Fitzgerald, Donald named honorary coaches in Spring Game

The stars will be out at Highmark Stadium on April 18, as Pitt announced that former Panthers and current NFL stars Larry Fitzgerald and Aaron Donald will serve as honorary head coaches for the program’s annual Blue-Gold Spring Game.

“Larry and Aaron are not only legendary Panthers, but also two of the elite players in the NFL,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said in a University release. “The University of Pittsburgh takes great pride in what they have accomplished as both players and people.”

Fitzgerald has been a dominant wide receiver since arriving at Pitt for the 2002 season.  In 2003, he won the Walter Camp Award, given to the best wide receiver in college football. 

He has duplicated that success as an Arizona Cardinal since they selected him third overall in the 2004 NFL Draft, garnering eight Pro Bowl selections and becoming the franchise’s career leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.

Donald, who played at Pitt from 2010-2013, was a first-round selection by the Rams with the 13th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He finished his first season in the league with nine sacks, leading all rookies, and earned a Pro Bowl berth.

Donald will lead the Gold squad, while Fitzgerald will direct Blue, as the University will divide the current roster by position between the two teams which will play a full 60 minute game..

Fitzgerald expressed his anticipation regarding his return to Pittsburgh.

“I always love coming back to Pittsburgh, and I’m excited to see firsthand the work Coach Narduzzi is doing with the team,” Fitzgerald said via a press release. “There is a great buzz around the program.”

As the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Donald has already gained notoriety in the pros, but has still stayed connected to the Pitt, attending the University’s Pro Day and spending some of his offseason in Pittsburgh.

“Coach Narduzzi is already doing great things at Pitt and I’m excited that he asked me to be an honorary head coach,” the current St. Louis Rams defensive lineman said in the release. “This will be fun because I still know a lot of players on the team.”

In the release, Donald shot out some playful smack talk at Fitzgerald’s Blue squad.

“Larry better have his guys ready because I know our Gold squad will be fired up to play,” Donald said.

Narduzzi thinks the duo will enjoy the event.

“I think they’ll have as much fun as our players and fans will,” he said.

The game’s kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. The University has not announced any roster splits yet.