. Now he says that high 3 stars also come with a price tag.

    If you don’t want to play big boy ball, quit complaining about 6-6 seasons. That fix is in. OR, try to engineer wins differently through scheduling easier, coaching up your three stars and hope to compete for a division championship every 5-6 years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To the point about the relationship of academics, athletics and school reputation: Let’s take a look at the 2017 season end Top 25.

      Alabama 2. Georgia 3. Oklahoma 4. Clemson 5. Ohio State 6. UCF 7. Wisconsin 8. Penn State 9. TCU 10. Auburn 11. Notre Dame 12. USC 13. Miami (Fla.) 14. Oklahoma State 15. Michigan State 16. Washington 17. Northwestern 18. LSU 19. Mississippi State 20. Stanford 21. South Florida 22. Boise State 23. NC State 24. Virginia Tech 25. Memphis

      Every school has its strengths, but Pitt is probably seen as superior overall to Alabama, Oklahoma, UCF, Auburn, OK. St., Michigan St, LSU, Mississippi St., USF, Boise State, NC State, Memphis. That’s 12 out of 25 schools.

      I’d say that Georgia, Clemson, Ohio St., Wisconsin, Penn St. TCU, Washington and Virginia are seen as being in Pitt’s tier. That’s 7 out of 25 schools.

      Pitt is probably seen as inferior academically to Notre Dame, USC, Miami, Northwestern. and Stanford. That’s 5 out of 25 schools.

      Overall, about 1/2 of these schools are perceived to be at the same level academically as Pitt — or higher — and many of them have used the publicity of big-time athletics to raise their academic and overall profile over the past 30 years. Pitt can do the same.


  20. I am hoping Gallagher, Lyke and the BoT want to move PITT forward to “greater things.” I think I am starting to see some “sign.” PITT FB has walking in the muck for soooo long and will take some time to get the muck-off. I see the need for patience. Hopefully, I got another 10-15 years left in me on this side of the grass after which I can hang with FRANKCAN in eternity and catch the Panther’s from the big-screen in the sky.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Pitt is who we want Pitt to be. Not what some academic snobs on a board or committee think. Alumni, students and fans have a voice.


  22. Huff, to answer a comment of yours from the previous article. I get that schedules are changed all the time but I really can’t see how Heather had much that she could have done coming into this season. ND and psu were untouchable and UCF?? Why should PITT be afraid to play them? Hopefully in the coming years they can work the schedule in a more favorable way for PITT. BTW, my comment about scheduling had a little of tongue in cheek there. “centuries in advance”?


  23. I love these historical pieces and the insight they provide into the behind-the-scenes politics that influence on-field results.Thanks for this informative piece! I generally agree with Huff and Tex that athletics can be used a lever to raise the overall strength and profile of the University. As Huff noted, it’s a celebrity culture and people want to be associated with success. The idea that success is restricted to one area (academics or athletics) doesn’t really hold. Irrelevancy is the worst fate an institution can have and athletics provides the antidote to that by giving you a national platform. If you do it right and have consistent Top 25 teams in major sports, the ROI is pretty good compared to what you would have to spend on marketing to get similar exposure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. there was some minor NCAA infraction and then of course the ‘stories’ of the Golden Panthers. Nothing like child rape, athlete molestation, major cheating, academic indifference, etc, etc.

      In reality, the intelligentsia at Pitt used this and other manufactured scandals to their advantage and promptly went on the war path of dismantling Pitt football.

      In the late 80’s, the schools we know as elite today began devoting big time dollars to their programs and began real cheating. Pitt on the other hand, wrote the program off.


    2. the only official violations by Pitt as recorded by the NCAA. Pitt was on probation for 2 years in the 90’s for violations that Pitt self reported that occurred from ’86-’89

      All schools cheat
      Johnny Majors 1 particularly. How do you think Pitt got Dorsett and why do you think JoePa was so upset at Jackie…because Jackie beat him at his own game.


      1. Well worth it. Tons of talented kids came through the program. All that was missing was a QB those years and as the program was ready to compete with AVP at quarterback in 1990, but the rug was pulled out from under.


      2. Okay, so it wasn’t like it was a major scandal that rocked the college football world. Like I said, that was a bit before my time, so thanks for the explanation.


        1. In the BOT’s eye and the academic elites who run the show at Pitt, it was ‘scandalous’ But more importantly, they resented athletics getting attention, they feared the influence of the Golden Panthers, and they had small and simple minds. While the rest of college America armed themselves, Pitt became like the French and surrendered. Pitt surrendered during the Sutherland and Sherrill eras. Students and fans have been forced to eat foie gras ever since while other college menus offered the choice of burgers, pizza, and steak.


  24. Posted this on my story (“My Pitt Story, the road rarely travelled”) but since there is a new post, just repeating here to thank all for the comments and answer the questions:

    Ha, Busy week have not been on the POV for a few days…did not realize Reed would post so quickly after I sent him my little story!

    Thanks all for the comments. I did take guitar lessons from Joe for 3 years, and played in a pretty serious rock and roll band…every other Thursday night at the Decade, as well as regular shows at the Attic, Nicks Fat City (south side), some Graffiti shows, etc. Sadly all these clubs do not exist anymore!!

    Then I realized music was not going to pay the bills…got a PhD and am basically a data scientist now. Living in Philly for the last 20 years. (Which as an aside, damn going to the ACC…I used to drive 3 minutes to see Pitt play at “nova when in the Big East; take the Amtrak to MSG for many games, went to Rutgers once or twice for games too…now? Pitt is now the closest place I can see them play. I have gone to just about every Navy football game though in the past 10 years…great place to see a game the Navy fans as sooo polite!).


  25. Wait a second DD, you’re not getting away with that. If you don’t want to tell us the band name, which I wish you would, at least drop a hint or three. ike


  26. Ha, nice. It started as the North Neville Blues Band, then just Neville Street Groove. Yes we all lived on North Neville “street” (for those in the know, you know the place I am talking about…there is no actual street there, north of Centre Ave.). Used to trade off Thursday nights at the Decade with Blackfish (an awesome band of the time…and they actually still play every now and then in the ‘burgh).

