Tony DeMeo


Playing For Paterno

Playing For Paterno By Charles and Tony Pittman

This book is very special for me because Charlie Pittman is a good friend who has been a positive influence in my life. I’ve also watched Tony grow into a successful football player & then a successful business leader.

Charles was Joe Paterno’s first African-American recruit & was the leader on Joe’s first undefeated team. Charles’ son Tony also played for Joe and also played on an undefeated team! Together the Pittman’s were 45 – 0 as starters for JoPa. The Pittmans obviously had great success as football player but their success in the business world may be even more impressive. One of my mottos is “excellence knows no bounds” this father – son combo are living proof.

Paterno was a great mentor for both the Pittmans but Tony had the advantage of also having his Dad as a guide through life.

One of the first lessons Joe passes on was the importance of punctuality. Being on time is a show of respect. Simple but often overlooked.

The chapter on The Blueline. You have only 2 choices you either get better or you get worse. There is no status quo. Pay attention to details. Success & excellence lie in the details. These are important aspects to Paterno’s run as a great college football coach.

Some other principles of “The Paterno/Pittman Way” are:

  1. The Team comes 1st – be part of a team you trust. Use your creativity within the structure of the team. This is a key principle the modern “me world.”
  2. If you don’t know where you’re going any place will do.
  3. Focus on what you have to do now.

I met Charlie Pittman in 1981 – I was the head coach at Mercyhurst College. Mercyhurst was starting football and I was their first coach and Charles was an exec at the local newspaper. I explained my offense to Charlie and explained that we would be playing a varsity schedule with only freshmen on the team. Charlie listened and offered one bit of advise – Make it Simple. Keep it as simple as possible so you can put your best athletes on the field. I did and we went 4-2-1 in the very first year of college football at Mercyhurst College.

This book will be helpful to any coach young or old. I recommend this book to all. There great principles of winning in all areas in football, business and life.