Former Pitt Panther quarterback Pat Bostick has had many career aspirations in his young life. Coming out of Manheim Township High School located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, he was considered to be one the top quarterbacks in the country and one the top 50 overall prospects. His future in football seemed bright. It still is, but now its behind the headset in a radio booth and not the one in his quarterback helmet.
In 2011 Bostick decided to forgo his final year of eligibility to play football for the University of Pittsburgh and pursue a life covering the sport he grew up playing.
“I guess my career aspirations at first where to go in the NFL and play at the highest level I could possibly play at,” recalls Bostick about his early college hopes. “I realized pretty quickly how hard that was going to be and realized I needed to have a backup plan, a plan B which really was plan A, the NFL was plan B”.
Bostick’s time spent playing football at the University of Pittsburgh (2007-08,2010) amounted to three years, playing in a total of 19 games (nine as a starter) while completing 184 passes for 1,814 yards, 11 touchdowns (nine passing, two rushing) and 19 interceptions. Bostick had a very underwhelming career on the field based on numbers alone. But numbers do not always tell the story in most cases.
The story of Bostick’s college football career is not measured by numbers, but more so in emotions. He was part of two of the most memorable Panther football games in the last decade. In 2007, he was behind center as the Panthers upset the No. 2 ranked West Virginia Mountaineers 13-9. He facilitated the Panthers only touchdown of the game helping upset the Mountaineers and their chance to play in the national title game.
“Everywhere I go I get thanked for that game by Pitt fans, not every day, but people thank me for that game. So I feel lucky as hell to have been there and been a part of it. It will go down as one of the greatest games I have ever seen or played in, probably the greatest. It’s pretty damn special.” said Bostick.
Just a year later, in 2008, Bostick once again started in what he calls the most “memorable game” he has ever played in. Pitt faced Notre Dame in an exhilarating quadruple overtime game resulting in a 36-33 Panther victory which helped make them bowl eligible for the first time since 2004. Bostick led the Panthers back from a 17-3 halftime deficit, and tied the game on a fourth-and-6 with 2:22 left in the fourth quarter.
“Knowing that it kind of sparked our year and got us to a bowl game for the first time in four years, that means more to me personally,” said Bostick on the win.
Bostick took a redshirt for the 2009 season and came back in 2010 as the backup to starting quarterback Tino Sunseri. Bostick decided to focus on getting his masters forgoing his fifth season of playing eligibility (he earned his bachelor’s degree in just three years). Unsure of where life after playing would take him, Bostick knew pretty quickly coaching was not something he wanted to pursue, so he kept his options open.
“Going into my senior year I got engaged to my longtime girlfriend and I just didn’t want to have to move around like coaches do, so I kind of fell into wanting to be in athletics,” recalls Bostick. “I wanted to be in sports, whether that was broadcasting or whether that was PR, anything, marketing, I wanted to learn about it. My career aspirations took shape later in my college career and they were far different than they were at first.”
Being a full time student athlete can be busy, but Bostick says that being on a college campus and not taking advantage of the resources surrounding him would have been “foolish”. One of those resources was E.J. Borghetti, the Executive Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations at Pitt, who Bostick calls “one of the best”. Bostick did a media relations internship while on campus and Borghetti helped him learn the other side of football during that time.
“I got chance to know a lot of the press in town; radio, TV, writers. They knew me because I was a player, but I got a chance to know those guys and know that business and that helped me shape my aspirations from a media standpoint and in sports by getting to know those guys and seeing the role that a PR department for a large athletic enterprise plays,” said Bostick.
One of Bostick’s biggest chances in his young professional career came when an opening to call one of Pitt’s spring games on television became available to him. Bostick was hesitant at first thought because he had never done television, but accepted and it lead him to an unforeseen opportunity as a full time radio analyst for Pitt football games.
” I thought this was a pretty natural step. I get to talk right to the fans and analyze the game of football,” said Bostick about his television chance. “I got that opportunity and I guess that was my audition and next thing you know I was on the radio. It happened so fast and unbeknownst to me.”
Bostick took over the color man job held by analyst and former Pitt All-American, Bill Fralic, who decided to step away from the booth and focus on his business in Atlanta. The transition at first was an adjustment for Bostick, as he had to remind himself that he was to critique and give fair evaluation of both teams.
“I’m working for my school, I’m allowed to be a little bit of a homer but I think the biggest change was being fair. It was hard for me at first being fair and honest in my evaluation of what was going on as an analyst with guys I played with. I stepped away and immediately got into it,” said Bostick.
Bostick’s adjustment to the booth has been nothing but professional and he has become a natural alongside long time voice of the Panthers, Bill Hillgrove. Being a former quarterback has given him a personal edge when it comes to being able to read a give immediate analysis on a play.
“I have to know everything as a quarterback; you have to know what the wide receiver is doing what the right guard is doing, what the defense is doing, everything about the play. So I was immediately able to take that perspective to the broadcast booth and try to get into the mind and thought process of not only the coaches, but every position,” said Bostick.
While being a former quarterback has given Bostick the knowledge to analyze plays, he says there is nothing that gets him through a game better than preparation, and Hillgrove remains the foundation to Bostick’s success in the booth.
“Bill has charts, he has a system on gameday…It’s like a game of battleship. He’s got magnetic pieces on who’s in the game. The process and the system is what allows him to go out there and just tell the story and that’s what makes him remarkable to work with,” said Bostick about Hillgrove’s approach to calling games. “From day one, it’s always a bit of a marriage between color analyst and a play-by-play guy and Bill makes it so easy. His cues are so clear on when I should talk and I shut up until his cues come on.”
Bostick is entering his fifth year alongside Hillgrove and also serves as the assistant director of development for the Panther Club, the athletic department’s official fundraising office. While his career is just starting, Bostick is unsure where life will take him. Ideally he would like to remain at Pitt, but if an opportunity came to elevate his broadcasting career to a national level, he would consider it.
Bostick has a successful future ahead of him and the choices he makes to shape his professional career lie in his hands. Unforeseen chances and opportunities along with his dedication to the University of Pittsburgh have lead him on his current path in life, but there is one opportunity that he has no control over. But it is the one he wants more than anything.
“It’s to call Pitt in the national championship game,” says Bostick “and win the whole damn thing.”