Kaliden Was a Class Act

The University of Pittsburgh community received a jolt over the weekend. William George Kaliden Jr., of Sewickly, died Saturday of complications following open-heart surgery at UPMC Shadyside. He was 66.

Kaliden was the architect of one of the greatest wins in Pitt football history and was a true Pitt Panther. His 5-yard touchdown run with 11 seconds remaining gave the Panthers a 29-26 victory against Notre Dame in 1958 in one of the most memorable games ever played on campus.

Trailing, 26-22, Pitt began at its own 27. Behind Kaliden, the Panthers drove to a first-and-goal at the Irish 6 with 75 seconds remaining.

Three plays later, they faced a fourth-and-goal at the 5. Pitt called a play -"Q38." Kaliden rolled right before slipping into the corner of the end zone.

Former Pitt fullback Jim Cunningham remembers the play vividly.

"We had this late drive," Cunningham recalled. "It was a fourth down and there was no trickery. It was just a roll out with the quarterback to the right side. We led him around and the guards pulled and Nick Pietrosante and a defensive back were there and I just lowered my head and hit Pietrosante and knocked him down and knocked the other guy down and Bill went into the end zone and the people went crazy."

"It's not the greatest game in Pitt Stadium history," Beano Cook, a former sports information director at the school and college football expert told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "The greatest game was in 1934, against Minnesota, which decided the national title. But it has to rate in the top three as the most exciting."

A native of West Homestead, Kaliden was a three-sport star at Homestead High. At Pitt he lettered in football and baseball, where he was an outfielder.

Over the years I had crossed paths with Bill Kaliden on a few occasions at Pitt functions and always enjoyed reminiscing with him. He was a gentleman and a class act who had a great love for his university."

"If they had a model for an All-American boy, he would be it," Lou "Bimbo" Ciccone, Kaliden's best friend, told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. "You name it - scholar, gentleman, athlete - he personified it all."

Kaliden graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Science in pre-medicine. While earning his master's degree in education as a graduate assistant coach of Pitt's freshman football team, Kaliden met Rosalind, a Pitt student, and they married in 1965.

Kaliden was a member of the western chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and also was a recipient the University of Pittsburgh's Varsity Letter Club Award of Distinction.

"He was one of the reasons I went to Pitt," former quarterback and Glassport native Ken Lucas told the Post-Gazette. "I was either going to Pitt or Penn State and Bill recruited me and, obviously, did a good job. He was a great guy. I don't know that anyone ever had anything bad to say about Bill."

Cunningham echoed those sentiments.

"Bill was such a great guy. He was the kind of guy that you if you had a son you would want him to be like Bill."

Mr. Kaliden is survived by his wife; a son, William III, of Wexford; a daughter, Elizabeth Hofmann, of Seven Fields; and a sister, Carole Drango, of Upper St. Clair.


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