From SUNY to Super Bowl, Cortland Coach Brings Out Burrow’s Best
The year is 2011.
SUNY Cortland's football season had just come to a close, after a masterful performance from their graduate student quarterback, Dan Pitcher. Pitcher was dominant that year, throwing for over 2,700 passing yards, and throwing 31 touchdowns in 11 games.
Following his graduation from the university, Pitcher returned to the Red Dragons, this time, as a member of the coaching staff, where he oversaw the team's wide receivers.
That same year, 2011, was Joe Burrow's freshman year of high school. He hadn't even the first of his seven playoff games in high school, wasn't Mr. Football in Ohio, and certainly hadn't had his last name spelled Burreaux yet.
Over a decade later, Burrow and Pitcher have formed the unlikeliest of duos, a quarterback and his coach, a duo that is one victory away from football immortality.
Pitcher was born in Cortland, NY on January 13, 1987, and after playing football for three seasons at Colgate University, transferred to SUNY Cortland to finish his career. The decision was the right one for his playing career at the time, as he found great success with the Red Dragons, being named a finalist for the DIII equivalent of the Heisman Trophy in 2011.
Pitcher spent one season as the wideouts coach at SUNY, before joining the Indianapolis Colts' organization later that year. He worked his way up from scouting assistant to pro scout, and all told, was with the organization until 2015.
Then, the sideline came calling once again, this time, in the form of the Cincinnati Bengals organization. Pitcher joined the organization in 2016, and spent three seasons as an offensive assistant, before a promotion to assistant quarterbacks coach in 2019.
Then, 2020 comes around, and with the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals were proud to select Joe Burrow. Not only that, but the 33-year old (at the time) Pitcher was given a promotion.
He was the new quarterbacks coach, and joining his ranks, was the new quarterback.
Since then, the Bengals have seen a great deal of success immediately. Burrow showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie year, but was derailed by a terrible injury, which forced him out of the remainder of 2020. 2021 was a different story, however, as Burrow blossomed into one of the top performing QBs in the league, taking major steps in his first full year working with Cortland's Dan Pitcher.
Now, both of these footballers have the chance to play, and coach, for the Super Bowl. And that, right there, is pretty cool.