    And before that, I was in a band that went nowhere…expect our bass player, upon breaking up, joined a band called Rusted Root!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I honestly thought Rusted Root may have been in this story. Seemed around the right timeline. That must have been at the very end of some of those bars. The Attic was just getting started though. This can’t be the group Blackfish could it?


  28. Listened to Chris Peake’s interview of Greg Gattuso as a preview for our opener. Greg said he liked his job at Maryland but wanted to be in charge of a program and run it with his “friends.”

    Just sayin’…

    He said Albany has a running back who is an All-American at their level… Greg had fond memories of the 13-9 game and said he has a photo of the final scoreboard in his office…

    Go Pitt


    1. Just more evidence pf the lack of exposure of Pitt FB. I know this is dated but isn’t something that WVU averaged over 120,000 more viewers than Pitt did in the BE? Fact is that Pgh TV market is not only split, it has many viewers who can care less about college FB.

      Even nowadays with ACC Regional ,,, many of us may not realize that Pitt is not shown in many of the markets, especially in the ACC footprint where the southern teams are the priority.

      Even in Cleveland sometimes, I had to watch Pitt on computer when other ACC regional games were shown on TV instead



  29. Re: the students at Pitt and their interest in football post-graduation.

    I haven’t seen it mentioned in recent comments about students at Pitt over the last 10 years, but when I look through the PITT Alumni magazine that gets sent out, I see a lot of pictures of groups of students. It appears to me that quite a few of these students are foreign students, which likely study at Pitt then go elsewhere without much affinity to any sports programs.

    Does anyone have access to any statistics that show how many foreign students Pitt has had over the last decade? I suspect (but have no data) that foreign students may be a growing percentage of the Pitt student body. I would then suggest that this may be part of the cause of reduced Pitt alumni support of Pitt football.


    1. it’s not only foreign students … when I was working in Pgh, I knew a handful of Pitt alums that could care less about Pitt FB but were Steeler season ticket holders … or were big Steelers fans

      Pitt is not a large school enrolment-wise in comparison to its competitors, has a larger percentage of commuters than most, and an undefined campus dispersed among hospitals and public / commercial businesses. On a regular campus, and especially with an OCS, more students are likely to attend games.

      And having said all of this, Pitt FB is much more dependent on alums and the general population. As Reed said, there is need for more community involvement and interest but it s not an easy task …. especially with Steelers lurking.



        1. How many Pitt alums have spouses, children, and/or friends and relatives they could talk into going to a Pitt game? Now take that number into account and expand the Pittsburgh Metro area to Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene and Westmoreland counties to put them within 60 miles of Heinz Field. Southwestern Pennsylvania is known for its passion for football. Out of a population of 2.2 MILLION people in metro Pittsburgh, there’s no excuse not to have at least 50,000 people at every Pitt game. NONE. Not with one of the cheapest per game and season ticket cost in the country!


  30. NOLA, your point is well taken and follows a prior post of mine about the changing demographics of college students. Most universities are going to a 60% in-state, 30% out of state, and 10% international mix. The reason is that the internationals typically pay 3 times more tuition to attend. Most do not care about sports and do not attend football games. An issue not addressed is that some of the internationals are getting accepted into colleges and they have lower scores than in-state students and the school admits an international student anyway, to help drive revenue. Scary precedent!

    Tx – Would be great to get an updated report. The analysis is tricky and I would love to read the subjectivities from an actuarial standpoint to better understand or if you could make a clearer hypothesis, instead of a point in time analysis only. Great stuff.


    1. Conferences used to look to TV market size and size of fanbase as criteria for new members. Once these TV contracts expire in 2026, the streaming environment takes over. Cable is dead and Amazon is King. If the college landscape changes again, football is thought to create a 40 school league. The top brands get invited and those with the largest fanbases. As of now, Pitt doesnt stand a chance.

      Pitt needs to grow more fans. 30 years of ignoring sports has resulted in a contracting fanbase while other schools devoted resources and have expanded their numbers.

      Pitt also will always be challenged because it is a smaller school in an urban environment. Its not a land grant institution or school representing the entire state. And people in WPA support pro teams over college.

      I have seen that Pitt does draw good TV ratings nationally. Maybe its the Steelers effect. Whether this continues and would help build its case for inclusion in a streaming environment is debatable.


  31. FWIW, I would be unconcerned about Gattuso being a Nitter. I thought he was an excellent and loyal assistant while at Pitt. My only concern is that his only HC jobs were Duquesne and Albany … which are D3 and D2 level jobs.


    Liked by 1 person

  32. Seniors Alex Bookser and Seun Idowu were selected to rep Pitt at the ACC pre-season Kick-off meetings causing the following tweet:

    Scott Orndoff@Orndoff8471
    Scott Orndoff Retweeted Pitt Football
    Who would’ve thought that Seun Idowu would go from a walk-on, who wasn’t even invited to fall camp as a freshman, to representing Pitt at the ACC Kickoff.

    Apparently, he wasn’t even a preferred walk-on but just a walk-on. I believe he was 2nd team ACC last year. Big kudos to the kid from NA


  33. Pitt does well nationally because of the mass outmigration from Pittsburgh when the steel industry collapsed, bringing down many other business and job opportunities. Same reason Steeler Nation is so strong. Should be a lot of Pitt grads in the south so maybe the ACC does make sense.Need those Pitt and Pittsburgh people to start showing up for away games.

    Getting more of the Pittsburgh at large fans to attend is the solution. SP knew that and his change to Pittsburgh was with hope to do that and also get rid of all the negatives associated with Pitt. Obviously it was an epic fail especially for football attendance, but basketball did fine.

    Another problem with attendance is the double edged sword of corporately owned season tickets. Good for cash flow but the seats go empty when the team does not perform, plus tickets are also given to opposing fans much of the time. This really hurts because these are prominent seats in the lower bowl.

    In any case, Pitt needs to develop more fans from the community at large, and the most important factor is becoming a winner. That is what Pittsburgh expects and is used to. The Pirates and Pitt Basketball are proof of that. The Steelers are a cult because of their sustained excellence. People go to their games expecting a win.

