After sorting through more than 300 nominations, it should come as no surprise that the Pitt Athletics Hall of Fame selection committee chose Panther Football stars Tony Dorsett, Dan Marino and Mike Ditka as inaugural members of Pitt’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
Some of the inductees — like class of 1917 graduates John Bain “Jock” Sutherland and Henry Clifford “Doc” Carlson — are known for their involvement in multiple sports as both athletes and coaches. Others — like former Pitt Track and Field athletes Roger Kingdom, ’84, and Trecia-Kaye Smith, ’99 — are known for their accomplishments in NCAA championships and Olympics.
The first class of Pitt’s Athletic Hall of Fame represents the very best of Pitt athletics, Athletic Director Heather Lyke said in a release Thursday. The creation of the Athletic Hall of Fame was announced by Lyke in January of this year.
“It is with tremendous pride that we present the inaugural class of the Pitt Athletics Hall of Fame,” Lyke said in the release. “These individuals represent Pitt’s Gold Standard and we are greatly looking forward to honoring them at our official induction ceremony in September.”
The full list consists of 16 highly-decorated inductees, 12 of whom are still living. They include Olympians, national champions, Super Bowl winners and world-record setters.
From January to March members of the public could submit nominations for Hall of Fame inductees. To be nominated, athletes must be at least five years removed from their final year of collegiate competition and not currently compete professionally. An 18-member selection committee sorted through more than 300 nominations representing more than 150 years of athletic history, according to E.J. Borghetti, a member of the committee.
“The discussion of candidates covered four different sessions and the conversations were very engaging and spirited,” Borghetti said in an email. “Ultimately, I think all of the committee members came to one unmistakable conclusion — the University of Pittsburgh owns a tremendously rich and accomplished athletics legacy. The members of this inaugural class are not only regarded as all-time greats at Pitt, but also in the histories of their respective sports.”
The full list of inductees includes:
Henry Clifford “Doc” Carlson (Athlete: Football, Basketball, Baseball; Coach: Basketball)
Mike Ditka (Football)
Tony Dorsett (Football)
Herb Douglas (Track and Field)
Bill Fralic (Football)
Marshall Goldberg (Football)
Hugh Green (Football)
Trecia-Kaye Smith (Track and Field)
Roger Kingdom (Track and Field)
Billy Knight (Basketball)
Dan Marino (Football)
Lisa Shirk (Gymnastics)
Charles Smith (Basketball)
Kathy Stetler (Swimming)
John Bain “Jock” Sutherland (Athlete: Football; Coach: Football)
John Woodruff (Track and Field)
“I certainly tasked the selection committee with a huge challenge,” Lyke said in the release. “In looking at our many deserving candidates, it is obvious that this 2018 group will be the first of many legendary Hall of Fame classes at Pitt.”
The inaugural class will be formally inducted at the Pitt Hall of Fame Dinner on Friday, Sept. 7, at the Petersen Events Center.