Pitt football receives $20 million grant from alumnus


FILE – In this April 24, 2021, file photo, Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi watches during their spring NCAA college football game in Pittsburgh. Atlantic Coast Conference coaches are counting on high program vaccination rates to minimize risks of illnesses or lineup-depleting contact tracing for the upcoming season. That’s meant teams working through the offseason’s final weeks toward an 85% threshold of vaccinated players, coaches and staffers. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WTAJ) — The University of Pittsburgh football team announced that the organization received a $20 million gift for the program, making it the largest donation in Pitt Athletics history.

The gift, from 1997 alumnus Chris Bickell, will help fund significant improvements that will benefit the total Pitt football student-athlete experience both now and in the future. In recognition for the gift, the head football coaching position at Pitt will be named the “Chris Bickell ’97 Head Football Coach.” This is the first-named coaching position in the history of Pitt Athletics.

“I am a proud Pitt Man and it is my honor to give back to this great University,” said Bickell.

From the $20 million gift, $10 million will be used immediately to enhance the training, nutrition and learning environment infrastructure. The remainder of the gift will be placed in an endowment to support such efforts in perpetuity.

“We are forever grateful for Chris’s generous donation that demonstrates his commitment to our football program and the extraordinary experience we want for our student-athletes, both in the present and into our future,” Director of Athletics Heather Lyke said. 

Bickell has spent his career largely in the information technology industry. He served as founder and partner of Liberty IT Solutions until the company was acquired by Booz Allen Hamilton in 2021. Today he is CEO of WellHive, a firm that seamlessly connects military veterans with healthcare services.

The University of Pittsburgh will celebrate Bickell’s gift at Saturday’s season-opening contest against the University of Massachusetts at Heinz Field. The game will kick off at 4 p.m.

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