Only about 2.4% of college football players make it to the next level to play in the NFL. Some will play in some other semi-professional leagues here in the states while some will head overseas to take part in their versions of professional football. Most of them, though, will finish their tenure in college and will look for employment just like the rest of us.
This will be the first of a four part series (70's, 80's, 90's, 2000's) in which I will be trying to find where ten stars from each decade in Pitt football are today. Whether it be coaching, working in the media, playing professionally, or owning a restaurant, everyone has to be doing something. I'm here to find out just what that something is.
Tony Dorsett - Dorsett was drafted second overall in the 1977 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He won the "Rookie of the Year" award that season. Dorsett was the first player in history to win a college National Championship and Super Bowl in back-to-back years. He was named to both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame in 1984 and was also selected as #53 in The Sporting News' 1999 list of 100 Greatest Football Players. Dorsett is one of only two players in history to win a Heisman Trophy, a Super Bowl, a College National Championship, and be named to the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.
Dorsett now leads a moderately quiet life, hosting a celebrity golf event for the past 17 years. He has also recently made some public appearances for the University of Pittsburgh. He acquired a Twitter account (@Tony_Dorsett) where he often "tweets" his thoughts on Pitt football, NFL football, and life in general.
Gary Burley - Burley was selected 55th overall in the third round of the 1975 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. He also played in Super Bowl XVI with the same team. Burley founded the Pro Start Academy that he says, "Will give student-athletes a competitive advantage by building a bridge to success on and off the field of play."
He now continues to mentor talented and intelligent middle and high school athletes across the country.
Al Romano - Regarded as one of the best nose guards in the country during the 1976 season, Romano now own a modular housing firm in Syracuse, New York where he grew up.
Matt Cavanaugh - Selected as the 50th overall pick in 1978 by the New England Patriots, Cavanaugh never really hit it off as a player in the NFL. He was the back-up quarterback in Super Bowls XIX and XXV and has had much more success as a coach, returning to Pitt in 1992 and again in 2005. Between those stints he had various coaching jobs with NFL teams. He is now an Assistant Coach/Quarterbacks Coach for the New York Jets.
Tom Brzoza - Brzoza became an All-American in 1977 for the Panthers after moving from guard to center. He then chose to stay out of the spotlight and now lives in central Pennsylvania. He works as a sales rep for an outdoor sports equipment company.
Randy Halloway - Selected 21st overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the 1978 NFL Draft, his career would only last seven seasons in the NFL. His most successful season came in 1983 when he tallied 7 1/2 sacks for the Vikings. Halloway had some problems with cocaine and alcohol abuse that he attributes to his less than stellar career.
Halloway now does a lot of public speaking that deals with his abuse problems to encourage younger people to stay away from drugs and to seek help and rehabilitation if they already have a problem.
Bob Jury - After appearing in the Hula and Japan Bowls before playing with the San Francisco 49ers for a season, Jury now resides in Hempfield, PA where he is a food distribution salesman and assistant high school coach at Hempfield High School.
Gordon Jones - Selected 34th overall in the second round of the 1979 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gordon Jones is now a physical therapist in the Tampa Bay area.
Hugh Green - Green won multiple Player of the Year awards in 1980, but was a few votes short of first place in the Heisman Trophy race during the same year. After being chosen as the 7th overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green was elected to the Pro Bowl in both 1982 and 1983. He is often considered as one of the greatest linebackers in Buccaneer history.
Green had a few years of living an anti-social life in the backwoods of Mississippi when he realized that he was still interested in football. He had a few coaching stints with some NFL Europe and other professional teams. Green reportedly was trying to purchase a luxury car firm that he planned to expand in to a national chain so that NFL rookies would have a business to invest in coming out of college. "It would be something they could come back to if, God forbid, They're not in the league next week. Those kids have too much damn money, anyway," said Green of his business. Hugh also has been visible for Pitt and just made an appearance signing autographs outside of Heinz Field prior to the game against UConn on Wednesday.
Chuck Bonasorte - Someone who is easier found than some of these other players is former Pitt football player, Chuck Bonasorte. While he wasn't necessarily a standout on the field, Chuck has remained on-campus as a clothing vendor on the corner of Forbes and Bigelow during the week and also can be found at the edge of the parking lots at Heinz Field on game days. Bonasorte doesn't shy away from telling stories of his playing days and is a favorite on campus for his up-tempo attitude and fun shirt designs.
Bonasorte was actually sued by the Oakland Zoo's founder, Matt Cohen, for trademark infringement. The case was dropped because there was no way to establish the trademark because Bonasorte's business was selling the shirts before the Zoo. He did agree to pay royalties to the students until the "Oakland Zoo" was registered by the University of Pittsburgh.
Who was your favorite player from this decade?
Tony Dorsett (46 votes)
Hugh Green (35 votes)
Matt Cavanaugh (2 votes)
Gordon Jones (3 votes)
Other (1 vote)
87 total votes