- Matt Fortuna, College Football
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Referring to his former pupil as "Steven" was as close as Paul Pasqualoni would get to reminiscing about his time working with Steve Addazio.
Addazio? Let's just say he had a much tougher time hiding his emotions while speaking about his Temple team's matchup with Pasqualoni's Connecticut squad on Saturday. The occasion will mark Addazio's first head-coaching meeting with the man who helped lay the blueprint for his career.
"Obviously Coach P started me in this business and I wouldn't be where I am right now without him -- it begins and ends right there," Addazio said during Monday's Big East coaches' teleconference. "He taught me how to be a football coach. He's absolutely the most detailed guy I've ever been around. He's a tremendous teacher of fundamentals of football, and so as a young coach coming in I couldn't have had a better start."
Addazio's first coaching stint came 27 years ago as an assistant at Western Connecticut under Pasqualoni, and the two have crossed paths ever since. Addazio served as the offensive line coach for Pasqualoni's Syracuse teams from 1995-98. Those last three Orange squads won at least a share of the Big East title.
Pasqualoni hired Addazio at Syracuse following the Addazio's stint as head coach of Cheshire (Conn.) High -- Pasqualoni's alma mater. Pasqualoni had gotten his start there as an assistant 23 years earlier.
"He's always been a high-energy, very positive, very motivational, give-everything-you-have coach," Pasqualoni said of Addazio. "You can see that in him as a very young coach, and there was no question that he had the skillset and the ability to be a very good head coach at this level."
Owls assistants Kevin Rogers and Frank Leonard both served under Pasqualoni as well, at Syracuse and Western Connecticut, respectively.
"I could tell you stories, just crazy stuff," Addazio said of his days as Western Connecticut's offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator, from 1985-87. "We all slept in the office there. It was crazy -- sitting there cutting old 60 millimeter film, got strips of film hanging on the walls. Coach P's got this makeshift wall where his desk was as the head coach, which was nothing, and we're all on the other side of the wall. We'd sleep there and be like. 'Hey, goodnight guys, goodnight Coach.' It's something out of The Waltons.
"That's how we all started, washing socks and jocks and out there irrigating. I came back from my wedding, Coach is on a tractor, I'm on my hands and knees putting irrigation down to water the fields. You just can't make this stuff up. He's the best there is, and I just have the greatest amount of respect for him."
Saturday is also a homecoming of sorts for Addazio, who grew up in Farmington, about a half-hour from Rentschler Field. He lived in Connecticut until he was 35, and his three kids were born there. But he knows Saturday is about his Owls trying to go 2-0 in conference play, not the coaching matchup that pits teacher versus student.
"We're excited about all of that, but the reality of it is we're going in there to compete at a high level and have a chance to win a major college football game," Addazio said. "It's obviously all business, and we've got to prepare hard and we've got to play well and we've got to execute and all that.
"It has nothing to do with any of that other stuff, so right now our focus since Sunday is just getting ready to put a great game plan together and get our kids to play as hard as they can play."