The Pitt football program received an historic donation from a former alumnus.
Chris Bickell graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997 and has decided to give back to his school in a large way that will link him with the football program.
The Pitt head coaching position will permanently be named the Chris Bickell ’97 Head Football Coach after Bickell decided to donate $20 million to the Pitt football program. This is the first time that a Pitt coaching position has been named. That gift is the largest single donation in the history of Pitt Athletics.
According to the university, the $20 million will help fund significant capital improvements that will benefit the total Pitt football student-athlete experience. $10 million will immediately be used to enhance training, nutrition and learning environment infrastructure. The other $10 million will be placed in an endowment to support such efforts in perpetuity.
“Chris is a generous and longtime supporter of the University of Pittsburgh’s football program,” said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “This gift, however, is perhaps his most powerful and it will help to shape the future and success of Pitt football for years to come.”
“We are forever grateful for Chris’s generous donation that demonstrates his commitment to our football program and the extraordinary experience we want for our student-athletes, both in the present and into our future,” said Athletic Director Heather Lyke. “Chris understands the transformational role athletics can have on a young person’s life, and the joy and excitement it brings to students and alumni alike. Chris is an exception person and we are proud to recognize his passion and support of the Panthers by naming the head football coaching position in his honor.”
Bickell enjoyed success as he previously was founder of Liberty IT Solutions. Today, he is CEO of WellHive, a firm that seamlessly connects military veterans with healthcare services.
“I am a proud Pitt Man and it is my honor to give back to this great University,” said Bickell. “I believe the leadership is in place to take Pitt Athletics and our football program to the next level. I hope my gift inspires others to do their part in making that happen”
Wonderful morning thanking Chris Bickell for his inspirational gift to @Pitt_FB. Great message to the team that hard work and taking care of the little things leads you to new heights. We are on the way up! #H2P pic.twitter.com/wPFL983oYF
— Lee Roberts (@robertslh) September 2, 2021
Bickell will speak to the Pitt football team today and this generous gift will be recognized at Saturday’s season opener against UMass.