McDonald's® has inked a three-year extension of its sponsorship of Pitt athletics. The agreement between Pitt IMG Sports Marketing and local McDonald's restaurants includes signage, radio, game day and social media advertising, logo usage, and promotional opportunities.
Pitt IMG Sports Marketing and the University of Pittsburgh Athletic Department have announced a three-year marketing and services partnership agreement with Cricket Wireless.
Steve Pederson's tenure as athletic director at the University of Pittsburgh has coincided with an impressive period of growth and accomplishment.
By any athletic or academic measure, the Panthers have experienced an energized renewal under Pederson's watch. Aged facilities have been replaced by state-of-the-art training and competition venues. Championship banners have been hung as have a record number of diplomas. Trophy cases expanded and so did student-athlete grade-point averages.
The Panthers' respected stature in the world of intercollegiate athletics was further reinforced in September 2011 when the Atlantic Coast Conference officially extended the University of Pittsburgh an invitation for membership.
Widely considered the nation's finest conference for academic and athletic attainment, the ACC's invitation was in many ways a culmination of the vision Pederson and Chancellor Mark Nordenberg conceived for Pitt some 15 years prior. It was an endorsement of Pitt's success both as an academic institution and athletic department - and showed that the two are not mutually exclusive.
That's no coincidence. Pederson works diligently to ensure Pitt Athletics remains a direct reflection of the University of Pittsburgh and its guiding values of education, commitment and mentoring. "We will work hard to win," Pederson likes to say. "But we will work harder to win the right way. We want Pitt Athletics to reflect the very best attributes of this great university and its educational mission."
Pederson's philosophy for the department is "Only Big Dreams." The Panthers will work hard and aim high in every endeavor on and off the field. Using those values as a foundation, Pitt Athletics under his watch continues to thrive and grow. Among the recent Pitt points of pride:
Each of Pitt's 19 intercollegiate athletic programs met or surpassed the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate (APR) standards during the most recent evaluation period. Twelve Pitt teams were above the Division I average score in their particular sport, while seven teams achieved their highest score ever.
For the second consecutive year, Pitt men's basketball received special recognition for ranking among the top 10% in APR among all Division I basketball programs. Pitt and Notre Dame are the only two Big East men's basketball programs to receive APR national recognition in each of the past two years. In addition to its academic achievements, Coach Jamie Dixon's Panthers extended their postseason streak to 11 consecutive years in 2012, including 10 NCAA Tournament berths.
The introduction of Paul Chryst as Pitt's new head football coach. A two-time Broyles Award (nation's top assistant coach) finalist, Chryst was lauded as one of the best hires in college football this past offseason. He brings to Pittsburgh an outstanding reputation as a tactician and teacher.
A burgeoning eastern dynasty in Pitt wrestling. The Panthers won their third consecutive Eastern Wrestling League dual championship and second straight EWL tournament title this past year. The Panthers placed 15th nationally, their highest national finish in nearly 25 years.
A two-year record (2010-12) of more than $14 million in donations to the Panther Club annual fund, which subsidizes scholarships for Pitt student-athletes. The record total was achieved despite the recently challenging economic times that all supporters of collegiate athletics face.
The opening of the sparkling new Petersen Sports Complex, a state-of-the-art home for Pitt's baseball, softball and men's and women's soccer teams. Built on 12 acres at the peak of upper campus, the facility not only gives Pitt student-athletes nationally competitive facilities, but it also has rejuvenated a previously untapped area of land that neighbors the university.
A media partnership with CBS Radio Pittsburgh, providing Pitt football and basketball with a 50,000-watt flagship home in Sportsradio 93.7 "The Fan." Women's basketball also has a strong radio home in 1320 WJAS-AM, which provides live play-by-play action of each regular-season and postseason game, marking the first time the women's program has enjoyed such coverage.
