Pitt greats Matt Cavanaugh and Craig “Ironhead” Heyward are representing the Panthers on the National Football Foundation 2019 College Football Hall of Fame Ballot.
Cavanaugh, 61, was the starting quarterback for Pitt’s undefeated national championship squad in 1976 and was MVP of the 1977 Sugar Bowl. He was a 1977 All-American and finished with 3,378 career passing yards.
He was a second round pick by the New England Patriots in 1978 and played in the NFL for 15 seasons. Since then, he’s become a notable offensive coach. He’s served at his alma mater twice, as tight ends coach from 1992 to 1993 and as offensive coordinator from 2005 to 2008. Cavanaugh is currently the offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins.
Heyward was a powerful running back and fullback that racked up over 3,000 yards in three seasons with the Panthers from 1985 to 1987. In his junior season, he had 1,791 yards and 12 touchdowns while earning All-American status. His powerful running style made him a popular player and also a sought-after athlete at the next level.
He was drafted in the first round by the New Orleans Saints and had 4,301 yards and 30 touchdowns in his 11-year pro career. Heyward’s career was shortened by a tumor, the recurrence of which took his life at age 39 in 2006. Heyward’s son, Cameron, is a defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Pitt has 19 players in the College Football Hall of Fame. The last Panthers player to be inducted was Ruben Brown in 2015. Pitt coaches Len Casanova, Clark Shaughnessy, Jock Sutherland and Pop Warner have also been immortalized. The 2019 class will be announced in January.