Simeon Saunders, LaToya Walters, and Heather Hendry pose on the football field.

Staff and Faculty Honored as Pitt Football Guest Coaches

University of Pittsburgh School of Education Admissions and Recruitment Manager LaToya Walters and Assistant Professor Heather Hendry were named guest coaches at the Pitt Football game on November 4, 2023. The annual tradition celebrates faculty and staff who make an indelible mark on the lives of student-athletes.

“I enjoy learning what students need and how I can best assist them,” Walters said. “Students reach out for guidance, and being able to point them in the right direction is always the goal.”

As a guest coach for the Pitt vs. Florida State University game, they were invited to watch the game from the press box, club seats, and the sideline on the field.

Hendry also met with Pitt Chancellor Joan Gabel and Pitt football coach Pat Narduzzi.

“It was an honor to be recognized on the field by the athletic department,” said Hendry, who specializes in foreign language education. “It was also a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with the athletic staff on how we can best support our student athletes, especially those who would like to pursue teacher certification.”

Hendry was recognized for her support of redshirt senior receiver Josh Junko, who is earning his Master of Arts in Teaching in social studies.

Supporting Student Athletes

Monica McNeil, academic counselor for Pitt Athletics and a Pitt Education alumna (BS ’21, MEd ’23), reflected on Walters’ support for football student-athletes.

“LaToya has been extremely instrumental in the admission process for every student (both players and graduate assistants) admitted to the School of Education in various programs,” she said.

“LaToya is amazing!” said Malcolm Robinson, a defensive coach graduate assistant on the Pitt football team. “As a first-year graduate student in the School of Education, LaToya made my welcome to the university first-class!”

Simeon Saunders, a graduate of the Pitt Education Doctor of Education (EdD) program (MEd ’16, EdD ’19) and adjunct professor in the school’s Department of Educational Foundations, Organizations, and Policy, was also honored as a guest coach at the November 4 game.

Succeeding On and Off the Field

Pitt Panthers defensive back Buddy Mack expressed his gratitude for the unwavering support he received from Saunders, praising him for going above and beyond in both the classroom and on the field. Mack noted Saunders’ attendance at his game and the personal touch of speaking to his parents, creating a meaningful connection that resonated beyond academics.

Walters is proud to help School of Education students involved with the Pitt football team succeed—on the field and in the classroom.

“It was such an honor to be recognized by the students,” said Walters.