The countdown to the start of the 2013 season is under way, as Pitt is 53 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 53, so we're looking at the story of do-everything athlete Henry Ford .
A native of Homestead and a graduate of Schenley High, Ford played for several coaches at Pitt, but one thing was clear: whether he was playing for Tom Hamilton in 1951, Lowell P. "Red" Dawson in 1952, 1953 and the first three games of 1954, or Hamilton once again for the final six games of 1954, Ford was an exceptional talent.
In 1953, Ford became the first African-American starting quarterback in Pitt history, and one of few in college football overall at the time. Pitt went 3-5-1 that season, but Ford had some standout performances. Like Corny Salvaterra, who was Pitt's quarterback from 1954-56, Ford had more interceptions than touchdown passes (3 TD's, 7 picks), but he contributed in a number of ways for Dawson's run-heavy offense.
Plus, Ford was a standout defensive back, too, and in 1953 he tied Lou Cecconi's Pitt record for the most interceptions in a game when he made three picks against Penn State (that record has since been tied by Willie Marsh in 1978 and Shawntae Spencer in 2002). Ford led Pitt in both passing and interceptions that season.
Ford moved to halfback in 1954 and proceeded to lead Pitt in rushing before getting selected by the Cleveland Browns in the ninth round of the 1955 NFL Draft. He spent one year with the Browns before going to the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he functioned primarily as a return specialist, although he did score two rushing touchdowns.
Previous entries in the Countdown
Click Here to view this Link.