University of Pittsburgh Athletic Traditions
Hear the fight songs and learn the lyrics!
The Panther Pitt and The Panther Pitt Rally Towels
Given out for at least one football game every year, The Panther Pitt Rally Towels have become a trademark of the Pitt student section.
The original rally towels were blue with a gold Panther Pitt logo, but the color
scheme was reversed for the 2005 football season. Please see the photo
gallery for images of the rally towels.
Inflatable Helmet Setup/Football Fridays
During home football game weeks, members of The Panther Pitt set up a giant inflatable football helmet on the Union Lawn. During the Friday of that week, we sponsor "Football Fridays". Football Fridays
allow us to serve as a "gameday information station," meeting students and answering any questions they have about the upcoming game. We also distribute cheer sheets, Inspiring Pitt Pride stickers, spirit bracelets and more!
Generally, the purpose of Football Fridays is to get students excited for upcoming games.
The Hail to Pitt Flag
This great new tradition gives every student an opportunity to be on the football field during the pregame ceremony, in front of thousands of cheering Pitt fans.
The flag is 50 yards long and The Panther Pitt selects 100 students to carry it for each home football game. The flag tradition began in 2005 as part of our "Inspiring Pitt Pride"
"Behind the Scenes" Involvement
Throughout the football and basketball seasons, members of The Panther Pitt are invited to get more closely involved with the Athletic Department's game day operations. In 2005, members of The Panther Pitt
had opportunities to serve as athletic greeters, field assistants for instant replays, spotlight operators, camera utility assistants, and handled "quick stats" in the production room.
Meet the Coaches
These events started with "Meet Coach Wannstedt," in April of 2005. The goal of the event was to allow students to meet our new coach and promote awareness
of the upcoming Blue/Gold scrimmage. The event drew over 1000 students to the Petersen Events Center Lobby to enjoy free Burger King food, great raffle prizes, and interactions
with the football team. The event was so successful that we held a similar basketball tipoff event in the fall, (which again drew over 1000 students!). We hope to continue these
events for both football and basketball throughout many years to come.
The Pitt Dance Marathon
The University of Pittsburgh student body has entered into a contract with the UPMC Cancer Institute to raise $500,000 during the next five years. Upon fulfillment of this contract, the Cancer Institute
will name a Lung Cancer Research Lab in our honor. The Greek community and numerous other student groups participate in PDM as a means of raising this money. Currently, the event is a 24 hour dance marathon
that takes place at the Fitzgerald Fieldhouse during early December. Student organizations are invited to sponsor an activity hour, and this year The Panther Pitt will be co-sponsoring a "yell practice" in the middle
of the night. The Panther Pitt will also be raising money to sponsor a dancer and "moraler" during the marathon. To learn how you can help, write to email@example.com.
Panther Pride Campus Wide
Sponsored by the Student Government Board Traditions Committee. Get free t-shirts, make signs, and show your school pride! (2005 shirt designs pictured below)
Sponsored by the Pitt Program Council. Stop by the bonfire on the Cathedral Lawn and get a free t-shirt, interact with all of Pitt's student
athletes, catch performances by the Pitt pep band, cheerleaders, and dance team. Also featuring Coach Wannstedt
and the team, video footage, music, and more.
The Homecoming Fireworks and Laser Extravaganza
Sponsored by the Pitt Program Council, this event takes place the night before
the Homecoming game. Listen to music and watch the fireworks and laser display as a panther
climbs the Cathedral of Learning.
Laser Show Images
Your idea here.
(As members of The Panther Pitt, we
are constantly striving to create new traditions for our University!)
The Oakland Zoo
Much like The Panther Pitt, the Oakland Zoo serves as the official
student section during Panthers basketball games.
Gone, but not forgotten- Pitt Stadium was torn down
following the 1999 football season to make room for the Petersen Events Center, and new dormitories such as Pennsylvania Hall. Pitt's on-campus football stadium hosted its last game on Nov. 13, 1999,
as the Panthers defeated the Fighting Irish in a stunning 37-27 victory. Luckily, the spirit of Pitt Stadium was captured in a box during that game and has
since been released in Heinz Field.
