|University of Pittsburgh Football Facts and History
- First football season: Known as the Western University of Pennsylvania at the time, Pittsburgh
played their first football game in 1889. The one game played that year was an informal one
and it wasn't until the next year that football was officially sanctioned by the school.
- University of Pittsburgh National Championships: The University claims nine national titles.
The first three were directed by legendary coaching figure Glenn "Pop" Warner. Warner's 1915
team posted an 8-0 record and was declared the national champion by Parke Davis. The
championship momentum continued the following season as Warner's squad completed an 8-
0 record and were the unanimous choice for the 1916 national title. Although Pittsburg's 1918
team boasted only a 4-1 mark, the school was once again a unanimous choice for college
football's national championship.
Head Coach Jock Sutherland led the Panthers to five national championships. The first three
were awarded by Parke Davis who declared Pittsburgh as the nation's best in 1929, 1931 and
1934. Sutherlan's final two national championship seasons were crowned in 1936 and 1937.
The '36 team was honored as champs by the Houlgate System and the Boand System while
those two groups and several more (including the AP) selected the 1937 team. Each one of
Sutherland's championship teams suffered one loss.
Head Coach Johnny Majors led the Panthers final national championship charge in 1976. Pitt
posted an unblemished 12-0 record and was college football's unanimous choice as the
- Pitt's last undefeated season: The 1976 national championship 12-0 squad featuring
Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett was the last Pittsburgh team to go undefeated.
- School's first bowl appearances: The Panthers first bowl outing was the 1927 Rose Bowl that
saw the Jock Sutherland's squad fall to Stanford 7-6.
- University of Pittsburgh Heisman Trophy Winners: RB Tony Dorsett won the award in 1976 as
Pitt cruised through an undefeated season. Dorsett sparked the offense with 1948 rushing
yards to lead the nation.
- Top Rival: Pitt's annual game against West Virginia is known as the "Backyard Brawl." This
historic rivalry was first played in 1895.
- University of Pittsburgh Nickname - Panthers: The school adopted this name in 1909 for
several reasons. The Panther actually once roamed the Western Pennsylvania area, no other
schools were using the name, it's ancient standing as a noble animal and the close
approximate hue of the animal to the Old Gold schools color.