An athletics apparel partnership with NIKE, making the Panthers one of the finest outfitted programs in the country. Each of the Panthers' 19 intercollegiate sports teams wear NIKE footwear, uniforms, practice gear and equipment. The long-term agreement outfits more than 450 student-athletes at Pitt.
Through the Cathy and John Pelusi Family Life Skills Program, Pitt continues to develop well-rounded student-athletes away from the athletic arena. This past year, student-athletes contributed more than 2,600 hours of charitable work for various organizations in Western Pennsylvania and beyond.
This success - on the field, in the classroom and various other areas - comes as no surprise to those familiar with Pederson's track record. The 2012-13 academic year marks the sixth year of his second tenure at Pitt.
Pederson first arrived at Pitt in 1996 and took charge of an athletic department that was perhaps at its lowest end both competitively and from an infrastructure standpoint.
During his initial Pitt tenure from 1996-2002, Pederson hired six Big East Conference Coach-of-the-Year honorees (football, men's and women's basketball, baseball, track and field and volleyball), an unprecedented achievement by a Big East athletic director. The Panthers' highest-profile sports - football and men's basketball - experienced impressive revivals during that time. After going to just one postseason game during the 1990s, Pitt football has gone bowling nine of the past 12 years. The men's basketball program became one of the country's most consistent winners, capturing six Big East titles and advancing to 10 consecutive NCAA Tournaments from 2002-11.
Pederson's tenure has witnessed a major strengthening of Pitt's athletic infrastructure. With Chancellor Nordenberg, he helped shape the vision of the Petersen Events Center, the state-of-the-art convocation center that dramatically revolutionized Pitt's campus upon its opening in 2002. The Events Center is considered one of the finest college basketball venues in the country and has also been a major asset for student life, providing outstanding recreational facilities and a fitting place for graduation ceremonies.
Pederson was at the forefront of the football program's move into the UPMC Sports Performance Complex, which included the forging of a unique relationship between UPMC, a professional sports franchise and college athletic program. He personally oversaw the design and layout of the Panthers' Duratz Athletic Complex, which houses Pitt's football offices and training areas, and has been described as the finest facility for a college football program in the country.
Pitt football gained a new state-of-the-art home stadium in Heinz Field under Pederson's watch in 2001.The Panthers gained a prominent presence at the new stadium with their logos on the seating, gates and signage. Pederson additionally initiated the renaming of Martindale Street to "Tony Dorsett Drive" to further enhance Pitt's identity on the North Shore.
Over the course of one decade, Pitt either built new venues or significantly renovated existing facilities for 17 of its 19 programs, making it one of the most dramatic infrastructure enhancements in all of college sports.
During his five years at Nebraska (2002-07), Pederson was also at the forefront of significant facilities construction, including a $51 million expansion to Memorial Stadium. The project resulted in new football facilities as well as new strength, sports medicine and indoor facilities for baseball, softball, soccer and sand volleyball. Additionally, the women's volleyball, gymnastics and rifle teams received a new office complex. Athletics fundraising doubled over his final four years, going from $9 million annually in 2003 to $16 million his final year.
Nebraska achieved at exceptional levels athletically and academically during his time in Lincoln. In 2006-07, the Cornhuskers won the national championship in women's volleyball, while the football team won the 2006 Big 12 North title and advanced to its first New Year's Day bowl game since 2001. Overall, 15 Nebraska teams earned NCAA invitations. Academically, Nebraska earned a school-record 94% graduation rate, the highest in the Big 12 as Cornhusker student-athletes achieved a combined 3.0 grade-point average during the 2007 spring semester.
In addition to his duties as athletic director at Pitt, Pederson serves on the board for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation in Pittsburgh as well as the Pittsburgh Symphony. He is also a community leader for the American Heart Association's Heart Walk.
He and his wife Tami have three children: Mark, Kari and Kristin. Mark is married to the former Brooke Gillette, while Kari was married to Jim Miketo in August 2012.