Column | Time to have a few cold ones


Dalton Coppola | Contributing Editor

Pitt football players celebrate Pitt’s win over Wake Forest in the ACC Championship game in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Dec. 4, 2021.

By Dalton Coppola, Sports Editor

I stood on the field at Bank of America Stadium with Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” raining down from the speakers. As I shuffled toward the stage, Kenny Pickett and Pat Narduzzi hoisted up the program’s first-ever ACC Championship Trophy. I watched as the Panthers danced like there was no tomorrow and listened as Pitt fans sang along as the confetti fell at my feet. 

It was happiness at its purest form.

The season of hard work culminated in me living out a childhood dream. I’ve watched Pitt football since I was a kid — and I was on the field to watch the Panthers claim their first-ever ACC Championship trophy. Amid all of the commotion and “Let’s go Pitt” chants, I turned to find my parents in the upper bowl of the stadium and gave them a fist pump. Sharing that moment with my parents and the rest of Panther nation is a moment that I will never forget.

It’s moments like that one that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Moments like that where I’ll have to convince my kids one day that I’m not lying. Moments like that I’ll daydream about when I’m at work one day. 

Moments like that aren’t possible without The Pitt News.

For the last few years, people knew me as the kid that wrote about Pitt football for the student newspaper you all know as The Pitt News — and I loved every second of it. I gave this newspaper everything I had. From late nights in the office, road trips to North Carolina and spending entire Saturdays at Acrisure Stadium, working here shaped the best years of my life.

But now, it’s time I say goodbye to the job that shaped who I am today. As I prepare to embark on a new journey in the world of sports, this is my final column for The Pitt News.

I’ve done a lot of reflecting over the past few weeks, knowing my time as sports editor was coming to an end. While it is ending sooner than I expected it would, I can’t help but look back with pride at what we — as a sports desk and editorial board — accomplished.

When I joined the editorial board at The Pitt News, I had no idea what I was getting into. I was a writer for maybe a month and a half before now-editor-in-chief Rebecca Johnson sent me a message and asked me if I had interest in applying for the assistant sports editor position. I took a total leap of faith and applied — I’m so glad that I did.

The current editors took me in like one of their own, making the transition easy. And heck, did I need their support more than ever. I dove headfirst into the deep end, serving as the head football writer for the 2021 season. This wasn’t any old Pitt football season. This was the year of “Kenny Heisman,” the program’s first ACC Championship and Jordan Addison’s incredible tear through ACC secondaries.

Covering the football team was my dream job. My life revolved around Pitt football. I rode the 75 bus to the Southside to attend Pat Narduzzi’s weekly press conferences, then hopped back on the same bus to attend my Intro to Astronomy lecture back in Oakland. Heck, I stood in front of the Heisman Trophy, thanks to Kenny Pickett’s record-breaking season. I loved telling the stories of Pitt football’s finest. From interviews with Johnny Petrishen, Alex Officer and Kenny Pickett, I was the student body’s storyteller for Pitt football’s historic run and it was an honor.

It was hard work, but it was the job that I never thought I’d have. I didn’t want to leave any doubt that I could have done more. The Pitt News gave me the opportunity to live out a dream.

I could write forever about all of the great experiences I had the past few years while serving as the sports editor. But I won’t. The number one rule I teach new writers is that brevity is more desirable than rambling — and I choose to believe that I’m not a hypocrite.

Well, here I go — all good things must eventually come to an end. I’m so proud of everything we’ve done here and I know beyond a doubt that this newspaper will continue to flourish. 

I have so many people to thank. My parents, for always encouraging me to do what I love. My amazing girlfriend Rachel, for always listening to me ramble on about sports and encouraging me even on the toughest nights. My introduction to journalism professor Brian Broome, for encouraging me to publish my work. Stephen Thompson, for showing me how to lead a group of writers and be a better writer. Frankie Richetti, for being my right-hand man for two seasons covering football. My Assistant Sports Editor Richie Smiechowski, for co-piloting the 2022 fall semester with me. EJ Borghetti and his team on the South Side, for their help setting up interviews and willingness to always assist student journalists. Jon Moss and Rebecca Johnson, for giving a first-year writer the opportunity to help lead the sports desk. Last but certainly not least, any editor or writer I crossed paths with these past few years.

So, just like Kenny Pickett did after he beat Clemson in 2021, I’m going to go have a few cold ones and get ready for what’s next.

Thank you all for reading The Pitt News and letting me live out a childhood dream these past few years.

For the final time,

Dalton Coppola, Sports Editor for The Pitt News