Pat Jones was only at Pittsburgh for one season, but his impressions of the city, the school and the region are still vivid nearly 40 years later.
Pitt was in its prime at the time.
The 1978 season was just two years after the Panthers had won the national championship and Tony Dorsett had won the Heisman Trophy, and the roster was filled with future stars.
"I was coaching the outside linebackers at the time.
I had Hugh Green, who almost won the Heisman Trophy. And the other guy who was really just a part-time starter, was Rickey Jackson, from Pahokee, Florida. And he's only got a bust in canton. But really it was probably in the modern era the greatest time for Pitt football."
Not only did Pitt have talented players, but an outstanding staff to coach them.
Under head coach Jackie Sherrill, Pitt had four assistants who went on to become head coaches, Foge Fazio, Dave Wannstedt, Jimmy Johnson and Pat Jones.
"this was a pretty high powered staff of guys, yes."
Pitt finished the regular season 7-4, with a bid to play North Carolina state in the Tangerine Bowl. But Jimmie Johnson had already accepted the head coaching job at Oklahoma State, and Pat Jones was coming with him to be the Cowboys defensive coordinator.
Jones became part of a talented staff at OSU that included Wannstedt, future Dallas Cowboys assistant Tony Wise, and future college and NFL head coach Butch Davis.
Jones eventually succeeded Johnson as OSU’s head coach, and after a pair of really good seasons in 1984 and ’85 at OSU, Jones nearly took up Pitt's offer to become the Panthers'
"had we taken the job at Pitt, see that was the class that we recruited Gundy in. I would like to think that mike would have come to Stillwater anyway. Now Mike's claiming he wasn't.
He says he would have gone to OU. I think he's just making me feel good. But the ifs and what ifs of that scenario, kind of get interesting."