Here is an article from Sports Illustrated dated Oct 28, 1963… just a small history lesson for the not-so-old Pitt fans. I’m dating myself but I can remember many booze and tobacco fueled conversations my parents and their friends had on this, and other, Pitt football subjects when I was a kid.

The closest the University of Pittsburgh football team ever came to being described as “fascinating”—at least in the last 50 years—was the time a New York sportswriter wrote that to see the Panther offense was like watching a very resourceful, very dedicated man rake leaves. Then, just the other day, in the flush of some extraordinary current events, the Pitt team wrung from the press box the most honored of wire service clichés, “razzle-dazzle.” If the writer’s fingers did not tremble as he wrote of the Pitt offense he was either marble-hearted or under 12. But he was accurate.

Delivered from monotony by the newly distinguished one-two-three punch of Quarterback Fred Mazurek, Coach John Michelosen John_Michelosen[1]and Chancellor Edward H. Litchfield (necessarily in that order), the fascinating, palpitating Panthers, best team in the East, surprise team of the nation, last week won their fourth straight game. Pittsburgh had won its first four games only once since 1938, when Jock Sutherland was the coach. Sutherland’s idea of razzling and dazzling was to run off right tackle on one play, then cross up the opposition by running off left tackle the next, but he was a winner and, though they have tried very hard, Pittsburgh followers have been a long time forgetting it.

The fourth victory was accomplished Saturday in Morgantown, W. Va., where Pitt defeated West Virginia University 13-10. The victory was more impressive than the score indicates. In four of the last six years that these two schools have met, Pitt was favored to win and did not. At times last Saturday the Panthers seemed unhappily aware of the hex West Virginia has on them and played a stiff, safe and uninspired game, but when they had to move the ball—at the outset and in the fourth period, when they were behind—they threw passes and took chances, offensive components formerly considered one and the same by Pitt coaches and looked upon with brooding suspicion. Once they ran on fourth and one inside their 20—and made it. They threw 12 passes, nine by the accomplished little roll-out artist, Mazurek, and now have averaged 21.8 passes a game. This is almost double the pleasure over previous years—11 more a game than they threw last year and, at the projected rate, 100 a year more than ever.

Against UCLA in the first game this season, Mazurek passed three times in the first five plays. Ultimately Pitt threw 28 passes, completed 16 for 227 yards, added 202 rushing (the offense is beautifully balanced) and won in a breeze 20-0. The next week 21 Pitt passes helped beat Washington 13-6. On one there was a mad shuffle of handoffs and Quarterback Mazurek wound up racing down-field to catch an 11-yarder from Halfback Paul Martha. Pure carnival. Late in the fourth quarter Mazurek, with a 13-6 lead to play cozy with, rolled out from the Pitt 15 and actually passed for a first down. “Jock Sutherland is spinning in his grave,” said a Pittsburgh sportswriter, who could not believe his eyes. “Jock Sutherland does not buy season tickets,” said Pitt Publicist Beano Cook, who had not believed it either but adapts quickly. The next week Pitt passed on five of the first seven plays and routed California 35-15. “Just what I had in mind,” beamed Chancellor Litchfield. “Now, isn’t this much better?”

Dr. Litchfield has not thrown a pass yet, of course, but he did throw a chancellery bomb lastPittChancellorLitchfield[1] December, and that is when the fun began. Alone with his coach and with Athletic Director Frank Carver, away from his six jobs, his multimillion-dollar building projects and his six secretaries, Dr. Litchfield said that he might not know what it was like to be a football coach but he certainly knew what it was like to be a Pitt football fan: it was a bore. He said winning all the time, losing all the time and being dull were three things he found intolerable. He said he was tired of seeing Pitt’s fullbacks “wearing themselves out running on and off the field with plays from the bench. Let the quarterbacks call the plays.” He said he wanted one good team captain and not a committee to make decisions on the field. He said he liked Michelosen fine but, “like real estate, John needs redevelopment.” He said he was apprised of the fact that students, faculty and alumni were “fed up” (Pitt had had a 3-7 season in 1961 and was 5-5 in 1962 in spite of great expectations). He did not have to say that nothing makes a college president look worse than a bad football team. To make sure there was no mistaking him, Dr. Litchfield let his views leak to the press, the way the Colorado River leaks through Hoover Dam.

