"ROC" the Panther Bio
Weight: A slim 140 lbs.
Fur color: Vegas Gold
Eye Color: Navy
Tail length: 2 ft. 7 inches
Paw size: Large enough to squash the Big East Conference
Jersey Number: #00
Favorite Song: Hail to PITT!
Favorite TV show: Tom and Jerry, with Garfield as a close second
Favorite College Sports Team: The PITT PANTHERS of course!
Roc is not your average cat. He can ice skate, break dance, crowd surf, slam dunk a basketball, spike a football and even trim his own claws.
Roc's proudest moment was when he learned the Pitt Victory Song.
Besides entertaining Panthers fans throughout the year, Roc is actively pursuing a Masters Degree in Zoology.
Roc makes appearances throughout the Pittsburgh area at various events, such as charity races, ice skating socials and Easter egg hunts.
The Story Behind the Pittsburgh Panthers' Name "ROC"
This may sound like a tall tale of a man whose muscles were said to be chiseled in the Bethlehem Steel mill, a man who lived and died Pitt football, and a man who is known in collegiate sports as being the "Rock upon which Pitt football grew." This man is Steve Petro, known as "the ROCK" to Pitt fans, a legendary player, coach, and administrator at the University of Pittsburgh for over 50 years.
Legend has it that Steve Petro, a football player under coach Jock Sutherland's Rose Bowl Team of 1937, began his trip to Pasadena as a third string guard in what was called the "Golden age of Pitt Football." By the time the Panthers got to the Rose Bowl game, Petro had impressed his coach so much during practices earlier in the week that he was awarded the starting position blocking for "The Dream Backfield" of the 1937 Rose Bowl that led Pitt to beat Washington, 21-0.
After Petros' years at Pitt, he went on to play professional football for the then Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s and then left to serve in the Army's Intelligence Service. A couple of years later, Petro worked his way back to the University of Pittsburgh, from his hometown of Johnstown, to serve as an assistant football coach for Pitt from 1950-1972. Petro was appointed Assistant to the Athletic Director from 1973-1984 and maintained his close association with the university until the time of his passing at the age of 79.
Coach John Majors was once quoted as saying, "Steve was a man who loved his school with unwavering loyalty, regardless of the fortunes. Never in my life have I met a man that I thought was more loyal and more dedicated and had a deeper love for one school than Steve Petro had for the Panthers and the University of Pittsburgh".
Through his years at Pitt, Steve coached great players like Mike Ditka, Marty Schottenheimer, Joe Walton, and Joe Schmidt, players who all followed the steps of their mentor and went on to be coaches in the National Football League.
He was truly revered not only by the young men he recruited and coached, but by everybody who knew him. The Steve Petro Endowed Scholarship, the Defensive Line Coaches Office at the Duratz Sports Complex, and the infield at the Cost Center are a testimony to this. The scholarship and facilities bearing his name were funded by those whose lives he touched. In his remembrance, the Pittsburgh Panthers Mascot "ROC", the greatest fan of Pittsburgh Panthers Athletics, is named after Petro the "ROCK" of Pitt.