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Pitt Inducts 13 into Athletics Hall of Fame

Pitt Inducts 13 into Athletics Hall of Fame

Pitt has inducted 13 former athletes and coaches into the Pitt Hall of Fame Class of 2020, athletic director Heather Lyke announced on Tuesday.

Jennifer Bruce, Chantee Earl, Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, Brandin Knight, Anne Marie Lucanie, Ken Macha, Curtis Martin, Bob Peck, Donna DeMarino Sanft, Pat Santoro, Jackie Sherrill, Arnie Sowell and Glenn Scobey “Pop” Warner were inducted as the third class in the Hall of Fame, which was founded in 2018.

“As Pitt’s athletic director, it has been one of my biggest thrills to make these phone calls to our Forever Panthers, letting them know they have been selected for the Pitt Athletics Hall of Fame,” Lyke said in a press release. “This is an extraordinary group of athletes who are also extraordinary human beings. In short, they represent the very best of the University of Pittsburgh.”

The 2020 class will receive induction at the Pitt Athletics Hall of Fame Dinner on Friday, Oct. 16, at Heinz Field, one day before Pitt is scheduled to host Notre Dame.

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Bruce was a women’s basketball player for Pitt from 1981-85 and remains the second-leading all-time scorer in Pitt basketball history, men’s or women’s, with 2,295 points. Bruce was a three-time All-Big East selection and was named the 1984 Big East co-Player of the Year.

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Earl won the 800 meters as the 2000 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Champions and was the runner-up at the 2000 Outdoor Championships, after finishing in first place in every other meet in her senior season. Earl is one of the most decorated Pitt track and field athletes, earning six All-America awards and seven Big East titles.

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Heyward was a running back for Pitt from 1985-87, rushing for over 3,000 yards in three season while earning the nickname “Ironhead” for his punishing rushing style. In his junior season, he had 1,791 yards and 12 touchdowns while earning All-American status. 

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. He has been nominated for the College Football Hall of Fame. Heyward’s son, Cameron, is a defensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

January 6, 2015: Pittsburgh’s Assistant Coach Brandin Knight and Pittsburgh’s Head Coach Jamie Dixon. The University of Pittsburgh Panthers defeated the Boston College Eagles 61-60 (OT) in an ACC basketball matchup at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. — Icon/Sportwire

Knight, 38, was a point guard for Pitt’s men’s basketball team from 1999-03 and left with the school record in assists with 785. Knight is still No. 18 on Pitt’s all-time list of leading scorers with 1,440 points, and his No. 20 uniform is one of four to have been retired to the rafters of the Petersen Events Center.

After his Pitt career, Knight played professionally, including a short stint with the Houston Rockets before an injury ended his career. He turned his focus to coaching, working under Pitt coach Jamie Dixon as an assistant at his alma mater from 2006-16. Since then, he’s become an assistant coach at Rutgers.

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Lucanie played for the Pitt volleyball team from 1990-93, setting a Pitt career kills record that stood for 14 years and still ranks second all-time with 1,815. She was an All-American in her senior season, after helping Pitt to a 101-39 overall record over her four years and four Big East regular-season and tournament titles.

September 03 2010: Milwaukee Brewers Manager Ken Macha watches batting practice during the Milwaukee Brewers vs Philadelphia Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Macha joined Pitt’s basketball team as a walk-on in 1968 and became one of the program’s most accomplished players. As a senior, he was an honorable mention All-American and went on to be drafted in the sixth round of the 1972 MLB Draft. In parts of six MLB seasons, the corner infielder hit .258 and drove in 39 runs.

Macha went on to be a longtime MLB coach with the Montreal Expos, California Angels and Oakland Athletics and managed the A’s from 2003-06 and Milwaukee Brewers from 2009-10, finishing with a .540 career winning percentage.

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Martin, 47, came to Pitt as a running back from Taylor Allderice High School in Pittsburgh, and rushed for 2,643 yards, despite two injury-shortened seasons. His junior year was his best, when he rushed for 1,075 yards and seven touchdowns in 1993. 

After his senior season was shortened by injury, he turned pro, going to New England in the third round of the 1995 NFL Draft. Over 14 pro seasons between the Patriots and New York Jets, he was a five-time Pro Bowl selection, three-time All-Pro and lead the NFL in rushing yards in 2004. His 14,101 career yards still stand as No. 6 all-time in the NFL.

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Peck was Pitt’s first football All-American and was selected three times as a center on the football team from 1914-16. He was one of Pitt’s leaders on teams that went 24-1 over his final three seasons, winning two National Championships.

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Sanft served Pitt in three roles, as a student-athlete gymnast, a head gymnastics coach, and then as an administrator, with no gaps in her time in Oakland from 1970-2014. She was the first varsity head coach in Pitt gymnastics history and was a two-time Eastern Collegiate coach of the year.

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Santoro wrestled at Pitt from 1986-89 and is still one of the most decorated wrestlers in Pitt history. His 20 NCAA Tournament wins still stands as a Pitt record, as is his overall record of 167-13. Competing at 142 pounds, Santoro won NCAA titles in 1988 (after running the table at 48-0) and then again in 1989.

After his time at Pitt, Santoro placed twice at the U.S. Olympic trials, once serving as an Olympic alternate and was the runner-up at the 1992 U.S. Open Freestyle Championships. Santoro was an assistant coach at Penn State, Duquesne and Lehigh before becoming a head coach first at Maryland and then returning to Lehigh, where he’s coached since 2008.

24 November 2012: Former coach Jackie Sherrill watches action during 59 – 29 win over the Missouri Tigers at Kyle Field in College Station, TX.

Sherrill, 76, was coach at Pitt from 1977-81, continuing Pitt’s winning tradition that he inherited from Johnny Majors. Sherrill’s 50-9-1 record and .842 winning percentage is the best amongst all Pitt coaches. Sherrill was the Walter Camp Coach of the Year in 1981 before leaving Pitt to coach at Texas A&M and then Mississippi State.

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Sowell ran at Pitt from 1953-57, winning four NCAA titles in middle distances, and also competing as a jumper and on Pitt’s relay teams. Internationally, he won the gold medal in the 800 meters in the 1955 Pan-American Games and placed fourth in the 1956 Summer Olympics. He set the world indoor record in the 880 yards in 1957 and tied the word record in the 1,000 yards in 1955.

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Warner was the Panthers’ head football coach from 1915-23, with an overall record of 60-12-4 and won three national championships, in 1915, 1916 and 1918. Warner remains the third-winningest coach in Pitt history.

Warner was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951 and is widely known as one of the great innovators of the development of football, inventing the three-point stance, the screen pass, the huddle, the bootleg and many other pieces of the game.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Clark Martineau
Clark Martineau
2 months ago

When does Dixon get in? He should be in our Hall of Fame.

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