There followed some sensational scrambling as reporters raced from one office to the other to compare quotes. For example. Litchfield: “It’s perfectly clear that John is playing ultraconservative football. He’s out to win alone and not for the entertainment of the fan.” Michelosen: “I didn’t think I was in the entertainment business.” It was all good clean rank-pulling, and everybody enjoyed it except, perhaps, Michelosen, who took it in fine spirit but was clearly and dangerously on the spot, and knew it. Nevertheless, said the chancellor, he had just as much right to tell his football coach how to do his job as he did the head of the chemistry department. “I’m not a coach,” he said, “but I’m not a chemist, either.” He denied that he had delivered an ultimatum to Michelosen, but added that the consequences would be “whatever they would be for anyone who doesn’t follow administration instructions.”

As a result, Pitt’s startling success has been in no small measure attributed to Chancellor Litchfield. “It’s very simple,” explained a Pittsburgh cab driver the day before the West Virginia game. “The chancellor has this phone, see, from his box to the field, see, and whenever he wants to get a play in, he just calls up. Get it?” Students stole in and pasted “Coach” on the chancellor’s door. Where once they booed his arrival at games (his 45% tuition hike and his wheeler-dealer activities as an executive for Studebaker, Avco, Smith-Corona Marchant and Oakland Corporation have not made him outrageously popular), they now cheer, and when Mazurek pulls off some new breathtaker they yell, “Hail, Caesar,” and wave their empty wallets at the chancellor. He waves back. They have a chant: “Michelosen, Michelosen, /He’s our man. /If he can’t do it, /Litchfield can.” Far from being abashed, Litchfield thinks the cry is “cute.”

Though they would now just as soon forget Michelosen’s and Litchfield’s differences and get on with the task of beating Navy this weekend, even the players have entered into the fun. In a physical education class the answer to a question on football strategy was, “Call the chancellor.” Whenever Dr. Litchfield appeared at practice someone was sure to whisper, “Here’s King Edward with a new play for us.” In one game, after two running plays had not produced, Halfback Martha suggested they throw “a couple of passes into the stands to jazz things up.” Fullback Rick Leeson ran 13 yards up the middle, and on his way back to the huddle turned to the sidelines and chortled, “How’s that for an old-fashioned line smash, Chancellor?” When Mazurek passed up spring practice to play baseball and was told that he would be lucky to return as fifth-string quarterback in the fall, he retorted: “They can’t afford to do that. You heard what the chancellor said.”

Finally, after Pittsburgh won its third straight, Dr. Litchfield called another press conference to assure everybody that he was not coaching the team after all and to please “focus attention where it belongs: on the wonderful job John and his players are doing.”

Quite naturally, Michelosen responds that if it is a wonderful job of altering an offense, it is the job he would have done anyway, that he “absolutely” would have made the same sensational use of his material. He claims that basically his offense is the same as last year’s—and it is, too, with the exception of wider use of slotbacks (open and tight), man-in-motion plays for both halfbacks, the halfback-to-quarterback pass, more roll-out options, the double wing (as used for the first time against West Virginia), a tackle-eligible play and a few little doodads like that. Sometimes the man in motion arrives behind the fullback just as the play begins, and presto! the I formation. “The big thing, of course, is that this year we’re catching the ball,” says Michelosen, who does not like to confuse the issue.

Michelosen is a quiet, stolid man, a gentleman coach who is much appreciated by his players. He has had two bowl teams in eight years but has always managed to draw fire. One Pitt squad spent an evening prowling the campus a few years back when it was rumored that Michelosen would be hanged in effigy. Effigies went up as soon as the team went to bed. Regardless of the often repeated charge, Michelosen has not clung to the Sutherland style in all those years. It would have been foolhardy: football has come too far since the 6-2-2-1 and 7-diamond defense of Sutherland’s day. Nevertheless, Michelosen’s split T—one year it was called the “sentinel T,” but that was a ruse—always had the aura of the Sutherland single wing and its ground-hugging single-mindedness.

Michelosen played for Sutherland and coached under him and for years could not quite get the great man’s image out of his eyes. Dr. Litchfield removed it for him.

In Pittsburgh’s spring game, Michelosen’s response to the prompting was to have his team throw 53 passes, 24 of which were completed. But there were no touchdowns, not until the final play—and then on an intercepted pass. “Looks like the only thing John can open up is his icebox,” said a former Pitt player who saw the game, but he failed to take into account the springtime absence of Mazurek.

