Saturday, July 21, 2012

Counting down the top Pitt football players of the last 40 years- No.28 Arnie Weatherington

I will be counting down my own list of the top 50 Pitt football players since 1972.  I have spent time doing a lot of research and talking to a lot of people when formulating this list, but ultimately it is MY opinion.  The great thing about lists like this is that people will disagree, and feel free to, but just remember that there is no right answer so there's no need to go crazy if you do disagree.  I will post this same intro with all 50 bios because I know the one time I don't, people will complain about not knowing what criteria I used.  I will add at least one a day, maybe two.  

My criteria for selecting the order is as follows:

1.  Productivity.
2.  Talent.
3.  Place in program history.
4.  Only the player's careers while at Pitt are considered, not their NFL careers. 
5.  No current players.

28.  Arnie Weatherington (1973-76)- Who? Many of the younger fans probably have never heard of the linebacker, but he is still a record setter for the program.

Obviously no player had more of a hand in the 1976 championship season than Tony Dorsett, but Weatherington was almost as important on defense.  The linebacker entered Pitt the same year as Dorsett, and like the great running back he proved to be an excellent player right off the bat.  In the first win for Johnny Majors at Pitt, the freshman Weatherington led the way with 19 tackles, 13 of them solo, against Northwestern.  And he didn't stop there eventually becoming the all-time leading tackler in Pitt history with 477.  Even more amazing is that he has kept that title for 35 seasons.

The Floridian, who was a very small linebacker even for the era at 6'0" and 195 pounds, ended his career like he started it, with a great game, as he made an interception in the National Championship Sugar Bowl victory over Georgia.  But he almost didn't get the chance.  Before the season he was arrested for theft and was so off the team that he was not even in the yearbook.  But on the eve of the first practice coach Johnny Majors decided to give him another chance. 

Today Weatherington lives in his native Miami and he is a police major for Miami-Dade County schools.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see mention of weathering ton at 29. That 1976 team's defense is really underrated and if I remember was ranked in top 10 in virtually all defensive categories. Looking forward to the remaining 28.