Every now and then we get a chance to check in with former Pitt players and had that opportunity with Pitt legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Chris Doleman. Doleman is part of a new TV show, Big Break NFL Puerto Rico, where former players will compete for cash prizes and PGA/LPGA Tour exemptions. The show airs on The Golf Channel on Tuesday nights (tonight!) at 9:00 p.m. ET, debuted last week, and will run through December.
Check out Chris' answers to my questions below.
How closely do you still follow Pitt and what do you think of the program’s current state?
I think the program is in fairly decent hands right now with Paul Chryst. They’re in the ACC now so I get to see them quite often living in Atlanta and they’re 3-1 so I’m very proud of that in their first year in that conference. I don’t know how well we’ll do throughout the rest of the year but we’re off to a good start. I think it gives Pitt a chance to go back and recruit from that bed of players from Georgia, Alabama, and Florida because a lot of those guys can play in the ACC and their families can still see them play.
Why does Pitt produce so many good players, even during some of the years when they weren’t as competitive?
I think it’s the fundamentals. We’re a school that’s built on great fundamentals. The fundamentals that you learned at the University of Pittsburgh of basic football carries you through the National Football League. And there’s a strong tradition. When I was there I wanted to make sure I upheld that Pitt standard when I was playing. It’s part of that family. Once you move to that next level, the only thing you have is that skillset that you’ve learned in college.
What are the memories you have from your days at Pitt?
Winning a lot of football games. My first three years we were 33-3. We played all the tough teams in the country and we beat 99% of them. My time at Pitt with the great education, great campus, great teachers and great school – it was just nothing but a great time.
What else have you been up to since your pro days ended besides golf?
I have a company celebrity charitable network – I’ve been raising money for non-profits. We’re a company that manages non-profits – fundraising for them. We do it all through digital platforms and that has been my passion. It’s something I was doing at the University of Pittsburgh, you know visiting the children’s hospital. To have the opportunity to come back and do it as a career has been very fulfilling.
Can you tell us about Big Break, and how you got involved?
I got a call to see if I’d be interested in participating, and I thought it was a great opportunity so I jumped on it. It’s a totally different type of pressure. I wasn’t affected by the cameras per se. But I was affected by the nerves of what it takes to hit a particular shot. That is not something that you normally do when you’re out there playing. In football you just react and make the play. Here you’ve got to think about what you have to do – and it brings more of a cerebral approach to it. But then with that comes a lot of – what happens if I do this, or what happens if I do something else.. It was a little more difficult.