Fred Mazurek is the principal difference in the Pitt team. Michelosen says so, and the players agree. Jim Traficant, last year’s quarterback, was a drop-back passer who had trouble getting the ball away, a poor runner and a personality problem. (“I made two mistakes in life,” Traficant once said. “Coming to Pittsburgh was the first, staying here was the second.”) Mazurek, on the other hand, is an exceptional roll-out passer—not so much because of his arm as his running ability—and is seldom trapped for long losses. He is adored by his teammates. They call him Mr. Moto—he is a squared-off 5 feet 10, with olive skin and a glistening little-boy smile—and they marvel at his good deportment. “He swore once at camp and three players told me about it,” says Beano Cook. Michelosen thinks enough of Mazurek to play him at safety and let him receive punts. He is a junior and calls a good game, but do not be deceived. When he gets in a bind he looks to Michelosen for signals, “and when he makes a mistake,” says Halfback Martha, “he looks for forgiveness.”

What makes Mazurek especially effective is the balance of the Pitt attack. “Pitt’s not a lot of razzmatazz,” says California Coach Marv Levy. “They just execute better than they did before, and they have more threats. You can look wide-open on a quarterback sneak if your quarterback is Jimmy Brown.” Halfback Martha, the team’s second leading runner (214 yards in 33 carries), is an ex-quarterback himself who can throw on the run. His clutch 46-yard touchdown run beat West Virginia in the fourth quarter. Power boy Leeson is the first Pitt fullback to gain more than 1,000 yards since Marshall Goldberg of the 1938 Dream Backfield.

Halfback Eric Crabtree, a sophomore, is possibly the best outside threat. He plays on the second unit, but the second unit gets in as much time as the first and is quarterbacked better than adequately by Kenny Lucas, brother of the former Penn State All-America, Richie Lucas. The Pitt ends catch well, the tackles are big and strong (both Ernie Borghetti and John Maczuzak have been drafted as futures by the Kansas City Chiefs), the guards are very fast and the team attitude is one of total dedication. “We think alike,” says Fullback Leeson. “Not a selfish bone among us.”

Litchfield sits in the chancellor’s box with his own special scorecard. It gives each player’s number, height, weight, age, quality point average, college board score, school and ambition. He helped foster an extraordinary agreement among Pitt, Penn State and Syracuse—they exchange scholastic progress reports—and it pleases him that Leeson is doing well in predental studies, Mazurek and Martha in premed, Captain Al Grigaliunas and Tackle Maczuzak in engineering. Maczuzak has an ulcer from worrying over his grades.

Grigaliunas, a very tough Lithuanian whose father was killed by the Russians and who as a child escaped from a Red concentration camp with his mother, is a natural fulfillment of the chancellor’s idea of what the team captaincy is all about. Grigaliunas had arrived on campus with a ducktail haircut and pleated shoes and wanted first off to be pointed to the pool hall. “But I quit playing pool,” he says, smiling. Excellent in class, Grigaliunas has a 3.6 average and is 4.0 in the respect of his teammates. “He is the kind of guy who can whip your fanny if you get out of line,” says a buddy, “and if he can’t, at least he’ll try.” Grigaliunas was elected unanimously. He hasn’t had to whip a fanny yet.

The University of Pittsburgh sits nearly “in the lap of the district of Oakland, its Cathedral of Learning—French Gothic inspired, but not very much—rising 42 stories to dominate the landscape. Frank Lloyd Wright called the Cathedral of Learning the greatest keep-off-the-grass sign he’d ever seen. pitt-cathedral-exteriorChancellor Litchfield, in his seven years at the university, has pushed $156 million in building programs, adding a little Italian Renaissance here, some contemporary there, trying to tie it all together with gray limestone. Rising like scouring powder cans at the west side of the campus are the stark new cylindrical dormitories known as Ajax, Bab-O and Comet. Oakland, meanwhile, shudders at Litchfield’s every move. “Today Oakland,” they say, “tomorrow the world.”

The people of Oakland are large-hearted and larcenous, according to legend, and Forbes Street is the home of such fanciful characters as Gus Miller the Newshawk, Big Bob and Joey Diven, the world’s greatest street fighter. Oakland’s most ardent sports fans do not necessarily believe in paying their way into games, and the Oakland Colts once appeared in the scarlet-and-gray uniforms of the Ohio State Buckeyes the day after the State uniforms had mysteriously disappeared. “But they are good people,” says one university man. “If you had a week to live you’d want to live it with them.”