    Pitt administration has always been happy to have a team just show up, no priority has ever been set for winning. Pitt got very lucky with Howland then Dixon, they both did more with less.

    We can only hope that there has been a real change and that Pitt now wants to win. Only time will tell.


  34. I do have a serious question. I’ve done a little research. Could be wrong, but where does the “ PSU has more alumni in Alleg. Co than Pitt does” come from. Not according to anything I could find. Am I wrong?


    1. If memory serves …. PSU has more alums living in Allegheny County than any other county in the world. (at least it did at one time – not sure if it still does)

      Anyway, this was misconstrued by many into PSU had more alums in the county. I may be wrong but this is what I remember reading about it many years ago.



      1. correct
        PSU has about 25k in Allegheny
        Pitt has about 90k in Allegheny
        Google or go to their FaceBook pages…thats where I got the figures
        Crazy Paco on Pantherlair also pointed out the figures…pointed out the Nitter lies.


  35. Ya, they seem to twist fact and run with it. This has been often repeated and said loud enough that people believe its true. Just once I would like someone to get the facts correct. Boy, do I hate them!


  36. I am still a big fan of tarping the top half of the upper decks and certainly not selling them as season tickets.

    Somehow Heather needs to figure out how to get the lower bowl packed. Maybe make the upper deck general admission for most games so that people gravitate to the lower seats.

    But the long term answer is winning.


  37. No matter who has more alumni, PSU does have many, and many that go to their games each week.

    We should be proud that Pitt has surpassed their SAT scores, maybe not good for football, but at least we are winning at something important.


  38. One of my neighbors kids went to PSU because she couldn’t get into Pitt.

    Another was wait listed at Pitt but accepted at PSU. She waited.


  39. Can anyone please tell me just what Pitt is doing RIGHT NOW to sell football tickets for the coming season? I haven’t seen a single advertisement at this point. These tickets won’t sell themselves. Maybe Heather should look at her own shop if she is wondering why there aren’t more fannies in the seats.


    1. Why isn’t HCPN out beating the alumni bushes?
      Harrisburg, Lancaster, Scranton, etc.
      Who cares how many show up?
      It will generate exposure; it will show he wants to reach out to the fans; and maybe folks with only marginal interest will be motivated to show up and subsequently head to a game.

      Liked by 2 people

  40. Unfortunately the schedule will be a hard sell other than the PSU fans buying tickets. I wonder if there is the frenzy of two years ago, when Pitt thought ticket sales were going great because of the season tickets sold to nitters.

    Who are the marquis players going to be. Will they risk making Pickett and Ford the poster boys. Wirginis and Idowu are hardly household names. Last year the poster boys were suspended.

    Marketing is definitely a challenge after a 5-7 year with no apparent stars and the coach maintaining a low profile.

    Definitely a lack of any buzz so far.


  41. I think as far as marketing goes PITT should put all their eggs in the Pickett basket.. but seriously I really think he’s their best bet.


  42. I have this sick feeling that season ticket sells will be up because of PSU but actual attendance will be down for all games but PSU. It may help Pitt revenue some but the perception remains due to the large amount of empty yellow seats at all other games. wwb

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Well, we’d look like idiots if we featured Ford in preseason ads considering he’s never played a down in college ball yet and he doesn’t play like a star.

    We really don’t have any one or two kids to your as true star players which is a problem for the team itself.

    Pickett would make a good poster boy I suppose but we really haven’t seen star play from him save one game.

    That would be like touting Hall based on one Duke game.

    We will probably just throw out a bunch of players for the ads.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Idowu was the leading tackler and Bookser is the best OL, but neither is poster material IMO. Too bad the Legend missed almost all of last year, wwb


  44. Probably go with the seniors, Wirginis , Bookser, Idowu, Zeise, Ollison etc. Just not very sexy, but safe.

    If you go with young guns Picket and Ford and they don’t produce you really look stupid and have to live with it for the next couple years.


  45. The Pirate demise should hopefully have some people interested in an alternative live sports experience that is at about the same cost. Pitt needs to figure out a way to get the word out to fill that void!


  46. No one cares the next year about the previous years marketing. You go with the young and innocent in this case. Nothing spells excitement like a young QB with a few years of eligibility in his future. Other that him you have a future NFL player in Wirginis. If this guy can stay out of stoopid self-inflicted BS, you can mark that down.


    1. Ike – Let’s make a bet about him in the NFL. At his age he should be in his second year in pros if he was that good.


        1. Not me – I wrote an article with the arrest report in it and was criticized for doing so…like because he plays football the truth shouldn’t be know. He got off too lightly IMO.


  47. because he’s a good football player. Maybe you could market the walk-on back-up kicker or place holder who gets great grades…… BTW, I understand Wirginis is not as dumb as he acts. << I hear he’s a smart 22 year old kid that some have as almost medicare eligible.


    1. Take the bet then Ike. Heather has done some great things but let’s not crown her yet. Fundraising and Marketing has been atrocious. PSU Fans will buy the tickets and throw away the rest and guess what we get? 30k at home games.


  48. I have to laugh Mark. So the bet is QW becomes a steamboat captain before he collects a NFL paycheck. I’m all in. 🙂 You’re goofy.. ike 🙂


    1. Ike – with his family he may already have his Coast Guard Masters License. In that case you already lose. Assuming steamboat means the bigger clipper ships – not a lot of steam boilers moving boats around much thees days – too dangerous.

      Believe me – I wrote the Coast Guard inspection policy on steam boats (updated that one actually) but all the DUKWS you see in Pittsburgh – I wrote the initial national policy for those inspections. That’s what happens when you get kicked upstairs to HQ.


  49. hmmmm, wirginis and bookser, or a walk-on. Marketing should be easier.

    I would highlight the historical stalwarts generationally with Donald, Shady, Larry, Reavis, may, marino, hugh, ricky, heyward, lewis, with a “who’s next” tag line? At that point you can fill in the blank with anyone that shows well. Seriously though, isn’t this the exact problem we have been talking about for the last 25 years on here? Do we have a defender that will hit an opponent really hard? I haven’t seen a hard hit on defense for a long, long time.


