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Pitt Unveils 2023 Hall of Fame Class



Pitt Hall of Fame

Pitt Athletics released their 2023 Hall of Fame Class on Monday, which includes nine athletes, two head coaches and one athlete/head coach across 10 programs.

This is the fifth Hall of Fame Class, which Pitt started in 2018 and has done every year, excluding 2020 during COVID-19. The Class features four football players in wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, defensive lineman Chris Doleman, quarterback Matt Cavanaugh and offensive lineman Ruben Brown. It also features Clive Vaughn of men’s basketball, Keith Gavin of wrestling, Maureen McCandless of women’s track and field/cross country, Allison Williams-Murphy of women’s track and field, swimming and diving head coach Richard Bradshaw, Suzanne Pulley-Klacik of women’s swimming, baseball head coach Bobby Lewis, and men’s soccer student-athlete and head coach Joe Luxbacher.

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Pitt will induct the 2023 Hall of Fame Class at the Petersen Events Center on Friday, Sept. 22 at a reception and dinner, with individual tickets at $150 and a table at $1,250. Pitt will then honor the inductees at Acrisure Stadium when Pitt football takes on North Carolina on Saturday, Sept. 23.

Fitzgerald is one of the best wide receivers in Pitt history and had a stellar career. He starred in 20o3, where he made 92 receptions, third most in school history for a single season, had 1,672 receiving yards and 22 receiving yards, both most in Pitt history for a single season and best in the country. He won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best wide receiver, the Walter Camp Award, earned unanimous All-American honors and, surprisingly, finished runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting. He holds the record for most receiving touchdowns in a Pitt career with 34 and is also No. 5 and No. 6 in Pitt history with 161 career receptions and 2,677 career receiving yards.

Fitzgerald played all 17 years in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals, making 1,432 receptions and accruing 17,432 receiving yards, both second most in NFL history, and grabbing 121 receiving touchdowns, sixth most in NFL history.

Doleman started all four seasons at Pitt from 1981-84 and is No. 8 in program history with 25.0 career sacks. He played 15 seasons in the NFL, nine with the Minnesota Vikings, three with the San Francisco 49ers and two with the Atlanta Falcons. He made 150.5 career sacks, which is No. 5 all-time in NFL history, while also earning First-Team All-Pro three times, Second-Team All-Pro twice and making eight Pro Bowls. He made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012. Doleman died after a battle with brain cancer in January 2020 at 58 years old.

Cavanaugh served as signal caller for the Panthers from 1974-77, leading them to a Sugar Bowl win over Georgia in 1976 to win the National Title. He played for 13 seasons in the NFL, winning two Super Bowl rings as a member of the 49ers in 1984-85 and the New York Giants in 1990-91. Cavanaugh also served as a coach around the NFL for 21 seasons and also six seasons at Pitt, where he served as tight ends coach in the 1992-93 seasons under Johnny Majors and offensive coordinator from 2005-08 under Dave Wannstedt.

Brown started as an offensive tackle for Pitt from 1991-94, earning All-Big East honors three times. He played guard in the NFL, with the Buffalo Bills from 1995-2003 and the Chicago Bears from 2004-07. He earned Second-Team All-Pro honors four times and made nine Pro Bowls over his career.

Vaughn is one of the best players in Pitt history and played a large role in bringing the program into the lauded Big East conference. He led Pitt to their first two tournament titles in program history with the 1981 and 1982 Eastern 8 Tournament Champions. Vaughn increased his scoring output when Pitt joined the Big East in 1983, averaging 21 points per game in his final two seasons. He is Pitt’s second all-time scorer with 2,033 points and only 12 points off the legendary Charles Smith at 2,045. Standing at 6-foot-5, Vaughn not only led Pitt in points his final three seasons, but rebounds as well.

Gavin finished with a 130-27 career record as a Panther, with a 55-4 record his final two seasons. He finished the 2007-08 season undefeated, winning all 33 matches en route to a National Title at 174 pounds. He earned All-American honors twice, won the Eastern Wrestling League title at 174 pounds twice, and earned EWL Wrestler of the Year honors twice as well. Gavin wrestled for the U.S. National Team for six years, winning the National Championship in 2013 and 2014 and placing third at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. He is currently head coach of Pitt and coached Nino Bonaccorsi to an undefeated record and a National Title at 197 pounds last season.

McCandless is one of the best distance runners in Pitt history. She led Pitt to three Big East titles, 2005 indoor and outdoor and 2006 outdoor, while also winning two individual Big East championships in the indoor 3,000 and 5,000 meters events. McCandless also won the 2004 NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region cross country championship and earned  NCAA Division I Cross Country Mid-Atlantic Region Athlete of the Year honors.

Williams-Murphy had a great career as a hurdler for the Panthers from 1989-94. She won seven Big East titles, with four indoor 55-meter titles, outdoor 100-meters twice and also as a member of the 1,600 meter relay team. Williams-Murphy also earned All-American honors three times, twice in the 100-meter hurdles and once as a member of the 1,600 meter relay team. Her performances helped the Panthers win three Big East outdoor team championships.

Bradshaw joined Pitt as an assistant coach in 1969 and would serve as head coach for different periods for both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams. He coached the men’s team from 1971-78 and 1987-90 and the women’s team from, 1975-81. Bradshaw accrued a record of 76-24 with the men’s team and 46-8 with the women’s team. He won the Big East title with the men’s team the three seasons from 1987-90 and helped to develop 13 All-Americans and five Olympians.

Pulley-Klacik earned All-American honors six times as a Panther, three times in the 400 relay, and then once in the 800 free relay, 2oo medley relay and the 200 free relay. She also won the Eastern Championship in the 100 relay in 1979 and earned All-East honors from 1979-81.

Lewis served as Pitt baseball head coach for 36 seasons from 1955-90, compiling a record of 438-389. He also played centerfield for Pitt in the late 1940s and early 1950s, captaining the team in 1951. He is a posthumous inductee, as he died from cancer in 1995.

Luxbacher played from 1970-73 and served as the Pitt men’s soccer head coach for 32 seasons from 1984-2015. He holds the Pitt record for most goals scored in a game with seven against Edinboro in 1971, points in a game with 15, career goals with 37 and is tied for most career points with 84. He has a program-record 224 wins as head coach and earned Big East Coach of the Year honors twice.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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