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Pittsburgh Panthers
University University of Pittsburgh
Conference Big East
NCAA Division I
Athletics director Steve Pederson
Location Pittsburgh, PA
Varsity teams 17
Football stadium Heinz Field
Basketball arena Petersen Events Center
Baseball stadium Trees Field
Other arenas Fitzgerald Field House
Trees Pool
Mascot "ROC" the Panther[1]
Nickname Panthers
Fight song Hail to Pitt
Pitt Victory Song
Colors Blue and Gold



The Pittsburgh Panthers, commonly referred to as the Pitt Panthers, are the athletic teams of University of Pittsburgh. The university is a member of the Big East Conference, Eastern Wrestling League, East Atlantic Gymnastics League, and Eastern College Athletic Conference. Pitt fields 17 varsity teams at the highest level of competitive collegiate athletics in the United States, NCAA Division I. Recently, used the Sagarin system to rate universities based on the strength of their performance in football and men’s basketball over the course of the last five years. Pitt was tied for 10th as one of the nation’s top two-sport schools.[2] In another recent ranking, an all-sports ranking done by Sports Illustrated on Campus, Pitt was ranked 17th among all of the country’s universities in terms of the overall strength of its athletic program.[3] Pitt is also one of only five current NCAA Division 1A schools to have won multiple national championships in both football (9) and basketball (2).


Scholar Athletes

Kiosk in the Great Hall at Heinz Field celebrating Pitt's 1976 National Championship

During 2007, out of approximately 450 Pitt student-athletes, 311 had term grade point averages exceeding 3.0, 23 had a perfect term grade point average of 4.0, and 124 were named Big East Academic All-Stars.[1]


Traditionally the most popular sport at the University of Pittsburgh, football has been played at the highest levels at the University since 1889. During the more than 100 years of competitive football at Pitt, the University has helped pioneer the sport by, among other things, instituting the use of numbers on jerseys[4] and desegregating the Sugar Bowl. Some of football's all-time greatest coaches and players have plied their trade at Pitt, including Pop Warner, Jock Sutherland, Marshall Goldberg, Joe Schmidt, Mike Ditka, Tony Dorsett, Hugh Green, Mark May, Dan Marino, Bill Fralic, and Larry Fitzgerald. Among the top schools in terms of all-time wins, Pitt teams have claimed nine national championships and boast 86 players that have been chosen as first-team All-Americans.

Men's basketball

The early minutes of a game against number one ranked UConn in 2009 at the Petersen Events Center. A portion of the Oakland Zoo can be seen at the bottom. Pitt won the nationally televised game 70-60.

Pitt began playing men's basketball in 1905 and soon become a national power winning two Helms Foundation National Championships in 1927–28 and 1929–30. Those teams, coached by the innovative and legendary Naismith Hall of Fame inductee "Doc" Carlson, were led by National Player of the Year and Hall of Famer Charlie Hyatt. Following a Final Four appearance in 1941, Pitt appeared in a handful of NCAA tournaments throughout the 50, 60s, and 70s, including an Elite Eight appearance in 1974 led by All-American Billy Knight. Pitt entered the Big East Conference in 1982, and by the end of the decade had secured a pair of Big East regular season championships led by All-Americans Charles Smith and Jerome Lane. Beginning with the hiring of Ben Howland as head coach in 1999, and continuing with his replacement by Jamie Dixon in 2003, an era of consistent national and conference competitiveness was entered including eight straight NCAA tournament appearances and five Sweet 16 appearances in the last 8 years including and Elite Eight appearance in 2009. In total, Pitt has 21 NCAA appearances, seven Sweet Sixteen appearances, nine conference regular season championships, four conference tournament championships, ten conference tournament championship game appearances, and 37 players drafted to play professionally.

Women's Basketball

The Pittsburgh Panthers Women's Varsity Basketball program started during the 1914–1915 school year and lasted until 1927 before going on hiatus until 1970. Pitt's women's team has posted several conference and NWIT/EAIAW Tournament Appearances, and led by head coach Agnus Benerato, advanced to the NCAA Tournament the last three years, including Sweet Sixteen appearances in 2008 and 2009.

Olympic Sports

Pitt has had a long history of success in other intercollegiate athletic events.


Track and Field

In Track and Field, Pitt has produced several Olympic and NCAA champions such as 800m Olympic gold medalist John Woodruff, two-time 110m hurdle Olympic gold medalist Roger Kingdom, and 7-time NCAA champion and 2005 World Champion triple jumper Trecia-Kaye Smith.[2]


The wrestling program has a rich history and is among the nation's leaders in producing individual national champions with 16.[3]


Pitt baseball circa the 1890s when the school was known as the Western University of Pennsylvania. The players are posing in front of Main Hall when the campus was located on Observatory Hill on Pittsburgh's North Side.