  50. I just don’t get it. Thousands of yellow seats, and they are holding out for the Nitter season ticket sale. It is safe to say that they could sell 10,000 individual seats for every game but Pedo and would not need to worry about a shortage of seats for season ticket sales. Doesn’t it make sense to sell individual tickets now at higher value than to give them away on game week?


  51. Does a swing and a miss count with Hurley as great? He used the AD and she was the victim of lack of experience. We got Capel on a rebound of a missed AD shot. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the hire and wish our football HC spent as much time on the road recruiting as our bball hc, but let’s call the original miss, a miss. She got it wrong with Hurley…..and perhaps others. But it’s about how you finish, so keeping fingers crossed with the other coaches. Capel III will be great!

    Now, signs indicate that we are spending more on coaching talent. The next part is whether she makes the right choices. Spending more should get you more, generally.


  52. PITT season ticket holders were able to buy up to eight extra general seating tickets to the psu games, believe me, they are out there working. I don’t mind criticisms of PITT but let’s talk about what we know rather than what we don’t. Please.


  53. Good article from Mr. Anon – informative and disappointing at the same time.

    Mired in mediocrity for 35 years makes no sense to me. Bad choices by bad administrators – simple as that. Our school is a fine university (not great) that has a rich FB tradition that gets lost because the school chooses not to take advantage of that fact for marketing purposes. Bookser and Idowu were chosen to represent Pitt at the ACC preseason hype meetings starting July 18th. Two good choices by Duzz and both SR’s.

    I am of the mindset that Duzz does have a plan, he just chooses not to share it with the public – remember he is learning on the job as he was NEVER a HC. He has stuck with his D system to the point of near embarrassment. This is his year to breakout – tough schedule, but not impossible. I’m sure AD Lyke knows the plan – the Pitt AD needs to spend some money on billboards (at the minimum) to get the colors, name and faces in front of the fringe fan. It will also excite the fans who do support the team.

    Read the following in the Sporting News this morning while eating my Breakfast of Champions as I prepped for my weekend of golf – check out the Team to Watch (singular) –

    “Best nonconference games
    Alabama vs. Louisville, Sept. 1 (Orlando). Nick Saban is 11-0 in openers with Alabama, and it’s the Cardinals’ turn to take their shot in a neutral-site game at Orlando.

    LSU vs. Miami, Sept. 1 (Arlington). The Hurricanes can erase the sting of last season’s season-ending three-game slide with a big nonconference victory against the Tigers at Jerry World.

    Penn State at Pitt, Sept. 8. The in-state rivals have traded victories in the last two meetings. It’s a statement game for the Panthers and a potential early stumbling block for the Nittany Lions.

    Clemson at Texas A&M, Sept. 8. Dabo, meet Jimbo. Jimbo, meet Dabo. Oh, that’s right. …

    Team to watch
    Pitt. The Panthers have shown a knack for pulling big upsets under Pat Narduzzi, but they haven’t been consistent enough to win the Coastal Division. If the Panthers weather a tough nonconference schedule that includes Penn State, UCF and Notre Dame, that could give this team the confidence to challenge Virginia Tech and Miami.”

    September 8th – the nits will no longer be known as the stumbling cats, they will be 1-1 and ranked just outside the top ten. Pitt will not be ranked, but they will be 2-0. Morehead will be forever missed by Franky.



    1. Rick – it took me (and every other successful military officer) about four weeks to learn how to become a good Commanding Officer – either you have the inherent skills for leadership, strategy and tactics or you don’t.

      I wonder very much if PN does hold those skills. We are in year four and you yahoos are not holding his feet to the fire for the (sometimes) ridiculous mistakes he’s made. No one of any quality takes three full years to learn how to do their job…especially if they have been at a immediate lower level for 10+ years as Narduzzi was as a coordinator..


  54. ike, so how would non-season ticket holders know that they can buy extra Pedo seats if they don’t advertise this? The goal should be to add season ticket holders, not just retain what they have. It goes back to marketing and I don’t see any. As an alum I should be getting flooded with ticket offers, and I don’t get any.


  55. Erie – Exactly. The main word from teams to watch is confidence to take on the ACC. You get confidence by scheduling correctly, which we don’t.

    I looked a PSN and in the background of one of their pictures is a block PITT with colors that are different than what everyone knows as Pitt. I don’t get it. I will buy them some new paint. Make all the changes in colors now and start re-creating the Brand that is PITT. These are easy changes.

    Billboards, tvads, mailings, etc. Maybe the plan is to hold back on all of that and when the new budget hits on July 1st, go crazy! Oh, it’s July 7th.


    1. They will never have a singular “brand” because that would cut down of apparel sales which is a prime source of income especially because our donations are so small – we need every dollar we can wring out of something. – this is why we keep changing uniforms and looks every few years – so the Pitt fans will go out and buy the latest ‘Pitt gear”.

      The monster schools like Alabama, PSU, OSU etc… can tell the apparel companies to go pound sand – but you’ll notice the not so rich schools don’t have that power and so do these changes all the time.


  56. I bought tickets for the Clemson vs Pitt football game through the Clemson ticket office. Have been getting emails from their ticket office, via email, for all sports since then. As a former season ticket holder for both football and BB, at Pitt, haven’t received anything about buying tickets in quite some time.


    1. What does former mean? Maybe they think you are no longer with us? How about buying tickets and get back with us?? 😉


  57. Thanks for the accolades regarding Pitt and it’s fan base.

    I’d like to address a few comments made.

    There is a definite plan for the football program as well as the basketball programs. Money is being paid for staffing with the changes. Pitt wants these programs to succeed.
    I have had discussions about the marketing plans due to concerns of mine from a recent trip to the area. I was told what the current plan is, why, and told some of the suggestions were good ones that need to be addressed. Pitt officials honestly care and are trying some avenues not readily apparent. Give them a little time.
    Fans are incredibly wrong to mock or denigrade young guys who are working hard to improve and develop as a team. It is disgraceful to cite a kid by name and mock him. Talk about your positional concerns not the kid or his family. It disgusts me and a hell of a lot of us.
    No coach worth anything in trying to rebuild a program is going to lay out everything for public consumption. A corporate CEO plays PR, not actual strategies. PN does have a plan and Lyke’s support. He can’t be out glad handing alumni except in certain events as he has a staff to coordinate, recruiting evaluations, recruiting, supervising preparations, and planning. What, he should do the laundry too?
    Corporate ticket sales have done fine for Pitt revenue. The key is being successful on the field that those corporate people and/or their guests want to show up using the tickets.
    On the subject of the Golden Panthers, it had a major figure who I knew in John Conomikes. He was the driver of money and love of Pitt football. John died a few years ago. He ran WTAE and Hearst Broadcasting while refusing to leave Pittsburgh. You don’t find people like John too often. He was the person who negotiated with Johnny Majors to come to Pitt in 1972 and kept Jackie over hiring Jimmy Johnson. New people need to step up.
    Be kind with each other! Pitt needs less bellyaching and more civility along with physical and financial support.

    This comes from an old guy who would rather Pitt drop all athletics rather than engage in cheating or failing to raise Pitt’s academic reputation.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Disagree!

      As CEO he can pound the rubber chicken circuit to generate enthusiasm!
      In the age of private jets, ten evenings a year won’t reek havoc with recruiting and game planning.
      If he is to be the CEO, the face of Pitt Football, then it’s not to much to ask for him to press the flesh, especially when his clandestine practices and snarky interviews haven’t warmed-up the paying customer.


    2. Best comments I’ve read in a while. After a while we just bitch to hear ourselves bitching. I am convinced this Pitt leadership is different and will do most anything to succeed (without cheating).

      Pickett is the best QB we’ve had in years and will lead us to a terrific season!


    3. Old Anon – unless there are two John Conomikes the man you refer as having passed away a few years back is alive and well. He was interviewed a couple weeks ago on the passing of long time weather icon Joe Denardo. And also on the retirement of news anchor Sally Wiggin.



    1. That’s an old photo TX.

      Win and the yellow seats start to disappear – Duzz knows that and he has incorporated into his plan for success.

      Pitt fans need a plan for patience.

      Strive for perfection; acheive excellence.



        1. I correct myself. Its block and not script
          And I’ll respectfully disagree that winning will eliminate yellow at Heinz
          When Pitt was elite, old Pitt Stadium averaged 52k in a 56k stadium
          Any way you look at it, besides the Pedo State game when 25k Nitters invade, Heinz will always have 20k yellow seats
          But there is a solution called tarping


  58. In this day and age of computers and social media it would seem to be in the realm of possibility for corporate tickets to be put to use. A system could be put in place for corporate tickets that aren’t being used to be placed in a pool accessible to non ticket holders that would result in more people at the game and potentially more future Pitt fans. Certain groups such school children, scouts, church groups and their families, etc could be targeted. Why let unused corporate tickets go to waste?


  59. I’m a rare breed, for whatever reason my dad and especially my uncle became rabid Pitt fans. Neither went to college. My uncle told me I surpassed him as the biggest Pitt fan he knows. He has a framed cover of the ‘76 Pitt is it SI cover. I asked him to leave it to me in his will, he said sorry, that’s going in the ground with me. He’s my dad’s brother and my godfather. Lol. Sadly most ppl in this town think football is only played on Sunday. In the south Sunday is “race day”, Saturday is football. As long as the Steelers exist that will never change. My family is a rare breed, my brother ultimately ended up a Pitt grad, but our fandom goes back to the late 50’s…


  60. Heather didn’t invent the pop give away. It’s from years ago. At least be honest when running down a person. It makes you look not so smart. << git it?


    1. I’m being honest. But Pitt continued the practice and it finally made national headlines in a bad way. Compliance people need to stick to Compliance. Try telling that to Pitt. I dont think they ‘git’ Marketing.

      Just like yellow seats and they refuse to tarp. Just like closed practices and they refuse to open somewhat. Just like still to this day you find script and block and different colors.

      Marketing is very important for image, identity and increasing brand equity. Perception is reality.

      3 things an AD does:
      1. hire and fire coaches; more importantly holds coaches accountable for results
      2. develops a marketing plan to execute an overall branding strategy and to drive revenues
      3. raises funds to support the program and engages the student body, alumni and benefactors
      4. ensures compliant operations

      If we are grading Heather,
      she gets an incomplete for the 7 new coaches she has hired
      she gets a D for marketing
      she gets a D for fundraising
      she gets an A for compliance but gets lowered to a C for the KS buyout

      I dont think I’m being too harsh. In fact I’m grading on a curve relative to Cornhole and Herman.


    2. Fanta was 100% Heather. It is okay to admit it was a national embarrassment Ike. Every news channel ran it. ESPN had a guy sleeping.


  61. Seems like right after any even semi-positive post, the negative Panthers pounce. .

    We get it! Everything Pitt does is mediocre, at best. How many times do we have to see the same stuff?

    Can’t wait til the season and maybe some new stuff to be negative about…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  62. Majors – How can we be positive? No one even knows a word about Football out the Pitt Atheltic Dept or local newspapers. It is as if there is no program. Zero zilch.


    1. I guess we should be grateful that Pitt just has a program

      I am grateful that Pitt finished ranked 111 in the Directors Cup. One of the worst showings for any P-5 school and no different than results from the previous 20 years

      I am grateful that Pitt hasnt won a championship in any program since 1976

      I am grateful that Pitt ranks near the bottom of ACC teams when it comes to athletic donations

      I am grateful that Pitt’s marketing plan was developed by the kiddos at Carrick Elemementary

      I am grateful that students get bussed over to Heinz

      I am grateful for free Fantas and 25k friendly yellow seats each game

      I am grateful that Pitt has no tennis courts or even a track and field for its track and field team

      I am grateful for truly understanding what middling and mediocre mean after watching the last 36 years of sports at Pitt

      But in seriousness, I am grateful that no major scandal has occurred. I am grateful that some of our programs seem to have turned the corner (mens soccer, womans volleyball, wrestling). I am grateful that KS was fired. I am grateful that we are at least discussing the Victory Heights initiative. I am grateful that Pitt continues to be a fine academic institution.


