Now if they could just add some Verve and Charisma they’d really have something cooking…Heyoo!
In all seriousness though, I and many others on this blog have long railed against Pitt’s seeming ineptitude in the fundraising department. As evidenced by this:
Well someone in the Athletic department is either reading this blog, or they’ve finally come around to realizing that nothing is going to change if they don’t change something, and so action has been taken.
The result of this action was the hiring of Brady Hart as the “Senior Associate AD for Development”. In other words, we now (finally) have a dude on the staff who is getting paid to convince important and wealthy people to give Pitt money. Hopefully a lot of it.
Per Pitt’s Press release:
Hart, who spent the previous two years as an Associate Athletics Director at UCF, will be instrumental in the major gift strategy, staff development and initiatives for Pitt Athletics while also serving in a leadership role for an array of department-wide fundraising efforts.
Hart comes to Pitt by way of UCF and the University of Buffalo. And whilst UCF kicked Pitt’s a** all over the field last season, the move to Pitt is ostensibly a step up in class. Based on the job description above, Hart’s new role certainly seems like a step up in scope, and as fans we can only hope that Hart is up to the task.
Per Pitt’s AAD for Philanthropy and Engagement (i.e. Hart’s new boss), Chris McFarlane:
[Brady’s] development alongside some of the best athletics administrators in the country has turned Brady into one of the brightest rising stars in our industry. I’m incredibly excited to add someone of Brady’s caliber to our team in such an important capacity. I look forward to incorporating his passion and expertise as we continue to elevate the student-athlete experience and transform the competitive landscape for Pitt Athletics.
So do we.
Chris goes on:
Hart utilized his relationship building and revenue-generating background to build the Premium Sales division for UCF Athletics. He developed and led one of the most creative and innovative programs in college athletics, adding nearly $700,000 in new annual revenue for the Knights.
Considering that UCF’s average attendance in 2018 was just north of 42,000 fans, and that was up from 36,000 in 2016 and 2017, Hart should be gunning for at least a million at Pitt. Of course it will help if Narduzzi can figure out how to rattle off 25 straights wins and beat Auburn in a BCS bowl. Nonetheless, Hart should have something to work with considering that our home attendance was up 15% last year, averaging just north of 44,000. (Even though we won just a paltry 7 games…)
Hart brings some impressive credentials to Pitt:
- Associate Athletic Director Job at G5 School, with track record of Success. Check.
- Five years at MAC school (Buffalo) with increasing responsibilities. Check.
- Graduate Assistantship at Ohio University for nearly two years. Check.
- Development assistant role at Cal State University. Check.
- Ivy League Education and Football Experience. Check.
- Hails from State College, PA. Wait What???
As an inherent optimist, I’m going to be required to take the position of “Well maybe he grew up hating Penn State, since he was surrounded by it”, but I can tell you that I feel dirty doing it. Real dirty. I grew up in rural Pennsylvania. I know how it is. And if this guy ain’t Catholic (i.e. a Notre Dame fan…and this is the ONLY religious discussion I will tolerate on this board), then his mom probably has bumper sticker on her car that says “If God isn’t a Penn State Fan then why is the Sky Blue?”
God, I hate that bumper sticker.
But lets hope that I’m wrong. Lets hope Hart becomes a Pitt Man and fills Pitt’s coffers to the brim. And lets hope he sticks around for a while, because Pittsburgh is a hell of a town. And lets hope that deep down he really does hate Penn State, if only because Joe Pa wouldn’t let him walk on.
Hail to Pitt
PS – I have no idea if Joe Pa would have let him walk on or not, nor do I have any idea if Hart even wanted to walk on, but I thought that closing statement had a hell of a ring to it. If any of you happen to be contacted by Mr. Hart for premium seating, or a donation, or anything else, feel free to ask him about it. I’m sure he’s got some stories to tell.