Bill Hillgrove

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Bill Hillgrove (born ca. 1940) is an American sports journalist, radio personality, and sports broadcaster. He is currently the lead play-by-play broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Steelers football network (102.5 WDVE) and for the University of Pittsburgh sports network (93.7 The Fan). He calls Pitt games with former Pitt quarterback Pat Bostick.

Early life[edit]

Born William Thomas Hillgrove in Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhood, he grew up in nearby Garfield. He attended Central Catholic High School and Duquesne University. He worked as a student sports broadcaster for Duquesne basketball games while in college. Hillgrove graduated from Duquesne in 1962 with a degree in journalism.

Early career[edit]

Hillgrove's first job was as a disk jockey with WKJF (now KDKA-FM 93.7 The Fan), and in 1968, he joined WTAE-TV as the station's booth announcer. A year later, he swapped jobs with WTAE Radio announcer Del Taylor, wishing to get back into radio. In the mid-1960s, he served for a short period of time as "proprietor" (the name given to the host) of "The Place", a television show on WQED (Channel 13) that was a coffee-house style format.

In 1969, he was hired as a road game broadcaster for the Pitt Panthers basketball team. The following year, he became the regular color announcer for Pitt football play-by-play man Ed Conway. Following Conway's death in 1974, he assumed the play-by-play announcer duties.

Hillgrove was named the sports director for WTAE-TV in 1978 and acted as sports anchor for WTAE News.

Pittsburgh Steelers[edit]

In 1994, Hillgrove was handpicked by Steelers owner Dan Rooney to replace the retiring Jack Fleming as the play-by-play broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After working for many years alongside famous color broadcaster Myron Cope, his Steeler broadcast partners now include former Steelers players like Merrill Hoge (former color), Tunch Ilkin (color), and Craig Wolfley (sideline). He also continues to broadcast Pitt football and basketball games. Former Pittsburgh Pirate Dick Groat serves as Hillgrove's broadcast partner for basketball. His partners for football have been Johnny Sauer (1974-1994), Bill Osborn (1995-2003) and Bill Fralic (2004-2010). His current partner is Bostick, who took over after Fralic stepped down.

Awards and recognition[edit]

He was the 2007 winner of the Chris Schenkel Award, presented by the National Football Foundation, for his work as Pitt's football broadcaster.[1]

In July 2012, in addition to his other duties, he began hosting a Saturday jazz program presented by the online Pittsburgh Jazz Channel.

Personal life[edit]

Hillgrove married Rosette Sapienza, a vocal music teacher, in 1965. They have two children and two grandchildren and live in Murrysville, Pennsylvania.


  1. ^ Smizik, Bob (2007-05-17). "Bill Hillgrove winner of Schenkel Award". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA). Retrieved 2009-01-08.