The headline of the most recent entry on this blog before this one read: “Pitt heading to Clemson with "upset" on the mind”.
And, also, me.
While some of you may know me, remember me or at least recognize my name from covering Pitt athletics in the student media or, much more recently, at Panther-Lair, I’m also not naive enough to assume you do, so a quick bit about who I am and where I’ve come from.
I'm now on the Pitt football beat at the Post-Gazette. Back to my roots in a way, but I'll really miss covering high schools and Duquesne.— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) November 29, 2016
OK, so I wasn’t packed away with cargo on the team plane to Greenville a few weeks ago or anything. But I was there in Death Valley that day that turned to night by the end of it. “It” of course being 43-42, when Pitt stunned No. 2/3 Clemson on its senior day.
I was always supposed to go to Clemson. I drew that exciting assignment way back in the summer when we needed someone to fill in. But between then and now, our Pitt football reporter Jenn Menendez left the paper, and somewhat coincidentally, this job officially came open not long before my trip to Clemson.
So when Chris Blewitt’s kick went through the uprights, I couldn’t help but think maybe that was some sort of sign that I should return to my roots, in a sense, and pursue this beat (incidentally, here’s that game story if you want to read it). Obviously, I did, and I’ll truly miss my previous role covering Duquesne basketball, district college football and especially high school sports in the WPIAL/City League -- no qualifier there, I just will.
My time following Pitt football closely started somewhere between 13-9 and Mardy Gilyard (don’t need to tell you what those mean). I worked at the Pitt News, WPTS student radio and spent a lot of time trying to build Panther Sports Network when I was a student at Pitt from 2009-2013. Then I did some freelance work for Panther-Lair while working at the Post-Gazette on the sports copy desk. Early this year, I moved into a reporting role at the P-G writing about high school football, basketball, baseball, as well as Duquesne sports and the smaller colleges in the area.
Now I’m here, and I plan to cover my alma mater fairly, not fawningly. I’ve never been passionate about Pitt football, but for the past few years, I’ve been passionate about knowing as much as I can about Pitt football, then passing that on to whoever wants to read it. I’m not here to pump up the program, nor push some perceived anti-Pitt agenda that doesn’t actually exist and never has.
That’s enough about me and how I got on. I’m still juggling some of my other responsibilities for the time being, and our lead basketball writer Craig Meyer isn’t going anywhere, so you might still see some football stuff from him in the interim, and eventually a little basketball stuff from me. But I’ll be at whatever bowl game Pitt ends up in (no, I don’t know which one it’ll be) and hopefully doing some more posts on here soon and we’ll go from there.
Thanks to everyone who’s recently followed me on Twitter (pfft, can’t believe you weren’t there already over the last ~five years) and I’ll see you around.