Bethel Park grad Chiccitt honored with Courage Award from WPIAL Hall of Fame

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Saturday, June 19, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Bethel Park product Anthony Chiccitt has determination chiseled in granite, as well a firm dose of patience.

Chiccitt was presented with Courage Award at the 14th annual WPIAL Hall of Fame induction banquet May 28 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Green Tree.

In February 2019, Chiccitt was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that spread to his neck, chest, stomach and pelvis, but he defeated it.

“I am very humbled and grateful to receive such a prestigious award and to be forever remembered with other WPIAL greats in the hall of fame,” said Chiccitt, a 2020 graduate and three-sport standout at Bethel Park. “I have actually known I was going to be nominated since around last March during quarantine. Unfortunately, last year’s ceremony was canceled, so I’ve been waiting a long time to be inducted.”

Chiccitt focused on beating his Stage 4 diagnosis and grueling recovery process, which interrupted his junior basketball season.

He underwent four rounds of chemotherapy treatment, each lasting 21 days, with his final session in April 2019.

“It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life by a mile, and, hopefully, it stays that way,” Chiccitt said. “It was super challenging mentally and physically, but due to a great support system and attitude I was able to get through it with my head held high and as smoothly as possible.

“I am still doing a maintenance treatment, one day a week every three weeks, so my only side effects are from that. Only things left over are the scars from surgeries and the mental effect of it.”

Chiccitt also lost weight as well as his hair and needed surgery to remove a lymph node during his recovery.

But he was back with the baseball team as a junior middle infielder in the spring. He hit close to .300 with a .485 on-base percentage as the Black Hawks won the section title and advanced to the WPIAL Class 6A semifinal round.

Chiccitt was a three-year starter in football, basketball and baseball.

“Anthony actually was recognized with a similar award by the Marine Corps (USMC Fighting Spirit Award), for which I nominated him,” said Brian DeLallo, Bethel Park football coach and dean of students, “so, no, I was not at all surprised when the WPIAL recognized Anthony’s courageous achievements.

“Obviously, his mental and physical toughness stand out, as well as his ability to overcome adversity. He is also just an amazing athlete. To excel at three sports and in the classroom the way he did is so impressive. To think that he did all that while battling cancer is utterly astonishing. He’s an incredible young man.”

DeLallo continued:

“The way he handled the whole thing was so mature and classy. He never wanted the story to be about himself or his cancer. He wanted it to be about his team. I never heard him complain. Literally, not one time. He just had this attitude where he was going to beat it, and that was going to be it. He never seemed scared or took pity on himself. He just kept working through it. A lot of us could learn something about handling life’s problems by watching how Anthony handled himself through all of this.”

As a senior, Chiccitt completed 95 of 135 passes for 1,082 regular-season yards, then passed for more than 300 yards in two WPIAL playoff games. During the winter months, he helped lead the boys basketball team to the the WPIAL quarterfinals from his backcourt position.

Chiccitt was a four-year varsity player in all three sports, earning four letters in basketball and three in football and baseball. He was selected for the Roundball Classic as a senior.

He will be a redshirt freshman quarterback and sophomore student at Robert Morris in the fall.

“I loved my time at Bethel Park High School,” Chiccitt said. “There was nothing better than getting to play all three sports in the best conference and classification with the greatest atmosphere in the WPIAL. The community and school really back up the sports teams, and I had the time of my life playing all the sports at Bethel.

“The ‘Purple Out’ for Hodgkin lymphoma (football) game my senior year against Moon was one I will never forget. We had a great comeback on a late 95-yard game-tying drive and ended up winning in overtime, and the sellout stadium stormed the field. It was awesome.”

A sports management major at Robert Morris, Chiccitt offered other high points in his high school athletic career.

“One of my favorite football moments,” he said, ” was having three touchdowns and winning the conference championship as a sophomore on the road at Mt. Lebanon, against a great team and tough environment.”

He delighted in winning three section titles in baseball, along with the club’s 14-game winning streak in 2018.

“Unfortunately, our senior-year season was canceled despite (BP) having a great team and being ranked No. 1 as the preseason favorite,” Chiccitt said. “I still believe we would have gotten the WPIAL championship that year.

“My favorite memory in basketball was our 20-plus points second-half comeback against (Upper) St. Clair my junior year. The atmosphere was unbelievable in our gym.”

Chiccitt is one of seven quarterbacks on the RMU football roster. He is listed at 6-foot-2, 185-pounds.

“My goals at RMU are to leave with my master’s degree and have a great football career,” he said, “while also leaving with a fun and great experience, which it has been so far.

“Due to our football season being moved to the spring last year, I was able to be there for the season, but (2021) will be my first real season. I’m not sure if I would really even count last year as a true season.

DeLallo is looking forward to following Chiccitt’s career with the Colonials, as are many others in the community.

“I fully expect him to have a great career there,” DeLallo said. “If I know Anthony, he’ll be a standout player and a dean’s list student.

One thing is certain, Chiccitt won’t give anything less than 100 % effort on the RMU campus.

“Anything is possible if you put your mind to it,” he said, “and every obstacle in life is just a bump in the road that you can overcome. Just keep pushing and great things will happen.”

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