“I was a lineman my whole life. I played at 6’3″, 240-something pounds,” recalls P.J. DiNuzzo. “When you’re blocking, you play all through junior high school, high school, and college, and you never touch the ball. You’re not running it. You’re not catching passes. You’re out there every play doing something for your teammates and you’re not getting the glory. That really refines you as a person. You’re not in the limelight, you’re not the one getting your face up there on the scoreboard for scoring a touchdown. But you’re just as elated when your teammate scores a touchdown because you threw a block that allowed that. It’s the epitome of teamwork, which you need to have in any organization. Doing for others in an unselfish manner–that’s what it takes to truly be a successful advisor, to have that level of caring and putting the client’s interests first.”
DiNuzzo hails from Beaver County, Pennsylvania, home to a number of NFL Hall of Famers including Mike Ditka, Tony Dorsett, and Joe Namath. While DiNuzzo never played in the pros, he did go to Indiana University in the Big 10 on a football scholarship. There his coach was the legendary Lee Corso, now a college football analyst for ESPN.
He also played one year at the University of Pittsburgh for coach Jackie Sherrill, having transferred to be closer to home following his father’s heart attack. That year, 1979, the Pitt team had an 11-1 season.
“You learn an awful lot from good people like that,” he says of his college coaches. “Corso was the ultimate marketer. You learned more about marketing from him than you did about football. Jackie Sherrill was just an unbelievable football mind, and recruiter, and you learned how to be confident and to sell yourself.
“The biggest thing about football is that it shows you what type of team player you are. Are you willing to put it on the line for someone else?”