In the past Litchfield and Michelosen had been bothered by the fact that too many Panthers were acting as though they had a week to live and were going to make the most of it. Two Pitt players were suspended last year for fighting with an Oakland cop. “Discipline has always been the 11 th team on our schedule,” says Cook, “and we haven’t licked it yet.”

So far in this smooth, wonderful year, however, there have been no worries. The bad actors have been weeded out, to Michelosen’s especial relief, and Oakland is quiet, comparatively. More attention is being paid to what the Panthers do on the field, and if some Oakland regulars are still skeptical (“Give Michelosen a 7-7 tie in the fourth quarter,” they say at Canter’s Restaurant, “and you’ll see how razzle-dazzle he is”), the happy voices from Ajax, Bab-O and Comet are not skeptical at all: “If Michelosen can’t do it, Litchfield can.”


  1. Didn’t Gallagher say something like if Pitt could find a cure for polio, pitt could find a way to win a national championship. Or even cure the dreaded SOP disease. Problem is – pitt doesn’t really believe that or doesn’t want it badly enough.


    1. Juhl said Pitt should be able to win 10 games yet he didn’t see him make a push to Nordy and Steve to get the locker room carpet replaced for $266k as Wannstedt had asked. Or tell Nortdy what a bad idea it would be to fire Wannstedt.

      I guess just another big talker when it comes to sports.


    2. Finding a cure for cancer would be easier than finding a cure for SOP. The first would require a miracle….the second would require the Pitt brass to find and hire a great coach and then spend the money to make him and the program successful and then keep him at Pitt when/if he succeeds.

      Speaking of which…..CBS Sports ranked Narduzzi as the 31st best D1 college football coach (A jump up from #40 last year. Some here would argue that they were too kind.


      “Pat Narduzzi: I sense that Narduzzi’s standing as a coach is a lot like Narduzzi as a person. He seems like the kind of person that might take some time to grow on you before you begin to appreciate his personality, and his coaching seems the same way. On the surface, you might not be overly impressed by a 42-34 mark at Pitt over six seasons, but there’s a consistency to the performance that you just begin to admire after a while. You know what you’re getting with Narduzzi. Perhaps in a year that saw so much uncertainty, Narduzzi’s consistency was comforting. 2020 rank: 40 (+9)”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is a subjective poll with-no hard criteria. Popularity contest. Junk science.

        My criteria would be top 25 rankings.

        Winning percentage

        Return on investment

        Graduation rates

        Probationary status

        Narduzzi passes one of my criteria


          1. He’s a fashionable pick for some reason. Maybe he gets tons of credit for beating clemson and penn state. He’s been blown out by clemson twice. Blown out by penny state twice. And made that stupid goal line decision in the other game

            And didn’t heather just get on him for having mentally sloppy and undisciplined teams. That’s 100 percent on him.


    3. I’ve said it time and time again and I’ll keep on saying it too I don’t feel it’s no longer true…….Pitt doesn’t know how to manage a winning football program. This incapability is ingrained in the culture of the University. The world must have close to 100 years of supporting evidence and I’ve witnessed at least 40 of them. It is Groundhog Day over and over again and nothing is ever going to change.


  2. Here is the Pitt News’ 2021 draft predictions for the Pitt players:


    Huh, pretty damn close all around. From Pitt’s website afterward:

    “Pitt saw five players selected on Saturday’s final day of the NFL Draft after defensive end Patrick Jones II was taken in the third round (90th overall) by the Minnesota Vikings late Friday evening.

    Edge rusher Rashad Weaver went to the Tennessee Titans in the fourth round (135th overall), cornerback Jason Pinnock got the call from the New York Jets in the fifth round (175th overall), defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman joined Jones with the Vikings in the sixth round (199th overall), safety Damar Hamlin heard his name called by the Buffalo Bills in the sixth round (212th overall) and finally center Jimmy Morrissey was picked up by the Las Vegas Raiders in the seventh round (230th overall).”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m impressed with the sports desk at the pitt news. They know their sports. But can they say freely what they think? That’s why the POV is special and liberating. Was that too 60’s?


  3. The more things change, the more they stay the same!

    Yes, Johnny Mike’s offense was usually 3 yds and a cloud of dust and I loved every second of it in 1963!

