Pitt names star-studded 12-member Hall of Fame class
Pitt announced a dozen athletes ranging from All-Americans to All-Pros will be welcomed to its Hall of Fame in 2019.
The 12-member class will be inducted Sept. 20 at Petersen Events Center and introduced at Heinz Field when the Panthers play UCF on Sept. 21.
Sam Clancy, men’s basketball: A four-year starter from 1977-81, Clancy is the only Pitt player to score more than 1,000 points (1,671) and have more than 1,000 rebounds (1,362). Clancy was drafted by the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and played one season in the CBA but spent 12 years playing professional football despite not playing in college.
Jimbo Covert, football: A two-time All-American, Covert was an anchor on the offensive line for Pitt teams that went 11-1 in back-to-back seasons in 1980 and ’81. He was the No. 6 overall pick by the Chicago Bears in the 1983 NFL Draft and was a four-time All-Pro and won a Super Bowl.
Najuma Fletcher, women’s track and field: The first woman in school history to win an NCAA individual track and field title, Fletcher was the 1995 indoor triple jump champion and the ’96 indoor high jump champion. She was a 14-time All-American from 1992-96.
Don Hennon, men’s basketball: A two-time All-American who played before the introduction of the 3-point line, Hennon’s 1,814 career points scored from 1956-59 stood as the school scoring record for 19 years. He still owns the single-game mark at 45 points against Duke in 1957.
Sue Heon, women’s swimming: An 11-time All-American, nine-time individual and two-time relay Big East champion from 1981-85, Heon finished fourth in the 400 individual medley for the U.S. in the 1984 Summer Olympics.
Charley Hyatt, men’s basketball: Inducted posthumously, Hyatt was a three-time All-American who guided the Panthers to a 21-0 record in 1928 and a 23-2 mark in 30, when he led the nation in scoring at 12.6 points a game.
Lorri Johnson, women’s basketball: The all-time leading scorer in school history — male or female — with 2,312 points, Johnson averaged 20.5 points a game from 1987-91 and was a three-time all-Big East pick.
John Majors, football coach: Majors recruited Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett in his first class and led the transformation of the Panthers from 1-10 in 1972 to the national championship four years later. In 29 seasons, including at Iowa State and Tennessee, Majors compiled 185 victories and 16 bowl invitations.
Mark May, football: An All-American offensive tackle and Outland Trophy winner, May did not allow a sack in his junior or senior seasons. A first-round pick of the Washington Redskins in 1981, he was a member of the famed “Hogs” line and three Super Bowl teams.
Lee McRae, men’s track and field: A seven-time All-American and four-time NCAA champion, he won the indoor 55 meters from 1986-88 and the outdoor title in the 100-meter dash in ’86. That year, he ran the 55 meters in 6.00 seconds to break the world indoor record held by Carl Lewis and set an NCAA record in the 60 (6.50).
Joe Schmidt, football: An All-American in 1952, Schmidt was a 10-time All-Pro for the Detroit Lions, whom he later would coach. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1973 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
The Peery family, wrestling: Inducted posthumously, Rex Peery compiled the highest winning percentage (.725) in Pitt wrestling history as coach from 1949-65. The Panthers were NCAA runners-up three times and in the top 10 for 12 consecutive seasons. Ed Peery was a three-time national champion at 123 pounds who was 51-1 from 1955-57, and Hugh Peery was a three-time national champion who was 56-1 from 1952-54 and was a member of the U.S. team at the 1952 Olympic Games.
In addition, Pitt announced Panthers basketball legend Billy Knight was named chairman of the Pitt Athletics Hall of Fame, which has an 18-member selection committee.
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .