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May 18, 2022

Chris Bickell gives Pitt $20 million, program alters head coach title

Chris Bickell gives Pitt $20 million, program alters head coach title

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh graduate and IT businessman Chris Bickell made a $20 million donation to the Panthers’ football program on Thursday, which marks the largest single gift in Pitt Athletics history. However, Bickell’s generous donation does come with one strange catch. 

The head coaching position at Pitt will now officially be named the “Chris Bickell ’97 Head Football Coach,” per a school announcement. The name change marks the “first named coaching position in the history of Pitt Athletics.”

Perhaps Bickell’s request is a bit strange, though it seems like the university doesn’t mind the name change in exchange for $20 million. Pitt said Thursday the donation will “help fund significant capital improvements that will benefit the total Pitt football student-athlete experience,” adding that $10 million of Bickell’s donation “will be used immediately to enhance the training, nutrition and learning environment infrastructure.”

“I am a proud Pitt Man and it is my honor to give back to this great University,” Bickell said in a statement Thursday. “I believe the leadership is in place to take Pitt Athletics and our football program to the next level.”

“I hope my gift inspires others to do their part in making that happen.”

Pat Narduzzi will now serve as the Chris Bickell ’97 Head Football Coach at Pittsburgh. Narduzzi is 42–34 in seven seasons at Pitt, including a 6–5 mark in 2020. 

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