Pitt's women's volleyball is the 12th winningest program in the nation[4] and has won 11 Big East Championships and appeared in 11 NCAA tournaments since the program began in 1974.[5]

Swimming and Diving

Pitt's swimming and diving teams have produced several Olympians and won 19 men's and 9 women's Big East Championships since joining the conference in 1983. The Swimming and Diving teams train and compete at Trees Pool.


Pitt women's gymnastics has qualified for the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship all but two years in the last ten seasons.[6]


Baseball, Pitt's oldest varsity sport started in 1869[5] and has produced multiple major league baseball players and has become on common presence in the Big East post-season championship.[7]

Soccer, Softball, and Tennis

Pitt also fields competitive Big East Conference teams in men's and women's soccer, softball, and women's tennis.

Support Groups

Pitt Cheerleaders

The history rich University of Pittsburgh Varsity Marching Band was founded in 1911 and performs at athletic and other events. The Pitt Cheerleaders have won multiple cheerleading national championships, including three straight from 1992–1994. At the 2007 NCA/NDA Collegiate Cheerleading and Dance National Championships, Pitt's Cheer squad won the 2007 Challenge Cup and finished in eighth place overall in the All-Girl Division I category. The Pitt Dance Team has also been competitive in national competitions, earning a top-20 finish at the NCA/NDA competition in the Division IA category.[8][9]


Pitt athletic teams utilize the follow facilities:

  • Heinz Field - Football homefield
  • UPMC Sports Performance Complex - Football practice facility
  • Petersen Events Center - Men's and women's basketball
  • Fitzgerald Field House - Wrestling, volleyball, indoor track & field, gymnastics
  • Trees Hall - Swimming and diving home pool and gymnastics training facility
  • Trees Fields - Baseball and softball
  • Charles L. Cost Sports Center - Multisport (baseball, softball, track & field) indoor practice facility
  • Founders Field - Men's and women's soccer
  • Schenley Park - Men's and women's cross country home course
  • Petersen Sports Complex - An approximately $30 million upgrade of on-campus sports facilities, termed the Petersen Sports Complex, is under construction and will include new soccer, baseball, softball facilities, as well as clear space for the future construction of a new track and field and band complex following its completion.[6]


Pitt biggest active rivalry is with West Virginia University, which began with football games that date back to 1895. The annual contest is called the Backyard Brawl, due to the proximity of the two schools' main campuses (they are 80 miles apart) and the shared boundary between western Pennsylvania and North-Central West Virginia. The game is traditionally played on Thanksgiving weekend. In 2007, the two schools played in the 100th game of the Backyard Brawl in which Pitt upset win prevented West Virginia from playing for the national championship. A basketball rivalry with WVU shares an intensity similar to that of the football one.

The "script Pitt" logo served as the primary logo from 1973 until 1997. It was designed by Bob Gessner.[7]

Pitt's largest former football rival was Penn State University, which is still a heated rivalry among some fans. The series began in 1905 and ended in 2000 with Penn State leading the series 50–42–4. The two teams ended play due to long-standing coaching and administrative feuding. Pitt athletic officials have publicly supported an annual renewal of the rivalry, however Penn State has publicly countered that it is financially restricted from agreeing to a long term series on a home and home basis. In addition, the two schools have stopped playing each other in men's basketball, but still compete in other sports as well as in recruiting.

Pitt and Duquesne University have had a long-standing rivalry in men's basketball. Their annual game, alternating locations between the two campuses but once held every year at Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena, attracts lots of local interest and has thus been dubbed the City Game. Both schools' women's teams also play their annual version of the City Game.

Also, Pitt is one of the handful of schools that has a longstanding rivalry with the University of Notre Dame. Pitt has played Notre Dame on a semi-regular basis since 1899, with never more than three years passing between contests since 1943. The two universities recently signed a contract to play eight games between 2008 and 2015. Pitt also has a long-standing rivalry with eastern football foe Syracuse University, which often spills over onto the basketball court.

In 2005, Pitt began a football rivalry with the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, dubbed the "River City Rivalry." This annual Big East Conference game stems from both cities being situated along the Ohio River and features a trophy of a riverboat telegraph (a device for signaling the boat's engine room) [10]. Pitt leads the series 3–1 as of the end of the 2008 season.

Pitt also has a significant basketball rivalry with the University of Connecticut. The Pitt and UConn rivalry first sparked with a last second win by then number one ranked Connecticut at Pitt's Fitzgerald Field House in 1998 that was followed by a crowd-displeasing emotional outburst by Connecticut's Khalid Al-Amin. The rivalry took on new significance in the 2002 Big East Conference Tournament championship game that saw Pitt lose in double overtime. Pitt went on to avenge its loss the following season by defeating UConn in the 2003 Big East Championship game. Pitt and UConn also met for the championship in 2004 and have since played in many conference games of significance since.

Since joining the Big East Conference in 2005, Marquette University has played several meaningful and close games with Pitt which have resulted in a burgeoning rivalry. In the 1980s, Pitt had an intense rivalry with cross-state rival and fellow Big East conference member Villanova University that was touched off by recruiting battles over several high profile players.

Mascot origins

The panther is use as the alternate logo.

The University of Pittsburgh officially adopted the Panthers of Pittsburgh as its nickname and mascot in 1909, shortly after changing its name from the Western University of Pennsylvania. According to alumnus George Baird, the reasons given were:

1. The panther was the most powerful animal that once roamed western Pennsylvania.
2. Its standing as a noble animal.
3. At the time, no other school used the panther as a symbol.
4. Its colors are similar to Pittsburgh's colors of gold and blue.
5. The "happy accident of alliteration."[8]

List of Sponsored Varsity Sports

The undefeated 1924-25 Pitt women's varsity basketball team. Women's varsity basketball at Pitt first began during the 1914-15 school year.
  • Women's sports
    • Basketball
    • Cross Country
    • Gymnastics
    • Soccer
    • Softball
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Track
    • Volleyball

The Panthers participate in NCAA Division I (Division I-A for football). All Pitt varsity sports teams compete in the Big East Conference except for wrestling (Eastern Wrestling League) and women's gymnastics (East Atlantic Gymnastics League).

List of Club Sports

The following teams compete in intercollegiate non-varsity club sports: Men's and Women's Ultimate, Pitt Crew, Pitt Roller Hockey, Men's and Women's Ice Hockey, Men's and Women's Field Hockey, Men's and Women's Lacrosse, Men's and Women's Rugby Club, Men's and Women's Soccer, Men's and Women's Water Polo, Men's and Women's Volleyball, Panther Cycling Club, Panther Equestrian Club, Panther Wrestling, Women's Fast-Pitch Softball, Pitt Club Tennis, and Pitt Club Baseball [11]

Pittsburgh Panthers Radio Network

The following radio stations are part of the Pittsburgh Panthers Radio Network for the 2008-09 year.[9]

Internet & Satellite
Yahoo! Sports Radio
Sirius Satellite Radio
Location Station Programming
Altoona WFBG 1290 AM Football
WVAM 1430 AM Men's Basketball, Dave Wanndtedt Show
Bedford WBFD 1310 AM Football‡
Berwick WFBS 1280 AM Football
Butler WISR 680 AM Men's Basketball
WBUT 1050 AM Football
Connellsville WLSW 103.9 FM Football, Men's Basketball
DuBois WCED 1420 AM Football, Men's Basketball
Elizabeth WPDC 1600 AM Football, Men's Basketball
Erie WFNN 1330 AM Football, Men's Basketball, Dave Wannstedt Show, Jamie Dixon Show
Harrisburg WTKT 1460 AM Men's Basketball, Jamie Dixon Show
Honesdale WPSN 1590 AM Football, Dave Wannstedt Show
Huntingdon WHUN 1150 AM Football, Men's Basketball, Dave Wannstedt Show
Indiana WCCS 1160 AM Football, Men's Basketball, Dave Wannstedt Show, Jamie Dixon Show
Johnstown WCRO 1230 AM Football, Men's Basketball, Dave Wannstedt Show, Jamie Dixon Show
Latrobe WQTW 1570 AM Football, Men's Basketball
Meyersdale WQZS 93.3 FM Football, Men's Basketball, Dave Wannstedt Show, Jamie Dixon Show
New Castle WKST 1200 AM Football, Men's Basketball
Oil City WKQW 96.3 FM Football, Men's Basketball, Dave Wannstedt Show, Jamie Dixon Show
Pittsburgh WBGG 970 AM Football, Men's Basketball, Women's Basketball, Dave Wannstedt Show, Jamie Dixon Show
WWSW 94.5 FM Football, Men's Basketball
Philipsburg WPHB 1260 AM Football, Men's Basketball
Punxsutawney WPXZ 104.1 FM Football, Men's Basketball, Dave Wannstedt Show, Jamie Dixon Show
Scranton WICK 1400 AM Football, Dave Wannstedt Show
Uniontown WMBS 590 AM Football, Men's Basketball, Dave Wannstedt Show, Jamie Dixon Show
Weirton, West Virginia WEIR 1430 AM Football, Men's Basketball, Dave Wannstedt Show, Jamie Dixon Show
Wilkes-Barre WYCK 1340 AM Football, Dave Wannstedt Show
York WOYK AM 1350 Football, Men's Basketball
Cities are in Pennsylvania unless otherwise specified.
Broadcast will be preempted if Penn State is playing simultaneously.


External links


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