Football: Fans looking to turn yellow Heinz Field blue

By Jay Huerbin

When Coach Dave Wannstedt and the Pitt football team enter Heinz Field on Saturday, they want to… When Coach Dave Wannstedt and the Pitt football team enter Heinz Field on Saturday, they want to see and hear the blues.

That’s because a student-led campaign to make sure everybody wore blue in the stands is set for the Panthers’ Homecoming matchup against South Florida.

The goal of the Turn it Blue promotion is to have every fan in attendance wear blue to show their support for the Panthers and their 6-1 start to the season.

Coming off three consecutive Big East victories, Pitt’s athletic director, Steve Pederson, said that students approached him with the idea to turn the stadium blue. They want to see not only the students but all Pitt fans dressed in blue to cheer on the Panthers.

The athletic department will give all fans that attend the game with a student ticket a blue shirt. Pederson said the idea is to combine a successful football season with fans who have fun and cheer on their team.

“This has been a tremendously exciting football season thus far, and we have the opportunity to continue it with another big game on Saturday against South Florida,” Pederson said. “We’re looking forward to a great crowd decked out in blue and a great game this weekend.”

The idea was a hit, and student groups have been involved since the start.

Although he said it wasn’t his idea, one of the student leaders who is working to make sure Turn it Blue is a success is senior and Blue and Gold Society president Max Greenwald.

He and other members spent Thursday night hanging up flyers in classrooms and other parts of campus.

“Hopefully we keep winning, and hopefully the students keep coming more often,” Greenwald said. “But in the long run, hopefully there is a requirement for these kind of things, because the students and our fans will know what to do and what to wear.”

Greenwald used the Texas Longhorns’ fans — who wear nothing but burnt orange — as an example and hopes that with the start of the Turn it Blue promotion, Pitt students won’t need the help of the athletic department to show support for their team.

“Hopefully this starts a tradition that if you’re showing up for a Pitt football program, you will wear blue,” he said.

But it’s not just football fans that are excited about the new promotion.

Basketball fans are also getting involved. Josh Frantz, a senior and the current president of the Oakland Zoo, encouraged fans to come out to game and support the football team.

“We feel it’s important to support all teams,” Frantz said. “We want to get as many students as possible to go to as many sporting events as they can. The basketball team is one of the best teams in the country, but that doesn’t mean other teams don’t deserve to have fans at their games.”

The Zoo sent out e-mails to its members, letting them know about Turn it Blue and hopes that fans will get involved with their football team.

Frantz, who attended last week’s football game against Rutgers, referenced all Rutgers fans wearing red last week and Pitt basketball fans wearing gold as examples of what he wants to see on Saturday. He believes that more unity among fans will eventually lead to more success for the football team.

“I think the goal of this promotion is to get the fans involved now,” Frantz said. “So if we keep winning, people will continue to come back. It will provide for a better atmosphere for our team. And they deserve that.”

Kickoff for the game is set for noon.