    But, he had one razzle dazzle play I’ve never seen since. Both wide outs and backs split way wide in formation. Pitt’s halfback would go in motion and each back and wide out would at the snap, run right at each other in the backfield. The QB Mazurek would fake a handoff to his fullback and as all the wideouts/halfbacks crossed behind him about 5’ deep in the backfield he would hand the ball off and then that player would hand off or fake.
    To this day, I never knew who had the ball until the play was over.

    From one dull offense to the wildest play I’ve ever seen! What a contrast!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Incredible how much sports journalism has changed in the past 60 years. It’s like reading a dispatch from an alternate reality. One of my favorite childhood memories is of rushing to the mailbox on Wednesday to see if my copy of Sports Illustrated had arrived. Now, we don’t wait for anything!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I agree with Tex that the writing style, although much more formal than current standards, is superb. Also worth noting that, even in college, Traficant knew how to give the press a quote they could use!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pitt had some colorful characters in the day. Truly under appreciated the history of pitt athletics.

      Tex – a history Minor at Pitt. And contributor to Pitts future history. 🤠

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Speaking of ex Pitt coaches, Curt Cignetti who was a Pitt asst back in the 90s, is currently HC at James Madison .. who with Ben DiNucci went to FCS finals in 2019

    Well, he just promoted Mike Shanahan to OC and hired the POV’s favorite ex Pitt QB to the position of QB coach

    Sent from my iPhone



  7. That article from 1963 is really well done. Miss that kind of sports-writing. Used to like to read Phil Musick’s stuff. Now we have Ron Cook, who I haven’t read in ages…

    Mazurek and Martha were great weapons for that 1963 team. I remember them pulling off some long zig-zag runs that were fun to watch…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. For the young’uns here, getting a feature article in Sports Illustrated in 1963 was YUGE.


    There was ONLY 1 college football game televised on Saturdays, later in the decade you got 2,
    the final week of Michigan/Ohio State & UCLA/USC games.

    So naturally Pitt(ranked #3) got a big writeup in THE BiGGEST sports medium…..and promptly went out
    and pooped the bed against that week’s opponent. Navy who was ranked #10. That loss cost
    Pitt much. A possible national championship and a Major Bowl Bid.

    Great Article though….loved it. In a far different America, one that now, is hard to imagine existed.


  9. We knew Tower B, as Balboa…..as in the Spanish Explorer who was the first to reach the Pacific ocean,
    in the New World.

    That was funny, they stole the Suckeye’s uniforms and the local semi-pro team in Oakland ended up with them.

    And nobody got bent out of shape,


  10. This article made me laugh, cry cheer, and clap out loud because I am a Pitt grad from 1963.
    I loved going to the games and climbing up Cardiac Hill to see the Panthers play a BIG TIME schedule.

    Yes, most of the players did go to class and many went on to become prominent lawyers, dentists, business leaders……..and it wasn’t just football the great Brian Generalovich passed on playing in the NBA to become a dentist. Sweet Caroline had not been written in 1963, however, we found ways to sing Pitt songs (if we were sober enough to remember the words). I will always be a proud Pitt man!!!

    Liked by 6 people

  11. Amazing things to consider here.

    In 1963 Pitt finished 9-1 and ranked #4. And the next year was horrid at 3-5-2 and a year
    later Johnny Mike was gone. Pitt became a laughing stock until another JM was hired
    after the 1972 season.

    20 years later, in 1983 Pitt finished 8-3-1 and finished ranked #18, after being ranked #1 during
    the previous season under Foge. The next year 1984, the bottom fell out, after being pre-season
    ranked #3, Pitt bottomed to 3-7-1 and Foge was gone a year or 2 later.

    20 years later in 2003, Pitt was pre-season ranked #10, but stumbled to 8-5, after 2 late season
    disappointing losses took Pitt from a Orange Bowl bid to a Tire Bowl game and loss in Charlotte.
    Despite having the great Larry Fitzgerald at WR.
    Walt was gone in 2 years as well.

    So if all goes well, 2023 will bring the next Pitt revival and possible exit a year or 2 later by

    Pitt football seems to be as cyclical as the stock market and history.


    1. The X factor in every example you wrote was a bad administration overseeing the program and making poor decisions. The future lies in the hands of Gallagher and Heather.

      Considering how hoops has been under Gallagher, it only makes sense when Narduzzi is ousted a terrible hire will be made.


    2. Remember Pitt was instituting tougher academic requirements for football, tougher than its Eastern Big Five rivals. Every time Pitt football nosedives you can find a faculty council or professor who hates athletic success and weak chancellors always give in to their demands. No one required athletes to take a foreign language but Pitt did.


