When it came to Pitt alumni from years past that remained involved in the program, almost none compared to legendary Pitt offensive lineman and College Football Hall of Famer Bill Fralic.
The former Panthers, Penn Hills and Atlanta Falcons great was a regular sight around the program, whether it was interrupting one of Narduzzi’s question and answer sessions in 2015 …
… helping to fete his linemate Jimbo Covert at his jersey retirement ceremony …
… or taking in the Pitt-Penn State game from the Heinz Field sideline.
— Alan Saunders (@ASaunders_PGH) September 10, 2016
His battle with cancer lessened the amount that he was able to be around the program over the last few years, but the news of his death on Friday still was felt deeply by those connected with the Pitt football team.
“Bill Fralic was not only an all-time player at the University of Pittsburgh, but also an all-time human being,” head coach Pat Narduzzi said in a press release. “His generosity, support and concern for others was unmatched. For as hulking a figure as he was, Billy was even larger in his kindness and passion for others. He leaves a wonderful legacy that goes well beyond football at Pitt, Penn Hills and all of Western Pennsylvania. Our hearts and prayers are with his wife, Susan, and all of his loved ones.”
“Bill is truly one of the iconic figures in the history of Pitt athletics,” athletic director Heather Lyke said. “He set a tremendous standard for our current generation of student-athletes, not only as an athlete but also for what he went on to accomplish once his playing days concluded. Bill’s reputation for giving back might even transcend his Hall of Fame football career. He was a passionate supporter of Pitt and Penn Hills. Our deepest sympathies to his wife, Susan, and his many loved ones and friends.”