Trietley: Predicting Pitt’s future

By Greg Trietley

I never liked using “I” when writing, which should make this farewell interesting.

I… I never liked using “I” when writing, which should make this farewell interesting.

I typically only looked into the past to mention overlooked history, like Pitt’s 1915 football co-championship, Smoky Joe Wood’s career earned run average and the Schenley Park Casino, which burned down in 1896. I suppose I grew bored with Brett Favre and LeBron James.

To spend a few paragraphs reflecting on four years of writing — from an intramural football story freshman year to a mammoth mock selection committee project this spring — goes against what I aimed to do with most of my work.

I’ve been at this newspaper forever. I don’t know if I am the longest-tenured active staff writer, but I must be at least tied for that record. I joined the orientation week of my freshman year, 2008.

Thank you to everyone that read my column. I would spend more time thanking everybody that played a role in my life over the past four years, but, well, nobody wants to read that. Instead, I want to spend my final page of print looking forward.

I knew this farewell was coming, so over the past few weeks I’ve been making a list. I wrote down some things that I think will happen at Pitt. Other items on the list are more wishful thinking. But I’d like to share it, and, if I am bored 20 years from now, maybe then it will be a good time to look back and reflect.

1. The school scraps “Sweet Caroline” in favor of a new tradition: each game a different student singing group performs “Hail to Pitt” after the third quarter. Soon, people know more than just “alleghenee, genac, genac, genac,” a line dwarfed by the enthusiastic “Pitt! Pitt!” cheers featured in the song.

2. Pitt basketball coach Jamie Dixon does not win the national championship in the next 10 years, not because he isn’t one of the best coaches in the nation, but because it’s incredibly hard to win a national championship. People who claim that his teams “always fizzle out in March” someday realize just about every team fizzles out in March.

3. Dixon never leaves Pitt. When he retires from coaching, he moves into an administrative role at the University.

4. The Petersen Events Center no longer shows Pitt basketball’s all-time home record on the scoreboard after games. The building simply becomes known as a tough place to play, no advertisement needed. The school also quietly retires or condenses many banners, some of which honoring NIT and Sweet Sixteen appearances, as the program advances beyond celebrating these achievements.

5. Duquesne basketball sees its attendance grow despite its mistake of firing coach Ron Everhart. The addition of Virginia Commonwealth, Butler and George Mason to the Atlantic 10 brings more quality basketball to the Palumbo Center, while Pitt adjusts to hosting Georgia Tech, Clemson and Wake Forest in conference play.

6. Local basketball standout Lincoln Davis, a Central Catholic graduate, leads Fairfield to a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title and makes an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The game I saw of him versus North Allegheny earlier this spring was an excellent $2 investment.

7. Pitt’s campus expands into North Oakland as the school purchases Schenley High School and constructs new University buildings near the intersection of Centre Avenue and Craig Street. Meanwhile, city officials opt to make Centre Avenue and Baum Boulevard one-way streets that run in opposite directions, for which many ambulance drivers formerly stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic thank them.

8. An architecture student proposes a conversion of the Cost Sports Center into a hockey rink, which the University briefly considers. The school also contemplates the feasibility of using that space to construct an on-campus football stadium.

I guess, in the end, I can’t sign off without the obligatory thanks. Thank you to everyone that let me interview them, to everyone that helped arrange those interviews, to everyone that hired me and then didn’t fire me, to everyone that edited my writing (including this never-ending sentence), to everyone that I had the pleasure of working with and to my family and to my friends that became like family. It’s been fun.