GMEN HQ: What was your college football experience like at Western Connecticut? How was the transition from dropping football to going to Cortland to play baseball? Did you ever stop playing baseball during your football career? Any doubts at the time on making that switch?
LPG: I was always a multi-athlete at Spring Valley in baseball, football, football, baseball.
It didn’t matter. Those were my sports. I was going to play them.
It’s funny because when I was going for the head coach of Spring Valley, both head coaching positions in both sports were open and I was offered both. Do I want to be the head football coach or did I want to be the head baseball coach?
I remember talking to my good friend and mentor Dave Sachs, who was the head baseball coach. He said to me, “I think you should just be a baseball coach.” And I said to him, “I don’t know, Dave, It’s the bottom of the ninth. We’re down by one. Bases loaded. And my number nine hitter is up. What can I do?”
Instead, say it’s the 4th quarter and we’re down by a touchdown, getting the ball on the five-yard line going in. I can call that play and I chose football and it was done. It was awesome.
I’ll tell you a funny story. I was a running back at West Conn. We are playing at Southern Connecticut and I get the call to start. It was my first start ever at running back. Don’t forget, I just came from center and nose guard my entire life. I’m thinking, “Ooh, yo, let’s go.”
So we went to Southern Connecticut. I bought my whole family, my friends, and everybody else tickets in the crowd. Coach put me back for special teams. Kickoff comes. I let the ball go out of bounds. I’m pumped up. We’re getting the ball at the 40 with great field position.
Coach ripped me, bro. I mean, ripped me apart. He said you have to feel the ball and run with it. Now, I lost the start. It’s still crazy to me. All because I didn’t run the ball. I think the next couple of games, I had like three to four carries and I got my head handed to me at 150 pounds. I had speed, but I was getting knocked around in high school. College football is extremely different. I don’t care what level it is. And I was really missing baseball and that was looking good. I finally left football and I became a baseball player.