Pitt wide receiver Maurice Ffrench, heavyweight wrestler Demetrius Thomas and volleyball middle blocker Layne Van Buskirk and outside hitter Stephanie Williams will be permanently added to the school’s Victory Walk outside the Cathedral of Learning, the athletic department announced on Wednesday.
Thomas and Williams were named winners of the Blue-Gold Award as the Pitt student-athlete who “best represents the student-athlete “ideal” based on academic scholarship, athletic achievement, leadership qualities and citizenship.”
Ffrench and Van Buskirk were honored with the Panther Award for the “senior student-athlete who has promoted Pittsburgh Athletics through his or her outstanding athletic achievement.”
Ffrench, from New Brunswick, New Jersey, amassed 156 receptions for 1637 yards and 16 total touchdowns in four years with the Panthers, including a standout performance in the 2019 Quick Lane Bowl, when he caught 12 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown and broke Larry Fitzgerald’s Pitt record for receptions in a season with 96. He also played cornerback and returned kicks for Pitt while playing 45 games over the last four years.
Thomas, from Ferguson, Missouri, joined Pitt after wrestling two seasons at the NAIA level and quickly became a force for the Panthers on and off the mat, winning two ACC championships and becoming a team captain. He’ll continue wrestling with the Pittsburgh RTC.
Van Buskirk and Williams were big parts of Pitt’s record-setting 2019 season. The Panthers finished the season with a 30-2 record, a third straight ACC title and were named the Dapper Dan Sporstwomen of the Year.
Pitt ended the 2019 regular season with a program-high No. 2 national ranking and were the No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament, which they qualified for in every season that Van Buskirk and Williams suited up for Pitt.
The Pitt Varsity Walk is located between Heinz Chapel and the Cathedral of Learning. The 2019 winners were Kamalani Akeo, Darrin Hall, Qadree Ollison, Javi Perez and Gillian Schriver.