PITTSBURGH—Pitt senior wide receiver Tre Tipton has been named the 2019 recipient of the Freddie Solomon Community Spirit Award, annually presented to a college football player “who has impacted the lives of others through giving and community service.”
A three-year letterman for the Panthers, Tipton has distinguished himself off the field through his volunteerism and mentoring youth. His passionate commitment to giving back captured the attention of the Solomon family, who bestow this award in memory of the late NFL wide receiver Freddie Solomon.
Solomon played collegiately at the University of Tampa before embarking on an 11-year NFL career, including eight seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, where he won two Super Bowls. Upon retirement, “Fabulous Freddie” returned to Tampa Bay and devoted the balance of his life to working with area youth through the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office outreach program. Having impacted two decades of young people, Solomon’s legacy remains as inspirational and influential as ever.
Tipton was one of five finalists for this year’s Freddie Solomon Community Spirit Award, joining Utah defensive back Terrell Burgess, Marshall running back Brenden Knox, Kansas defensive back Bryce Torneden and South Carolina linebacker Spencer Eason-Riddle.
In reflecting on the candidates for the award, Delilah (Dee) Solomon, Freddie’s wife, said, “These are all outstanding young men, and I’m so proud of how they’re doing in school and in their communities. However, we loved Mr. Tipton’s total story the most because we truly understand how his work is helping his local community, his teammates, and future athletes at Pitt.”
“I am incredibly honored and humbled to receive the Freddie Solomon Community Spirit Award,” Tipton said. “I want to thank Mrs. Solomon and her entire family for selecting me from so many great candidates. Mr. Solomon’s life is an inspiration and I will certainly strive to live up to all that this award means. He impacted the lives of so many kids in Tampa and I hope to follow his example by doing the same thing in Western Pennsylvania and beyond.”
Tipton (Apollo, Pa./Apollo-Ridge) graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in four years with a bachelor’s degree in communication. He is now pursuing graduate studies in Pitt’s School of Social Work.
Tipton created L.O.V.E. (Living Out Victoriously Everyday), a program that helps “empower, provide hope and build a community for collegiate student-athletes who are dealing with mental, emotional, and physical struggles” through fellowship and access to professional help. Tipton was inspired by his own personal challenges to start this highly impactful effort that ensures no member of the Pitt Athletics community will face their adversities alone.
Tipton’s additional volunteerism includes serving as a mentor at the Waypoint Youth and Community Center, promoting the importance of reading and education at area elementary schools and helping to host Make-A-Wish Foundation children and local veterans groups at Pitt’s football facility.
In addition to receiving this year’s Freddie Solomon Community Spirit Award, Tipton was also named to the 2019 Allstate American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team®, which recognizes football student-athletes for their leadership in local communities and commitment to giving back. As part of the AFCA Good Works Team, he will be honored at this year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January 1.
(Story and featured photo courtesy of Pitt Athletics)