- Our City/Our Campus
The largest single donation in Pitt Athletics history.
A college football program’s championship goals can only become a reality through championship-caliber teamwork and support.
On Sept. 2, the Panthers’ high ambitions — both in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and nationally — received unprecedented support in the form of a $20 million gift from Chris Bickell (A&S ’97).
The gift will support significant capital improvements that will benefit the Pitt football student-athlete experience, both now and into the future. From the $20 million gift, $10 million will be used immediately to enhance training, nutrition and learning environment infrastructure. The remainder of the gift will be placed in an endowment to support such efforts in perpetuity.
In recognition of Bickell’s historic gift, the head football coaching position at Pitt will be named the Chris Bickell ’97 Head Football Coach. This is the largest single donation as well as the first named coaching position in Pitt Athletics history.
“Chris is a generous and longtime supporter of the University of Pittsburgh’s football program,” said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “This gift, however, is perhaps his most powerful, and it will help to shape the future and success of Pitt Football for years to come.”
“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 presently and into our future,” Director of Athletics Heather Lyke said. “Chris understands the transformational role athletics can have on a young person’s life, and the joy and excitement it brings to students and alumni alike. Chris is an exceptional person and we are proud to recognize his passion and support of the Panthers by naming the head football coaching position in his honor.”
Bickell graduated from Pitt with a degree in communications and 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 in 2021. Today he is CEO of WellHive, a firm that connects military veterans with health care services.
“I am a proud Pitt man, and it is my honor to give back to this great University,” said Bickell. “I believe the leadership is in place to take Pitt Athletics and our football program to the next level.”
Competing in the nationally accomplished ACC, the Pitt football program boasts a rich history that includes 94 first team All-Americans, 53 consensus All-Americans, 24 College Football Hall of Famers, nine Pro Football Hall of Famers and nine national titles. Under the leadership of Pat Narduzzi since 2015, the Panthers have compiled the third-highest win total in ACC play (29) during that six-season span.
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.