  12. I just watched JMU lose in the final 4 on a comeback from some houston squad.

    Wanted to add that narduzzi being ranked 31st is kind, but let’s go with that. That puts him squarely in the 50% bracket out of the 65 P5 teams. So is someone that is in the 50th percentile deserving of how many millions per year? Okay so he wasn”t exactly at 50% since the halfway point of 65 is 32.5. Sadly, i know the answer to the question. He is not worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The question is can pitt afford him. Twenty cents on every dollar you spend on football goes into Pats pockets

      What does saban make. $12 million. What are bama football revenues. Over $100 million. Saban takes no more than a dime.

      Narduzzi is nearly a quarter.

      Saban is underpaid then.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. PSN reporting former Pitt players Mike Shanahan named OC at JMU and Tino Sunseri named QB coach.
    Didn’t realize Tino was at Bama the past 2 years working as an offense analyst…whatever that is.

    Maybe Heather is just waiting for Tino to get experience before bringing him in to replace Dooz…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tino will be replacing whipple next year. And then becomes interim HC for some bowl in Detroit for the 2025 season. Pitt then hires shanahan a HC and he brings Tino in as OC

      Pitts offense becomes a SNL skit with a three step drop and sack.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I am also a Pitt 63 grad (LA English) and a 65 M. Ed guy. All of this was so familiar to me. I remember something about a Panther Hollow project and a scale model display set up in the Cathedral or Student Union. Chancellor was a very ambitious guy, but I heard he rubbed the Mellon family the wrong way and Mellon money went away from Pitt to Carnegie Tech, hence the CMU designation coming about. Pitt problems then multiplied in many ways it seemed, especially in athletics. I still loyally traveled from Cleveland every fall in the hopes of a revival of football fortunes, but it didn’t happen until 1973 with TD and JM. I am still loyal. I love Pitt.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. 1963 was the year that got me hooked on football. In addition to Pitt’s success which my dad could not stop talking about, there were great teams in the Alle-Kiski valley. Remember those tough Arnold and Ford City teams? My high school went undefeated in 1963 and played Montour in the Class A final at Jeanette Stadium. High school football was so big every Saturday the Valley Daily News ran a banner headline on the front page with all the local scores. I still enjoy going back into the Google newspaper articles and reading the Pittsburgh Press reports of Pitt’s success in ’63.


  15. Pitt vs. Duquesne in football? Why the heck not? Per today’s Tribune-Review, WVU opens the 2023 season with PSU, Duquesne, and Pitt. Pitt is missing an opportunity for gate revenue and local interest. Got to be more interest than YSU as a lower level opponent. Dukes beat Pitt in 1936 and 1939 and have a 2-5 won-lost record against Pitt. Series ended in 1939, allegedly because cage teams had fights during the games, with the BB series resuming in 1953. FWIW, why the heck not play?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good idea. And you wouldn’t have to pay them a million dollars. And you would get some extra fans in the stands.

      Pitt spends millions each year buying rent a wins on schools from New England.

      But that’s our AD of the Year.


    2. The Long Island Sharks (formerly Black Birds) are playing in the FCS and they’re traveling to WVU on Sept. 11. Their Long Island campus is basically two buildings and tuition is astronomical. If Pitt won’t play Robert Morris and Duquesne in basketball they’ll never play the Dukes in football.


  16. JA: True story about Mellon money possibly going to Pitt. The rumor was that the Mellon’s wanted to donate 100 million$ an enormous sum of money // almost beyond belief and Pitt refused the offer because the Mellon family wanted their name included with Pitt. —- hence Carnegie-Mellon.

    Eddie Litchfield had wild dreams of having Pitt join the Ivy League and the money could have easily upgraded our University to a much higher level, however, Carnegie Tech got the huge donation and the rest is academic history.

    After graduating from Pitt ( absolutely impoverished) I went to Penn for my MA and it was well worth the sacrifice. Ivy League money =’s the ability to hire the very finest professors anywhere!

    I remember sitting in Franklin Field watching Penn get destroyed by Yale and it made me miss the days of crowding around the piss trows at our own on- campus stadium.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Interesting. I wish someone would research Pitt’s attempt to join the Big Ten after Chicago dropped football back in the 1940s. Our football schedules back then provide quite a picture of what happened after Jock and the chancellor fell out. Michigan State got the bid Pitt wanted. In the 1930s Penn State and Notre Dame didn’t want to play us because we were too good. By the time the Big Ten had an opening, we were too bad.


