Former Football Players Pitsenberger, Skehill Receive Prestigious Awards

Former Football Players Pitsenberger, Skehill Receive Prestigious Awards

WASHINGTON – Michael Pitsenberger and Mike Skehill, who as seniors in 2013 helped the Catholic University football team post a 6-4 record, were honored at halftime of today's Homecoming game against Shenandoah.

Pitsenberger received the Anthony J. Bottoni Award, which was established in 2000 to honor the football team's outstanding senior leader. Pitsenberger led the Cardinals in rushing all four years and was 2010 Old Dominion Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year. He finished his career with 3,197 rushing yards (third in school history), 98 receptions and 34 touchdowns.  

Pitsenberger ran for a career-high 1,055 yards last year (5.1 avg.) and scored seven touchdowns on the ground and nine overall. He was selected first-team All-ODAC.

"Mike was rather soft spoken but came out of his shell as a senior and became more of a leader. He was more vocal and really helped out the younger guys," CUA Coach Dave Dunn said. "Although he was fast enough to run outside, he preferred to run between the tackles. He was a grind-it-out runner who didn't shy away from contact; he usually initiated it.

"He had a phenomenal senior year."

Pitsenberger joined the Cards after playing for Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Md. He graduated from CUA in May with a bachelor's degree in economics and was a two-time member of the ODAC All-Academic team. He works as a project manager in Washington, D.C.

Bottoni's parents, Lou and Alida, presented the award to Pitsenberger.

Skehill received The Ronnie McManes (mick-maynz) Award, which was established in 1998 to honor the Cardinal football player "who has risen above adversity to excel athletically and academically." Skehill, a graduate of Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, Mass., was a two-year starting safety at CUA who overcame two significant off-the-field injuries and was last year named second-team All-ODAC.

As a freshman in 2009, Skehill (skee-hill) suffered a broken jaw but returned to play a few JV games that season and the next. In August 2011, he sustained a ruptured spleen and missed the entire year. Dunn visited him at his home and came away thinking his football career was over.

"I thought he was going to pack it in," Dunn said. "But he never wavered and came back from the second injury completely different. It was like a switch went on; he really ratcheted up the intensity."

While sitting out recovering from his spleen injury, Dunn said Skehill attended every practice and would run and do push-ups and sit-ups the entire time. His hard work off paid off when he became a starter in 2012 and recorded 25 tackles and an interception.

As a fifth-year senior last season, he was selected a team captain. He tied for fifth on the club in tackles with 38.5, including 30 solo and two for loss. He had two interceptions and five pass break-ups. He was second in forced fumbles (2) and led the team in fumble recoveries with three.

Skehill graduated in May with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and is working in the field in Boston. Ronnie McManes' son, Chris, presented him with his award. 

About the Awards

The Bottoni Award is named in honor of Anthony J. Bottoni, a two-year (1998-99) starting right guard for the Cardinals who was killed in an automobile collision Dec. 28, 1999. Just a month prior, Bottoni helped CUA win its first league football championship with a 6-0 record in the ODAC. The 6-foot, 277-pounder played on three consecutive NCAA playoff teams (1997-99) that went a combined 29-4 (.879).


The McManes Award is named in honor of former Cardinal Coach Ronnie McManes, who in 1965 helped to rejuvenate football at CUA by becoming the school's first head football coach in 15 years. McManes, who died in 2001, had previously coached football, baseball, basketball and track for the No. 12 Metropolitan Police Boys Club in Washington, D.C. Former University of Notre Dame President, the Rev. Edward A. "Monk" Malloy, is among the boys club players he coached.