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July 18, 2013

Countdown to Labor Day: 46



The countdown to the start of the 2013 season is under way, as Pitt is 46 days away from its Labor Day opener against Florida State at Heinz Field. Panther-Lair.com is counting down the days until the biggest season opener in recent memory.

Today's number is 46, so we're looking at one of the best all-around players to wear a Pitt uniform.

The list of great Pitt players with seemingly-unfortunate nicknames isn't a long one, but it is led by none other than Louis "Bimbo" Cecconi.

Never mind the nickname, though: Bimbo Cecconi was one of the best all-around athletes to wear a Pitt uniform in the 20th century. And he wore more than one uniform while he was a Panther, as Cecconi left Pitt after four years with nine varsity letters.

Cecconi, a native of Donora, earned letters with the Pitt football, baseball and basketball teams. He earned football and basketball letters as a freshman and would have lettered in baseball that year, too, but a spring illness kept him off the field.

Known as much for his diminutive size as he was for his athletic prowess, Cecconi was nonetheless a giant on the football field. He accomplished the rare feat of being a four-year two-way starter for the Panthers, and a glance through the annual leaders during his playing career from 1946 to 1949 shows his name on more than one occasion.

He led Pitt in rushing in 1947, 1948 and 1949. He led the team in passing in 1948 and 1949. He set the high mark for receiving in 1947. He led Pitt in interceptions in 1948. And he was the leading scorer as a freshman in 1946.

Cecconi also set a number of Pitt records during his career. He was the first Pitt player to record three interceptions in a game, which he did against Penn State in 1949; no Panther has topped that record since (although several players have matched it). In 1948 he threw an 82-yard touchdown pass against Marquette, setting the Pitt record for the longest pass in school history; that record has since been eclipsed, although the play still stands as the fourth-longest passing play in Pitt history.

When he finished his career, Cecconi was Pitt's all-time passing leader (albeit with 1,403 yards) and was third on the all-purpose yardage list. His all-purpose total has been passed by several players, but heading into the 2013 season, Cecconi still ranks No. 9 on the list with 3,781 yards.

Cecconi was named to Pitt's All-Time Football Team in 1970, but his legacy has largely been lost to history, since the Pitt teams he captained were, on the whole, not very good. During his freshman year of 1946 (with Wesley Fesler in his lone year as head coach), Pitt went 3-5-1, and in 1947 the Panthers were 1-8. Cecconi led Pitt to back-to-back 6-3 seasons in his final two years - including a pair of shutout wins over Penn State - and the Panthers had a 16-14-1 record during his four-year career.


Previous entries in the Countdown

Countdown: 47 - A huge effort in a tough loss
Countdown: 48 - The highest-scoring game
Countdown: 49 - The sack master
Countdown: 50 - The winningest coach in Pitt history
Countdown: 51 - A kicking record
Countdown: 52 - The link between Goldberg and Dorsett
Countdown: 53 - The legacy of Henry Ford
Countdown: 54 - A "Corny" mid-century quarterback
Countdown: 55 - Pitt makes history
Countdown: 56 - Panthers in the Super Bowl
Countdown: 57 - A unique scoring title
Countdown: 58 - Another Dorsett record
Countdown: 59 - The rare 59-point game
Countdown: 60 - A record that won't be broken
Countdown: 61 - Pitt's longest-running rivalry
Countdown: 62 - The last touchdown against Penn State
Countdown: 63 - The No Bowl Panthers
Countdown: 64 - The most passes in a game
Countdown: 65 - The other 13-9
Countdown: 66 - A local star
Countdown: 67 - One-win seasons
Countdown: 68 - The most prolific receiving game
Countdown: 69 - One of the biggest plays in Pitt history
Countodwn: 70 - The origin of Pitt's nine championships
Countdown: 71 - A good player in a bad era
Countdown: 72 - An All-American who became a dentist
Countdown: 73 - May Day
Countdown: 74 - A "groundwork" season
Countdown: 75 - A successful DL-to-OL move
Countdown: 76 - The 1976 national championship
Countdown: 77 - The last three-sport athletes
Countdown: 78 - An underrated pro
Countdown: 79 - One of the best
Countdown: 80 - The greatest non-championship team in Pitt history
Countdown: 81 - A crushing end to a great season
Countdown: 82 - The dawn of the Foge Era
Countdown: 83 - The most accurate kicker in Pitt history
Countdown: 84 - Pitt in the Pro Bowl
Countdown: 85 - A play that will never be matched
Countdown: 86 - A long but unfulfilled play
Countdown: 87 - The final year of Ironhead
Countdown: 88 - Pitt's All-American tradition
Countdown: 89 - Iron Mike
Countdown: 90 - The four 9-0's
Countdown: 91 - The two longest plays in Pitt history
Countdown: 92 - The senior year of the most productive QB in Pitt history
Countdown: 93 - The only 9-3 season in Pitt history
Countdown: 94 - The statistical oddity of 1994
Countdown: 95 - A relentless player and his dominant season
Countdown: 96 - The biggest win in Pitt history
Countdown: 97 - A dominant current Panther
Countdown: 98 - A transition year
Countdown: 99 - Hugh Green
Countdown: 100 - A look at Pitt in 1913











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