"One of my greatest memories in this job is standing with him at center court (at the ACC Tournament), getting the Skip Prosser Award, the ACC Student-Athlete of the Year Award," Pederson said. "I don't know if there's another award I'd rather have our student-athletes have than that, with the history and tradition of this league. To have one of our guys win that award."
And that was just one of the many set forth by Pittsburgh student-athletes this year.
The football team tied for second among ACC schools with the number of student-athletes who earned ACC All-Academic honors. Among them, Adam Bisnowaty, Scott Orndoff, Tom Savage, Ray Vinopal, Terrish Webb and Matt Yoklic.
There's no set standard for a football player earning an All-Academic honor, but it's is a great area. For example, there's no requirement of being a starter, but a nickel back--in the case of Webb, or an extra tight end such as Orndoff, even though Orndoff made a couple starts. There could have been even more, such as last year's backup quarterback Chad Voytik, who posted a 3.75 GPA as a Finance major.
"You have to be a starter or similar," Pederson explained.
"Chad Voytik had a very impressive GPA, but wasn't a starter," Associate AD E.J. Borghetti added.
There were also many team marks set by fall and winter sort athletes. Spring awards have yet to be announced, but the total is sure to grow.
Other fall sport athletes who earned Academic All-ACC honors were Rich Addison (Cross Country), Katie Lippert and Caroline Keiffer (Women's Soccer), Dan Lynd, Julian Dickenson, Cory Werth (Men's Soccer) and Lindsey Zitke, Jenna Potts and Jenna Jacobson (Volleyball).
The surge of Pitt's wrestling program continued in its first year of ACC competition. The wrestling team will go down in history as the first Pitt team to claim an ACC Championship.
Tyler Wilps had a very accomplished year on the mat and in the classroom. He was one of five ACC wrestlers to be named All-ACC for wrestling and for All-Academic. Wilps was also one of three ACC wrestlers to earn All-America status on the mat, and All-Academic.
Geno Morelli and Max Thomusseit also earned ACC All-Academic honors for Pitt. Brianna Keisel and Lo Briggs represented the women's basketball team. Ashley Corum (Women's Indoor Track), Dustin Fuller, Josh Mindlin and Desmond Palmer (Men's Indoor Track), Veronica Lee (Women's Swimming and Diving) and Jon Lierly (Men's Swimming and Diving were also recognized.
All-Academic honors certainly carry a lot of prestige. Student-athletes, by now being under the ACC flag, have the opportunity to earn additional scholarship money, and in some cases some professional opportunities.
"The league is focused on student-athletes," Pederson said. "The league really takes into account student-athletes and coaches, first. You get a lot of good things out of that."
Tennis player Kimmy Borza was nominated for an internship as Fox Sports South in Tampa, while Track's Jordan Hoyt was nominated for an internship at Fox Sports South in Atlanta.
Three student-athletes earned ACC Postgraduate Scholarships; Jocelyn Lu (Tennis), Ashley Corum (Track) and Katie O'Rourke (Gymnastics).
Lauren Matevish was one of four finalists for the NCAA Walter Byers Scholarship, where she earned a $7,500 scholarship.
All of these, opportunities now available to Pitt student-athletes in the ACC, that weren't available to them before.
"It's a combination of your athletic and academic abilities," Pederson said.