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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Chris Matthews poses for a photo at the Global Hub in Posvar Hall.
Chris Matthews: Inspiring language learners at home and abroad
By Anna Kuntz, Senior Staff Writer • April 22, 2024
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By Irene Castillo, Senior Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

Born and bred: From Pittsburgh natives, to Pitt Panthers, to Hall of Famers

Former+New+York+Jets+cornerback+Darrelle+Revis+speaks+during+a+news+conference+officially+announcing+his+retirement+from+NFL+football%2C+Tuesday%2C+July+24%2C+2018%2C+in+Florham+Park%2C+N.J.
AP Photo/Julio Cortez
Former New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis speaks during a news conference officially announcing his retirement from NFL football, Tuesday, July 24, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J.

During the homecoming faceoff between the Panthers and Cardinals on Oct. 14, Pitt took the time to recognize alum and latest Pro Football Hall of Famer Darrelle Revis. He is another player added to Pitt’s long-standing list of Hall of Fame former Panthers — many of whose roots lie right here in the Steel City. 

Revis was raised in Aliquippa, just outside the city of Pittsburgh, first making a name for himself in the WPIAL football league. During his time at Pitt, he built a highly decorated stat sheet with accolades like first-team freshman All-America honors, first-team All-Big East cornerback and candidacy for the Jim Thorpe Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy

Revis went on to be selected in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the New York Jets, where he spent eight seasons. He also spent time playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs. During his career, he was named to seven Pro Bowls and is a four-time first-team All-Pro. Revis and the Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX.

With his induction in August 2023, Revis became the 10th former Pitt football player featured in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. With his addition this now places Pitt, tied with Ohio State, for third among schools producing the most Pro Football Hall of Famers in the nation. They sit close behind some big name football schools such as Southern California, Notre Dame and Michigan. 

Accompanying Revis, former Pitt players in the Pro Hall of Fame include Jimbo Covert, Mike Ditka, Chris Doleman, Tony Dorsett, Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, Dan Marino, Curtis Martin and Joe Schmidt. 

A few of them share a common trait with Revis — Ditka, Dorsett, Covert, Martin, Schmidt and Marino were all born and raised in the Pittsburgh area. 

Ditka played for Pitt football from 1958 to 1960. As a senior, he was named a team captain and led the team with 11 receptions for 229 yards and two receiving touchdowns. He finished his college career with 45 passes for 730 yards and seven touchdowns, and in 1997, his No. 89 jersey number was retired by the University. 

In his professional career, he spent time playing for the Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. After retiring as a player, Ditka spent nine seasons as an assistant coach with the Cowboys. During his tenure, the Cowboys made the playoffs eight times, won six division titles and three NFC championships and had a Super Bowl victory in 1977. He also spent time on the coaching staff with the Chicago Bears and the New Orleans Saints. 

Alongside Revis, Tony Dorsett grew up in Aliquippa playing in the WPIAL for Hopewell High School. Once coming to Pitt, Dorsett became the first first-year in 29 years named All-American, and three games into his sophomore season, he became Pitt’s all-time leader in career rushing yards, surpassing the old record of 1,957 yards set by Marshall Goldberg. 

As a senior in 1976, Dorsett led Pitt to a national title, picking up the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, the Walter Camp Award for player of the year and the United Press International Player of the Year award. In his professional career, he spent time with the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos. 

He is the first of only two players in history who has won the Heisman Trophy, the Super Bowl, the College National Championship and been enshrined in both the College Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. The football stadium at Hopewell High School is named after Dorsett, as well as a street near Acrisure Stadium, the home stadium of the Panthers, is also named after him.

Covert attended Freedom High School in Beaver County, about 35 minutes outside of Pittsburgh. He played at Pitt from 1978 to 1982 and played under Ditka with the Chicago Bears from 1983 to 1991.

Martin lived in Point Breeze and played high school football at Taylor Allderdice. He played for Pitt from 1991 to 1994 and continued a professional career with the New England Patriots and New York Jets. 

Schmidt grew up in Brentwood, playing football at Brentwood High School. He played at Pitt from 1950 to 1952, continuing his professional career with the Detroit Lions as a player from 1953 to 1965 and as a coach from 1967 to 1972. 

Dan Marino grew up on Parkview Avenue in South Oakland, a brisk 15-minute walk from The Cathedral of Learning. Marino played high school football at Central Catholic before enrolling at Pitt from 1979 to 1982. During the three seasons from 1979 through 1981, Pitt garnered 33 wins with only 3 losses and was constantly ranked in the top 5 of both the AP poll and the Coaches poll.

Marino was picked by the Miami Dolphins in the 1983 NFL Draft, where he set several records as a rookie. Marino became the first quarterback in NFL history to record three consecutive seasons of 30 or more touchdown passes — 48 in 1984, 30 in 1985 and 44 in 1986. Over the course of those three seasons, Marino led the league in completions, yards and touchdown passes. He was the first and only quarterback in NFL history to lead in all three categories for three consecutive seasons, and he was named 1986 first-team All-Pro. 

Pitt is also waiting on current Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle and former Panther Aaron Donald to have his moment in Canton, Ohio, as a Pro Football Hall of Famer. With three Defensive Player of the Year awards, a Defensive Rookie of the Year award and nine Pro Bowl selections along with a Super Bowl victory in 2022, Donald is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame once he’s eligible.

Donald’s induction would place Pitt tied at 11 with Michigan for the second-most Pro Football Hall of Famers in the nation. Growing up in Pittsburgh and attending Penn Hills High School, this would also make him another city native in the recurring pipeline from the Steel City to the Panthers and all the way to the Hall of Fame.

About the Contributor
Camille de Jesus, Staff Writer