  63. @Major – Typically we see variations of the same thing because we only have three choices. Be positive, be negative or be middling. I don’t get the all positives since we are mired in a 35 year slump in football and haven’t won at a major sport in so long, it’s frightening. That leaves middling and negative comments which are appropriate.

    If Pitt athletics was a business, would you buy their stock based on their most recent 35 years performance. The answer is NO. Pitt athletics is a bad sports investment in both time, money and energy.

    The Steelers capitalized on Pitt’s losing and middling programs for 35 years. Interestingly, they both won big at the exact same time. The Steelers committed to continued success and Pitt was afraid to be successful. That is why many believe Sundays are for football in pixburgh.

    I think that can change and Pitt can pounce on the disposable income of pittsburgher’s who have become disgusted with the nfl product and the player’s political stances. Additionally, the Steelers window for winning a championship is just about ready to close (2 years) with Ben and company. The franchise will fall off dramatically in3 seasons. Why is Pitt not thinking ahead and jumping on this opportunity? I don’t get it.


    1. More money, facilities and the administration at Louisville is committed to be successful.

      Mr. Anonymous can tell us Pitt is committed, maybe more than they have been the past 35 years, but I’m sure April sees otherwise.

      Either that or she read Tx’s comments about her…after to heartbreaking loss to fsu in the ACC championship game.

      That will be a tough act to follow and an even tougher position to fill.


      1. I was not a fan of her decision to leave a pitcher in the game that was gassed. I’m not sad to see her leave and I dont think her players are either.


        1. She had success, so losing her hurts an Olympic sport. Hiring someone just as successful is far from a lock.


          1. 2013 8-14
            2014 6-18
            2015 11-13
            2016 8-14
            2017 7-17
            2018 16-6

            Holly’s record in the ACC
            Pitt also loses their best hitter and pitcher
            She saw the writing on the wall after Jordano


            1. OK, I didn’t realize the records. I thought she was fairly new to the job and left quickly.

              Another coach who can win can be found.


  64. Note that Louisville athletics ranks at or near the top in the amount revenue derived from their basketball program. Their KFC Yum arena sits > 22k and is always sold out in its basketball-crazed state, Of course, this in addition to the revenue that all ACC teams get from the TV contracts … and who knows just how much revenue it gets from merchandise sales and local media.

    Their OCS Papa John Stadium holds 55k (another Pitt pipe dream) … yet they only sold out once this year despite the presence of a Heisman winner. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t be surprised if their athletic budget ranks in the Top 20 in the NCAA despite the fact their enrollment is less than Pitt’s,

    Of course, their academic ranking is in the 160s. wwb


    1. when Pitino, who was one of the highest paid HCs, was fired …. they hired Xavier’s Chris Mack at reportedly > $4M per annum. The Ville obviously places it athletics program on a higher plateau than most others as evidenced on how long they abided with Pitino’s indiscretions (it took the FBI to finally force him out)



    2. Heinz was built to last 25 years before requiring major renovations as stated by the architects and engineers who designed and constructed the venue
      So in 10 years, will the Steelers commit to major structural renovations?
      Or will the Steelers begin plans to build a new stadium possibly further out in the suburbs?
      I ask because Pitt needs to know these answers
      Having little to no input on these decisions is concerning


    3. “Of course, their academic ranking is in the 160s.”

      Who cares? Who gets a fix from this? I don’t watch kids walking around campus and cheer them on as well as having memories from it like I do with athletics.


  65. Meanwhile, the Big 10 which on average derives more revenue from its athletics than any other conference also leads in sexual deviancy in its athletics.

    First, there was the Sandusky scandal, then the mess at MSU with the Olympic gymnastic doctor and other rape cover-ups, and now this …..

    In fairness, there was the FSU / Jameis Winston cover-up and of course, the Baylor farce …. but the Big 10 is starting to be a trend here


    1. Wow – and the BIG Joke conference continues to get much love by the TV and radio talking heads.

      Go figure!

      Answer me this question – why were the 112 PSUx FB forfeits under Paturdo reversed back to wins?


  66. What’s there to be positive about? I can ask the same question with a slightly different twist. What’s there to be negative about? Sounds like PITT is already 0-7 and the season hasn’t started yet. You tell on yourselves. ike


  67. ^^ I guess Narduzzi is now responsible for young lady’s staying up the whole night before partying. I have to admit, he really dropped the ball there.


    1. Ike – Tx is referring to the OK State drubbing last season. There are numerous pictures of fans sleeping through that game and embarrassing video on ESPN Sports Center.

      Me, I was too mad at the product Pitt displayed that day to fall asleep in the stadium.

      We are faced with another season of uncertainty and the bad tastes from 2017 won’t be washed away until a P5 victory on September 8th.



  68. What Pro team does Louisville compete against for attendance? Their lack of any ethics with guys like Pitino and Petrino are appalling. Can you imagine the media reaction to Pitt if it had similar behavior?

    Pitt’s reaction to the SI article was clearcut, fire the coach and clean house. Don’t think that Narduzzi faces a different set of recruiting standards. Everyone he recruits may not be squeaky clean, but I am sure he has been told no problem children. There is more evidence in the suspensions and dismissals.

    I disagree with anyone that thinks we should sacrifice ethical behavior for athletic wins. We don’t use hookers in the recruiting process or want a Jameis Winston to win a championship. We should be proud that Pitt didn’t make the list of schools with rapes on campus.

    You can never totally eliminate bad behavior, but you need to try and never look the other way when it happens.

    I would rather get bad press for poor attendance.


  69. Regarding the softball coach leaving Pitt, I am sorry to see her go, but if I am not mistaken Heather was an All-American softball player and worked as an analyst for college softball for ESPN for a while. So if there is any sport she would be eminently qualified to hire a replacement coach for, this would be it.


  70. TX keeps saying that Heinz Field was built to last 25 years. What structural renovations will be required?

    Three Rivers housed many more events with baseball and football before it needed renovated. The decision to tear it down was by choice, by the Steelers, when the Pirates decided they needed a baseball only facility.

    The Steelers will leave Pittsburgh before they ever move to Washington County.


