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Four Football Legends Being Inducted Into Pitt Hall of Fame



Pitt / NFL wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

The past will collide with the present of Pitt football this Saturday at Acrisure Stadium.

Pitt will induct its Hall of Fame class this Friday at the Petersen Events Center, with a reception and a dinner (individual tickets costing $150 and tables costing $1,250), before the class will be honored Saturday at Acrisure Stadium during Pitt’s game against North Carolina.

The class of 2023 includes Clive Vaughn (men’s basketball), Keith Gavin (wrestling), Maureen McCandless (women’s track and field & cross country), Allison Williams-Murphy (women’s track and field), Richard Bradshaw (swimming & diving), Suzanne Pulley-Klacik (swimming), Bobby Lewis (baseball), and Joe Luxbacher (men’s soccer).

Former Pitt stars Larry Fitzgerald, Matt Cavanaugh, Chris Doleman and Ruben Brown are also a part of the class — the fifth class of Hall of Famers.

Fitzgerald spent two seasons at Pitt from 2002-03, recording 161 receptions for 2,677 yards and 34 touchdowns. His sophomore campaign (92 receptions for 1,672 yards and 22 touchdowns) earned him Heisman runner-up honors.

Fitzgerald was perhaps the best player in college football in the 2003 season as he won the Biletnikoff Award, the Walter Camp Award, the Big East Offensive Player of the Year and was named a unanimous All-American.

The Arizona Cardinals selected Fitzgerald with the third selection in the 2004 NFL Draft, and he would go on to become one of the best wide receivers in NFL history. In 17 seasons, he recorded 1,432 receptions (second all-time) for 17,492 yards (second all-time) and 121 touchdowns (sixth all-time).

Cavanaugh was Pitt’s last championship-winning quarterback, starting at Pitt in the late-70s, including the national championship season in 1976, and he earned All-American honors as a senior in 1977. He finished his Pitt career with 2,799 passing yards and 26 touchdowns.

Cavanaugh was selected by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 1978 NFL Draft, and he would go on to spend 15 seasons in the NFL — winning two Super Bowls as a backup quarterback. He then spent nearly 30 years as a coach, working at Pitt from 1992-93 and 2005-08.

Doleman is one of the best players to ever come out of Pitt, named a captain three times in a stellar collegiate career in which he recorded 25 sacks in the early 80s before he was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 1985 NFL Draft.

In 15 NFL seasons, Doleman recorded 975 tackles, 11 tackles (which were only recorded in his final season in 1999), 150.5 sacks, 44 forced fumbles, 34 fumble recoveries, eight interceptions and two pass breakups (which, again, were only recorded in his final season).

Doleman was a four-time All-Pro, eight-time Pro Bowler and eventual Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee in 2012. Unfortunately, Doleman passed away in 2020.

Brown was a physical presence on the offensive line in the early 90s, earning three All-Big East honors before working his way into being selected by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft.

Brown was one of the best interior linemen in the NFL during his lengthy playing career, starting in all 181 games he played between 1995-2007. He earned four All-Pro honors, nine Pro Bowl nods and anchored lines for the Bills and Chicago Bears in that time.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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