MARK MAY was a dominating offensive lineman who played for some of the greatest teams in Pitt football history. Providing punishing run blocking and air-tight pass protection for the Panthers from 1977-80, May stands as the school's first and only recipient of the prestigious Outland Trophy.
On Sept. 27, 2001, May received yet another honor for his illustrious collegiate career when he became the eighth player to have his jersey retired at Pitt.
"Without a doubt, this is one of the highest athletic achievements of my career and I've been to three Super Bowls, played in the Pro Bowl and was on some great teams at the University of Pittsburgh," May said. "It is even more of an honor to have your number retired at a school with the football tradition of Pitt.
"I remember being in our locker room as a collegiate player and seeing Tony Dorsett's glass-encased retired locker. There have been so many great players here and to have your name added to the list of retired jerseys is a tremendous thrill."
Nicknamed "May Day" for the distress he would cause defensive tackles, the Oneonta, N.Y., native was a member of perhaps the greatest recruiting class in Pitt history in 1977, joining such standouts as Hugh Green, Rickey Jackson, Russ Grimm and Greg Meisner. May and his teammates went on to lead the Panthers to a four-year record of 39-8-1, including four bowl games and three Top 10 finishes.
In his junior and senior seasons, both 11-1 Pitt teams, May did not allow a single sack. "There were games when my uniform never got dirty," said quarterback Dan Marino of May and his offensive line teammates. "There were games when I never hit the ground. That's incredible."
In 1979, May went up against two All-American defensive tackles (Penn State's Bruce Clark and Washington's Doug Martin) and held them to one tackle apiece in Pitt victories. As a senior in 1980, May graded out over 90 percent on running plays.
"His size, speed, agility and intelligence are unbelievable," said Joe Moore, the Panthers' famed offensive line coach from 1977-85. "Add to that his desire to excel, and you understand why he's a great one."
His first start was in the 1977 Gator Bowl at the end of his freshman campaign. That night May helped the Panthers cruise to a 34-3 demolition of Clemson as Pitt rolled up a Gator Bowl record 566 total yards.
Pitt made bowl appearances in each of May's four seasons, punctuated by a 37-9 victory over South Carolina in the 1980 Gator Bowl. The Panthers finished second in the Associated Press and United Press International polls. The New York Times computer poll, however, ranked Pitt the best team in the country after that season.
Known for his unselfishness, May told the Pittsburgh Press after receiving the Outland Trophy he wanted to "cut it up and share it with my teammates and my coaches."
May was a consensus All-America selection as a senior and was selected in the first round of the 1981 NFL Draft, 20th overall, by the Washington Redskins. He helped the Redskins to three Super Bowls (1982, 1983 and 1987), including world championships in '82 and '87. May was selected to play in the Pro Bowl following the 1988 season. That year he gave up just one sack and was the only Washington offensive player to start every game.
May's career with the Redskins spanned from 1981-90. He played for the San Diego Chargers in 1991 and Phoenix Cardinals in 1992-93.
Upon retiring from the NFL, May embarked on a highly successful broadcasting career and currently works with ESPN as a studio host and color analyst for the network's college football coverage. Previously he worked with CBS and TNT, providing analysis for their NFL broadcasts.
May broke into broadcasting in 1994 when he joined play-by-play announcer Bill Hillgrove for Pitt radio broadcasts after longtime color man Johnny Sauer retired.
In 2005, May was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame.
"It is amazing how a career goes and how life goes," he said upon receiving the news of his Hall of Fame election. "Someone asked me earlier what this means to me. Well it means a lot to me. This is the pinnacle. The people who worked so hard around me at the University of Pittsburgh, family and friends, this is all for them. I will cherish this for the rest of my life.
"We had such great teams at Pitt. To join three other players in the College Hall of Fame who I played with -- Hugh Green, Dan Marino and Jim Covert -- it is truly an honor."
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