    1. CompLit and I spoke with those who built Heinz. Remember we were the ‘original’ Blathers who championed this OCS cause. Ask HOK and they will tell you the same. Stadiums are not built by design these days to go over 25 years. There are many reasons behind this.

      Think of your car tires. They are built to last between 30 and 60,000 miles. Depends on price. If a tire manufacturer wanted, they could design and build one to last over 100,000…but they dont for good reason.

      More importantly, the game of football is changing. How it is viewed and how it is played. Teams are downsizing their stadiums, incorporating technology, trying to make the experience better than sitting at home. Heinz wasnt built for the game of football 20 years from now.


      1. You change your tires, you don’t throw away your car.

        So when the Steelers decide they want to renovate Heinz or build a new one, Pitt will make a decision, in twenty years.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Sad commentary, only the wealthy will be able to attend games, if that trend continues, Steelers are more likely to move out of state. Not enough money in this town to support a new stadium. Those stadiums are in much richer cities. Steelers know their market, I don’t see a big change until Rooney cashes in and sells to a multi-billionaire.


          2. Zero comparison between San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta and Pittsburgh.

            People here take second mortgages on their house to get a seat license.


        1. Exactly gc. It’s like my insurance company keeps on telling me that I should get a new life insurance policy as my current one runs out in the year 2048. wtf? I have no plans living that long. One of my many new found retirement motto’s is…. don’t do it today if you can put it off until tomorrow.


  71. Softball or not we lost our best coach today. She along with the Volleyball coach are top performers. Heather should of been proactive and secured her long term.


    1. I dont see this as a loss
      this is her 1st winning season in ACC play (career ACC record is 9-12)
      She is losing her best pitcher so reverting back to the mediocre baseline is expected in 2019
      and if you believe the message boards, Heather (a former ball player herself) did not see eye to eye.
      We lost a coach that choked in the ACC championship game and refused to pull her starting pitcher who was gassed
      Heather will find someone at half the cost and Pitt will achieve better long term results

      Pitts new men’s soccer coach is the best coach (proven history of winning and top 5 recruiting class)


      1. She made the ACC title game. Volleyball as well. Soccer who cares honestly but he struggled and had a few upsets. What was his overall record?


    2. Per Tx, she may have been encouraged to leave. I find that hard to believe when her last loss was in the ACC championship game verse the eventual NC.


    1. Good choice Ike. I believe Donnie Iris is as my first college concert I attended.

      Saw him many times thereafter – good group.


  72. With any sport, the head coach needs 4-5 years of recruiting before the program is officially transferred over, right? If so, the softball coach may have just turned the program around with the build. We can rightfully argue that her best players are going to graduate, but what is left in that tank? Does she have good players that she recruited in the pipeline?

    She will have a great recruiting story to potential Louisville recruits. She could have had a great story for future Pitt recruits. Louisville went after a hot (not physically) coach and one that was making waves in the ACC and got her.

    As far as recruiting and what is being done for recruits, please don’t assume that nothing “shady” is going on. C’mon fellas. There is no such thing as a squeaky clean program, only different levels of dirty. This is why Pitt needs to communicate their plan and say “based on the landscape in college football, basketball, baseball, soccer, etc., our expectations are “X” and live with it. A good AD knows what programs are like Louisville. The AD needs to explain it correctly in order to temper expectations and cover for their coaches instead of saying “we will win championships” and then pull in the reigns on competitive recruiting practices.

    I don’t personally mind joining in on some of the stuff that goes on. College athletics is sleazy. It just is. It’s mutual exploitation at its finest. Once you identify what it is and what you want to be in that landscape, execute. Quit misleading the fans who get excited and are being told we will compete for championships, when you know you are not doing what is needed to get championships. If you want to try and be queaky clean, own it, but then tell your fanbase what you are doing so that you don’t lie to them and take their money.

    Liked by 1 person

  73. I was not privy to the discussions that did away with Pitt Stadium. But I wonder what the long term thinking was as to the future of Pitt football knowing that Pitt would be beholding to the city and the Steelers. I considered Three Rivers Stadium a disaster for Pittsburgh sports. Pitt should stay aware of the city and Steeler plans.


    1. Multi use stadiums were the thing back then. It was good enough to house World Series, and Super Bowl Champion teams. Never did like it when Pitt was forced to play there for night games.


    2. There was no long term strategic thinking
      Pitt knew they could play in a pro stadium for the next 25 years and not worry about costly maintenance or raising funds and debt for building a new stadium
      An easy decision for Pitt to make from a short term economics perspective
      The only alternative at the time would have been to renovate Pitt Stadium. But, It would have been less costly to just demo and build a new stadium. Moreover, Pitt would have needed to find ways to finance this $250M endeavor
      There was a potential to create a Carrier dome like venue for both basketball and football
      Or create a brand new stadium and build the Pete on the OC lot
      Bottomline is that Pitt didnt have the stomach to develop a massive fundraising campaign, incur debt for facility construction, and the Steelers presented an opportunity that came with good upside
      Pitt has hitched themselves to the Steelers


  74. I went off the ACC record of Aprile provided by tx and not her full 9 year record. In 2009, Holly Aprile, took over as the head coach of the program. Aprile began her tenure by leading the team to three consecutive winning seasons, a first for the program to that point, and led the 2011 team to a single season school record of 34 wins that included a victory over national ranked Georgia Tech. On July 1, 2013, Pitt moved to the Atlantic Coast Conference. In 2015, Pitt reached the ACC Softball Tournament championship game and earned the program’s first NCAA tournament appearance on way to an appearance in the Regional Final and a program best 37-22 record. In 2017, after a 5-0 start to the season, Pitt received the first national ranking in the program’s history. Pitt won its first ACC Coastal Division championship in 2018.

    All from wikipedia which is never wrong (sigh).


    1. I focused on ACC play and record within conference. Softball wins are padded by a weak OOC schedule. Much like what Dixon used to do. In her 10 years as HC, she reached the playoffs…ONCE.