Fitzgerald Field House
Home of the basketball teams until the Petersen Events Center opened in 2002. However, the Field House
still acts as a home for several other Pitt sports teams.
The script Pitt was perhaps the most familiar Pitt logo until former athletic director Steve Pederson was hired in 1997.
Pederson replaced the script Pitt logo with the more modern "torch-cut" Pitt logo. Nostalgic Pitt fans can still be found
sporting the former logo, and occasionally some "throwback" items featuring it are produced as well. In 2005, fans were treated to a "throwback day," where the football team wore
uniforms from the Pitt Script era.
On April 14, 2005, athletic director Jeff Long officially brought back the
"Pitt" moniker as he unveiled a new and improved block Pitt logo.
The current Panther logo was created in 1997, replacing the "script Pitt" that had been featured as Pitt's predominant logo since 1970. Prior to 1970, however, combinations of a full-bodied Panther and a block Pitt
were the most commonly used University marks. Recent uniforms also featured the eyetooth emblem, which was most prominently
displayed on the neckline of the football uniforms and on the helmets as a sticker awarded for outstanding plays.
The Panther Prowl, Pregame Concert, and March to Victory
Two hours prior to kickoff, the team buses pull up to Heinz Field. Dressed in suits, the players put on their game faces and
stoically walk by their awaiting fans as the band plays the fight songs. The band then gives
the crowd a sneak preview of their featured halftime show songs. Following the pregame concert, the band travels to the other side of PNC Park only to march back to Heinz Field, alerting all the tailgating fans in the parking lots
that game time has arrived!
The Pregame Show
"Drums thunder in the darkness, whistles sound, and the crowd pauses as smoke begins rolling onto the field through the open gates of the 'hole'. First one ghostly form appears in the cloud, then a multitude, and the crowd
roars as the announcer proclaims:"
"Presenting your University of Pittsburgh Varsity Marching Band!"
"The Pitt Band takes to the gridiron, and another home game has begun!"
The pregame show begins with a fanfare by the herald trumpet players. As the heralds run off the field, the drumline emerges from a cloud of smoke for a quick performance as they form a 'P' on the field and the familiar sound of the "run cadence" begins. The rest of the band "runs" onto the field and joins the drumline in the "pregame block," as they begin to high step in time
to the Victory March. The Golden Girls and the drum major emerge from the crowd, and the drum major does a backbend allowing the tip of his plume to touch the center of the 50 yardline (resulting in a loud cheer from the
student section). The tempo picks up and the Victory March becomes the Pitt Victory Song while the band moves the block formation up the field. Once the block reaches the center of the field, the Star Spangled Banner and the Pitt Alma Mater are generally played
while the band members remain motionless. Then the band breaks into "Hail to Pitt," playing both the verse and the chorus until they spell out "PITT" on the field. Then, the band moves the "PITT" down the field to a "P-I-T-T"
cheer, and they break into the "pregame tunnel". Some infamous and familiar video clips are shown, and a special guest announces that "YOU are the Panthers!" The jumbotron enters the team locker room and the players appear poised, focused,
and full of confidence as they make their way onto the field. The band breaks into the fight songs and the team runs through the "tunnel" they have created, greeted by thunderous cheers and applause from 65,000 screaming fans. Finally, the band marches off the field as the team captains enter for the coin toss.
The Panther Growl
Fires the 12th man up- when you hear the growl, wave the towel!
The Heinz Ketchup Red Zone
Every time the Panthers offense drives into the "red zone" (beyond the opponent's 20 yardline), the crowd goes wild as two giant Heinz ketchup bottles open, tilt, and pour "ketchup" out from above the scoreboard..."give me a K-E-T-CHUP!"
The Victory Lights
Following every football victory, as well as other prominent victories (for example, basketball team victories in the NCAA tournament, swim team conference championships, etc.), the gold hue of the victory lights
is cast over Oakland from the top of the Cathedral of Learning.
To learn more about Pitt logos, fight songs, the Panther mascot, and the Varsity Walk
please click here