Oct. 17, 2005
PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh will celebrate the achievements of one of its greatest football players and one of its greatest football teams when the Panthers host Syracuse at noon this Saturday, Oct. 22, at Heinz Field.
Pitt will honor Mark May, who was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame this year, and the Panthers' 1980 football team, regarded as one of the greatest in college football history.
A devastating offensive tackle for the Panthers from 1977-80, May is the 23rd Pitt player or coach to earn induction into the College Football Hall of Fame and the seventh in the last 11 years. The 1980 Outland Trophy winner, he went on to NFL fame with the Washington Redskins and today is a popular college football studio host and analyst for ESPN. Pitt retired May's No. 73 jersey in 2001, making him just the eighth player to be so honored.
The 2005 season marks the 25th anniversary of Pitt's 1980 football squad, which finished 11-1 and ranked No. 2 in the country by the Associated Press and United Press International. The New York Times computer poll, however, ranked the Panthers as the best team in the country at season's end.
Pitt's victories that season included decisions over West Virginia (42-14), Tennessee (30-6), Syracuse (43-6), and Penn State (14-9). Pitt concluded its season with a 37-9 rout of South Carolina and 1980 Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers in the Gator Bowl. In 1987, The Sporting News named the Panthers' 1980 edition the 12th greatest team in the history of college football.
May was a vital cog for the 1980 Panthers, a team that featured seven future NFL first-round draft choices. In addition to May, other first-rounders included fullback Randy McMillan (1981), defensive end Hugh Green (1981), quarterback Dan Marino (1983), offensive tackle Jimbo Covert (1983), defensive back Tim Lewis (1983) and defensive tackle Bill Maas (1984). In total, 29 players on that roster were drafted and went on to play in the NFL.
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 Panther history in 1977, joining such standouts as Green, defensive end Rickey Jackson, offensive lineman Russ Grimm and defensive lineman Greg Meisner. He and his teammates went on to lead Pitt to a four-year record of 39-8-1, including four bowl games and three Top 10 finishes.
May, who did not give up a sack his final two collegiate seasons, was named a unanimous All-American and winner of the prestigious Outland Trophy (outstanding interior lineman) in 1980. He remains Pitt's only Outland winner to this day.
Following his senior season May played in the Hula Bowl and Japan Bowl all-star games. He was selected by the Washington Redskins in the first round of the 1981 NFL Draft and achieved fame as a standout member of the team's "Hogs" offensive line.
May helped the Redskins to three Super Bowls (1982, 1983 and 1987), including world championships in '82 and '87. He 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 has been with ESPN as a studio host and color analyst for the network's college football coverage since the 2001 season. Previously he worked with CBS and TNT, providing analysis for their NFL broadcasts.
May actually broke into broadcasting in 1994 when he joined play-by-play announcer Bill Hillgrove for Panther radio broadcasts after longtime color man Johnny Sauer retired.
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