    2. Speaking of Wiki:
      Dan Fisher era
      Pitt entered the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013[18] with a new head coach, Dan Fisher, who led Concordia University-Irvine to the 2012 NAIA National Championship with an overall two-year record of 72–2.[19] Fisher led Pitt to a 5th-place finish in its first year in the ACC, exceeding pre-season expectations that had Pitt picked to finish 13th in the conference, and improved to 25–6 in his second year. He led the Panthers back to the NCAA tournament in 2016 and 2017, as well as to the programs first ACC conference championship in 2017 for which he received ACC and AVCA East Coast Region Coach of the Year honors.[20][21]

      If Pitt lost this woman’s coach, it would be major news.


  75. addressing Huff the Third in particular: I believe your premise to be true enough yet I will always stick with caution to what I do not know. Maybe you know more about the softball coach and her relationship with the PITT AD than I do? I will however say when it comes to judging a softball program I have to ask, do we know better than a former woman’s college softball player?

    PITT certainly participates in tactics that could be considered unsavory and leaning hard against the collegiate rules but when it comes to the big boy cheaters they are not willing to compete like that and I for one of many of us am glad they walk that line instead of crossing it. It makes winning soooooo much sweeter! ike


  76. What was the number 1 reason why Stallings was fired? Hint: it was NOT the 0-19 ACC record. It was the overall state of the program, the empty seats at the Pete and the lack of excitement for the future. If a new coach went 0-19 in his first year and sold this result as a necessary part of the building process he would be here today. It shouldn’t be different with Narduzzi or any other Pitt coach.


    1. it was the worst attendance since 1982
      in a large part due to a 0-25 acc record
      revenue shortfalls or simple economics were the reason
      money talks


  77. Good Point. Narduzzi in year 4 needs to perform and just as importantly create a buzz with more tickets sold.


    1. another season with 36k avg attendance and Narduzzi will be gone
      Some of it is on him but much is on Heather
      If winning will help, then Narduzzi needs to think of ways to cheat like everyone else
      I dont need a very sweet tasting cake that uses pure cane sugar in the recipe
      I’d rather take my cake savory and 10 times per year instead of 5


  78. Reed, you stumbled on the reason I took that bet. If it ain’t using steam to power the boat then it ain’t a steamboat imo.


  79. One of the reasons that Narduzzi doesn’t go out and press the flesh with a “Head Coach Roadshow” is that when he did that back in 2015 right after he was hired the meetings were as flat as a deflated balloon – I know I went to two of them. They lasted about 45 minutes at the most – almost all posing for photos.

    I don’t believe he has done any since then.

    And no – I didn’t get my picture taken with him…


  80. There is absolutely no buzz surrounding the football program, not from the coaching standpoint, not from players, it’s just flat. Contrast that with basketball where there is a juice. Coaches, players, it is a buzz you can almost feel.

       I think a lot of this comes from the Duzz’s background. After so many years in the BiG where football sells itself he may think that’s the way to do things. Honestly, does anyone feel a buzz about football. We all love it, want it to start, but can you really say there is that electricity surrounding the program? No superstar players, no iconic head coach, no real pub. If you were an average Pittsburgher would this motivate you to get off the coach and fill a yellow seat? 
    Also, I sure hope the powers that be don’t feel the way some on here do, that the Duzz has to produce 7-8 wins this year or he may be gone, cause that is simply not in the cards. If they win 6 it will be a good year. They just don’t have the talent to match up with the schedule. Friends, I’m much more optimistic about this team than most, but 6 wins is a stretch.


  81. There most definitely is a BUZZ surrounding the Pitt Football Program this year. For the want of a better name I’ll refer to it as the “Pickett Buzz”.


  82. The Sporting News seems to have a BUZZ about Pitt too – just came across this piece over lunch today –

    Pitt picked 3rd in the Coastal Division behind miami and vt. Pitt also picked as a “Sleeper” team to win the Coastal after being battle tested by psux and nd.

    As tough as Pitt played vt and miami last year when the team was going through a down year, why not Pitt? The D should be improved and the O has to be better than last year. VT has major secondary issues with 2 or 3 starters out for this season and 2 who left for the NFL. Miami is better, except maybe at QB. Again, why not Pitt?


  83. ^^ Chuckle chuckle. Most likely NR. To say that the POV errors on the side of caution is the understatement of the century. You should be careful guys and let me take the bullets for being positive. Only because I want to have the biggest chuckle at the end of the line. Reed, I’ll spare you “The Weight” again and throw this one in there as it’s where we all meet one fine day. ike


  84. Are there really people out there disputing that the soda give away was not originated by Heather but had been in place for a couple of years before? I thought some of you would have learned after the fake news vacation BS? Guess not..


  85. Did anyone else receive their ‘< 1000 season tickets remain’ email? Methinks PSU fans have stepped up and we will see many yellows seats again this year except for PSU.



    1. I wonder if PSU fans had to buy tickets for two other Pitt games like Smiley implemented on opposing fans long time ago?


      1. no, I’m implying that many of them actually bought season tickets just to see the PSU game. ‘Less than 1000 season tickets remain’


      2. Back in 2013, we sat next to a couple ND fans. They showed up for the opener vs FSU and the ND game. Otherwise, those seats were empty


  86. Aside from my two season tickets I bought 4 extra tickets to the psu game to keep them out of those Pedo enabling hands. They are now spoken for, by PITT fans and alumni.

    I expect an epic Fran tailgate and one crazy night.


  87. I also received the 1000 season tickets remain and thought at first it said 10000. To me that seemed more likely. Ike, one helluva tailgate coming up. Planning the song playlist..haha.


  88. PSU tailgate will be a Duzzy…we ALL need to hook up. Would love to meet the folks who posted the bios…I feel like I know them and it’s time to put a face to the name…start planning …gameday will be here before we know it. Fran told me Herbstreit, Lee Coro and the ESPN Gameday crew will be setting their stage in Red parking lot 5 with the POVers in the background…start working on those signs to hold for the nation to see the Panther is on the Prowl …hope to meet yinz there.

    Fran, I am drinking several of “whatever suits me” on Thursday in honor of you finishing the race !!!


    1. so the Pitt-PSU game is ESPN Gameday? I must have missed that. Great

      Let’s hope we get better results than the last one in Pgh


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