So he reached out to Student Affairs and different campus organizations that were heavily involved in celebrations on football game days. The final group that would eventually pick “Sweet Caroline” was made up of athletic department employees, members of Greek life, Student Government Board, the Panther Pitt and the Oakland Zoo.

Once he had his team, Acierno asked them what songs got people the most excited on weekend nights in bars. They came up with two — “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi and “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond.

“We kind of felt like ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ wasn’t a good message to be sending when you were going into the fourth quarter and trying to win a game, you don’t want to necessarily be living on a prayer,” Acierno said. “So we looked at ‘Sweet Caroline’ … and people old, people young, all can recognize the song, they can all understand it and it was one of those unifying songs we knew everyone would know.”

It was settled — ‘Sweet Caroline’ would play at the end of the third quarter at Pitt football games. The next challenge was making sure fans knew what was going on and would participate.

Acierno’s team put together a YouTube video and passed it around to different student organizations. The video explained what they were doing, how it was going to work and how cool it would be. They also passed flyers around to students before the game so they knew what to do and the lyrics were put on the video board so the crowd could sing along.

The big moment happened against the University of Buffalo. “The whole crowd got into it right away, they knew exactly what was going on.”  Following the crowd’s enthusiastic sing-along, the Panthers pushed hard during the fourth quarter and won the game.

Corey Hartman never knew why “Sweet Caroline” started playing at Pitt football games, but he remembers thinking how cool it was, especially with the words “Let’s go Pitt” subbed for the “bomp-bomp-bom” in the chorus.

“I just loved the song and how much of a tradition it was to Pitt football,” Hartman said. “I was thinking, ‘man, if I’m ever lucky enough to have a daughter I want to name her Caroline, just so I can sing that song to her.’ Every time I sing it I’ll think of Pitt football and every time I talk to her I will think of all the great times I had there.”

According to Emily Yarish, a senior information science major and president of the Panther Pitt, the longer the tradition goes on the better it gets because more people know the words and know what to do.

The players also feel and feed off the excitement.

“We definitely love fan support and when they are screaming and roaring and give us a boost of energy,” first-year wide receiver Shocky Jacques-Louis said. “We hear it sometimes and we try to sing along if we are up and we are winning. It gets us hyped up because it feels like the fans are on the field with us, they’re part of the team too.”

Senior offensive lineman Connor Dintino tries not to listen to it so he can stay focused on the field, but when he does hear it, he feels at home.

According to Acerino, no one sitting in Hemingway’s could have thought “Sweet Caroline” would not only still be playing at football games 10 years later, but also at graduation ceremonies. They could not have imagined it would become an anthem for Pitt fans, following them all over the country — or that it would be something Pitt fans name their daughters after.