NUMBER FOUR – 4
Coach Jackie Sherrill began his stint with Pitt in 1977 and spent the next four seasons with the team until 1981. Previously serving as an assistant under Johnny Majors, he came back to the school after Majors decided to leave for Tennessee.
It is easy to suggest that Dan Marino would not be the quarterback he ultimately ended up being without the guidance of Sherrill.
One of the greatest reasons he is on this list was due to his ability to dig deep under Joe Paterno’s skin. Which at Pitt, is one of the most rewarding take-away’s a person can have.
If you’re not familiar with that situation, Paterno held a mighty chip on his shoulder when it came to Sherrill. In Paterno’s book, which in retrospect is missing a few chapters, he alluded that “He didn’t give a damn about what Sherrill felt.” This after he said that he didn’t want to retire and leave college football in the hands of the “Jackie Sherrill’s and Barry Switzer’s.”
After the volcano erupted, “Joe-Pa” as his cult following introduces him, apologized to just Switzer only. Although later, he and Sherrill made up and both coaches and spouses could be found at the Paterno residence in the middle of the commonwealth.
Sherrill provided a much needed edge, a new, yet refreshing breath that everybody could relate to. It is easy to say Pitt may not be the same program today if it weren’t for Sherrill’s contributions on and off the field.
Next: A coach from the hardcourt enters at No. 3