    1. I just piss those porcelain things

      I’m telling you a great way to drum up spirit and donations is by bidding to put pictures or words on those troughs

      I’d personally pay to pee on a Nitter symbol or something more risqué on a trough

      Would make hitting the restrooms fun


  17. Can we try playing the Dukes in BB before we dip our toes in the “dangerous” waters of football?
    Heather does not have a clue!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think Narduzzi would only agree to this if he could lock the stadium gates and not have anyone see a humiliating defeat.


  18. Why not IUP while we’re at it. 🤠. During my day, IUP was Pitt east with all of the panther rejects and transfers.

    I do like playing the dukes in football. Because Capel will never play them in basketball for fear of losing to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. After reading that fantastic SI article once again, I have tried to compare the 60s football atmosphere (the NFL was much less influence then) with today’s Pitt situation. Obviously, Pitt football was more important up and down the chain of command than today’s team is. How many times have we heard the current Chancellor come out and even discuss Pitt football? I can’t remember the last time. One observation in the article was the view that “nothing makes a college President look worse than a bad football team..” I guess this isn’t so at Pitt today.

    Pitt was a true national program in the 60s, even with the mediocre results before and after the ’63 squad. Games against UCLA, Cal (with Marv Levy as coach!), Washington and a good Navy team really highlighted the national nature of Pitt football. They actually had a Publicist in Beano Cook that did something to promote Pitt. His quotes were tremendous: “Jock Sutherland doesn’t buy season tickets”, and “Discipline has always been the 11th team on our schedule,” says Cook, “and we haven’t licked it yet”. Great spin… And even the taxi drivers talked up Pitt football to their rides.

    Litchfield knew what it was like to be a fan. He mentioned that he knew Pitt’s fans were “fed up” with the boring play of the team, and he was tired of seeing the FBs wear themselves out bringing in the plays (Whipple doesn’t seem to mind wearing out the QB). All we get from our current Chancellor is crickets. It was also surprising to learn that Litchfield kept track of players’ QPAs, and Pitt, Pedo and “Cuse all shared scholastic progress reports, what a different era! And at some point the students even hanged Michelosen in effigy! Those were the days when students actually cared. And fans weren’t above some chicanery as with the stealing of tOSU uniforms!

    Why doesn’t Pitt have a dedicated Publicist like Beano who is out front every day promoting Pitt athletics? Heather should read this article to see how things actually worked in the golden years of Pitt football.


    1. Pitt should. Heather is awful at public speaking. Um this and um that

      Pitt needs a clear and consistent message

      They need to communicate more and not less

      They need transparency instead of secrecy.

      Makes too much sense to ever happen

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Heather is awful at communication. Scott Barnes did a better job. Remember, we liked him until Stallings. Heather inspires nothing and with Narduzzi and Capel, the jury is still out.


  20. Will never forget my high school coach showing a tape of Johnny Mike explaining running the football philosophy.

    “Divide 10 yards by 3… if you get 3.5 yds on each play, you have a first down. If you get 4-5 yds on first then you have even less to get on 2nd and 3rd. No reason at all to pass. That was most HS Coach’s philosophy in WPIAL football 50 years ago.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Steelers would have beaten the Browns with that approach. But no. Let’s go shotgun. Pass play. Hike the ball over the qbs head. It was game over on the first play. I literally turned the tv off. Seen that rodeo before.

      And Big Ben probably prepares the least of any professional qb I know. Brady is elite because he puts in the time. I can’t wait for Ben to retire. As coach I would have cut him long ago. Gm would have forced a trade.

      Steelers go 8-8. Tomlin gets yet another extension.

      9-8. 17 games this season.

      I’ll never spend money on a Steeler ticket. I’m still a sucker for pitt football once a year.


      1. The Steelers screwed themselves in 2019 by making that Minkah trade. That trade got them to 8-8 and drafting in the middle of the pack. Had the Steelers not made the trade of giving up a first, which has been their M.O. since Noll took over, the team goes 5-11 most likely and can draft Justin Herbert and be set for another 15 years at QB.

        Minkah scored TDs versus the Colts and the Rams, so if he’s not there then those are two losses. I’m guessing the D gives up a TD in one of the three close wins versus the Dolphins, Chargers or Browns.

        Now the QB position will be a question mark until it is solved.


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