The Legend of 'Iron Mike'
Before he gained fame as a National Football League player and head coach, ESPN studio analyst, and national spokesperson, Michael Keller “Iron Mike” Ditka Jr. was an All-American tight end at Pitt.
Immensely skilled and fiercely competitive, Ditka would lead Pitt in receiving for three consecutive years. He also was a standout linebacker and punter. In addition, Ditka played baseball and basketball at Pitt and was the intramural wrestling champion.
In 1961, Ditka was a first-round draft choice of the Chicago Bears; he would help to lead them to the 1963 NFL Championship. A four-time All-Pro, Ditka also was a member of the Dallas Cowboys team that won Super Bowl VI.
Ditka would go on to coaching fame in the NFL, spending 11 seasons as the top man with the Chicago Bears (winning Super Bowl XX) and three seasons as coach of the New Orleans Saints.
Pitt retired Ditka’s number 89 jersey. He is both a College and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee.