David Tepper was born and raised in the Stanton Heights neighborhood of Pittsburgh – he attended Peabody High School in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh – went to college and graduated with honors from the University of Pittsburgh – attended graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University before moving on to become one of the most successful hedge fund investors of our time, purchasing a 5% stake in his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers along the way – three decades later, he would return to Pittsburgh as the sole owner of his own football team, but he hasn’t forgotten his roots – even as he strolled around Heinz Field wearing a black leather jacket and a Carolina Panthers toboggan.
“It’s always good to be back in Pittsburgh because it’s home – it’s always good to go home,” said Tepper. “It’s great to be back in Heinz Field to see people I like but I’m very proud to wear this hat, alright?”
“I’m a Panther.”
He made multiple stops in his homecoming tour ahead of the battle between his current and former teams Panthers and Steelers, stopping to tour the Quad that was named after him on the campus of Carnegie Mellon and even managing to find time to stop by the Roaring Riot’s tailgate party for their Steel City Takeover only a couple of blocks from the stadium, leading a ‘Keep Pounding’ chant and even engaging in a singalong to ‘Sweet Caroline’ before heading back to Heinz Field.
Tepper spoke to the media on a multitude of topics, from the team’s signing of Eric Reid to the need for an indoor practice facility for the Panthers – here’s what he had to say on the varied topics:
On whether he signed off on the Eric Reid signing: What do you think? What did I say when I first came here? The first I want to do is win – what was the second thing I want to do? That was also win and was the third thing I wanted to do? Enough said.
On the Panthers need for a new indoor practice facility: Let me just say this, I’ll be very surprised if we’re not playing indoors before the end of next summer for practice, somehow or another. I’m not going to say much more than that to you guys, but I’ll say that. Where? Why would I do that, don’t I want to keep you guessing a little bit?
What he learned from being a part of the Steelers organization: Patience.
On his players doing community service: It’s great to see that. Listen, I’ve said a lot of times that people don’t appreciate how great the guys are about doing things in the community – so, it’s great to see, it’s not surprising to see — it’s kind of so much that people get used to it – but it’s really a good thing that these guys do. Cam leads the bunch [and] he’s really great in that regard.
Tepper also spoke about two of the victims, brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal, of the recent tragedy at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh – a shooting on October 27th inside the synagogue killed 11 people and left six others injured. Two of those killed were the Rosenthals, brothers of former Steelers community relations director Michele Rosenthal whom Tepper worked with.
“They were two mentally challenged brothers in their fifties,” said Tepper as he spoke emotionally. “They called them ‘The Boys’. I actually found out this morning that they used to greet everybody at the doors [of the synagogue] and I think one of the brothers might have died when he said ‘hello’ to the shooter; that’s pretty upsetting.”
Tepper, who is Jewish, has close ties to the synagogue – he had a girlfriend who lived close and lived three blocks away while he went to grad school at Carnegie Mellon.
“One of my best friends got married in that synagogue….that was something.”