Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremonies are very common during the fall on many college campuses around the country.
However, the University of Pittsburgh, which was founded in 1787, last weekend inducted its inaugural class into its new Pitt Athletics Hall of Fame. The NFL was well represented in the 16 member star-studded group.
Dan Marino was included in the class and in attendance as were Tony Dorsett and Hugh Green. Football Legends Marshall Goldberg and Jock Sutherland were honored posthumously. Bill Fralic had to miss the ceremony due to reported illness but Mike Ditka helped fill the void during a question and answer period at the event.
Ditka, who was a unanimous first-team selection on the College Football All-America team as a receiver in his senior year, reminded the audience he also played varsity basketball at Pitt.
“We played West Virginia every year,” he called, “and one game I guarded (Basketball Hall of Famer) Jerry West. I guarded him for 15—no, maybe 12 minutes. He had 27 points. I had 5 fouls, You can look it up.”
Ditka was asked if he had any regrets about steering away from his original plans to study in the Pitt dental school program.
“No regrets,” Ditka answered, “but there probably are a lot of people out there that are glad I didn’t make it. I forgot you had to take chemistry. What the hell does chemistry have to do with dentistry?” Well-stated, Coach!
We at NFL Alumni are pleased that Pitt introduced its first Athletics Hall of Fame class in 231 years. We are certain there will be many more NFL alumni inducted in future years.