Steve Pederson is the athletic director at the University of Pittsburgh. He held the same post there from 1996 to 2002 and at the University of Nebraska from 2002 to 2007.
Pederson was hired as the 10th athletic director of the University of Pittsburgh in October 28, 1996. He quickly implemented several sweeping and controversial changes to resurrect an athletic program that had fallen on hard times. He removed several employees of the athletic department and In the spring of 1997 changed and standardized the athletic uniforms, colors, and logos used by Pittsburgh Athletic Department to emphasize the heritage and location of the University. This involved demphasizing the traditional use of "Pitt" in preference for the use of "Pittsburgh" to refer to the school in press releases and in signage. In doing so, he also abandoned the use of the traditional "Pitt script" logo that had adorned football helmets since 1973. New logos designed by Peter Moore that utilized a "torch-cut" font, which alluded to the heritage of Pittsburgh's steel industry, were introduced along with a new Panther logo with a similar torch-cut style. The blue and gold shades used by the athletic department, previously royal to navy blue and yellow to mustard gold, were also changed to midnight blue and vegas gold. In addition, the existing Golden Panther booster club organization was scrapped and replaced with a new club termed Team Pittsburgh. These moves were controversial among fans, boosters and traditionalists of the University of Pittsburgh athletic teams.
Early in Pederson's tenure, he also moved to replace then head football coach Johnny Majors with Walt Harris who took Pitt to the Liberty Bowl, Pitt's first bowl in eight seasons, in his first season as head coach in 1997. Pederson also hired Ben Howland as Pitt's head men's basketball coach in 1999 to replace Ralph Willard. Howland preceded to take Pitt to its first NCAA Tournament in 9 seasons. In addition to Harris and Howland, Pederson hires included Alonzo Webb for track and field, Traci Waites for women's basketball, Joe Jordano for baseball, and Chris Beerman for Volleyball. All six of these coaching hires went on to win Big East Conference Coach-of-the-Year honors in their respective sports. Pederson retired the football jerseys of former Panther greats Mike Ditka, Marshall Goldberg, Joe Schmidt, and Mark May. Pederson significantly elevated the athletic departments fundraising efforts, some of which was through implementing controversial donor requirements for men's basketball seating.