Mark Battaglia was the starting center on the 1982 National Championship Football Team. The first of Penn State’s many National Championship Teams (1968, 1969, 1973, 1986, and 1994) to be recognized as such by the AP and UPI polls. I was fortunate enough to spend a week of fly-fishing in Montana with Mark back in 2003 and we’ve been friends ever since.
On March 15, 2013, Mark addressed the Penn State Board of Trustees at the meeting in Hershey.
Here are his words: “Thank you. And thank you for the opportunity to address the Board today. My name is Mark Battaglia and I was fortunate enough to be on the 1982 National Championship Team.
Sadly, to date, there’s only one man who has admitted that with the benefit of hindsight that he wished he would have done more. You see Joe Paterno held us to a higher standard as players. In the classroom, in our lives, on the football field.
And we’re here today to hold you, the Board, to a higher standard.
More specifically, those who have already been held to a higher standard because they played for Joe Paterno or they had brothers or nephews who played for Joe Paterno.
They knew Joe Paterno like we knew Joe Paterno.
They were in the huddle with him when the game was on the line, they looked in his eyes, they saw the man, they knew the man.
And yet, they wouldn’t take his call. They wouldn’t make a call.
They sat around silently.
Worse yet, maybe they led the effort to fire Joe.
Was it personal? A personal disappointment?
Did they let a personal issue lead to a potentially $100 million debacle?
You know, Joe always said ‘you’re never as good as you think you are when you win and you’re never as bad as you think you are when you lose.’
The good news here is that we are losing, we didn’t lose, we are losing badly.
We need to change the strategy.
We need the leadership from those very people who played for Joe to lead us out of this thing by changing.
You painted yourself in the corner with this Freeh report. I’m sorry Mr. Frazier…
And this ‘move on’ thing…it’s not happening. The alumnus, the alumni are not buying it.
So Joe said, always said, ‘you have to believe deeply in your heart that you are destined to do great things.’
You guys can do that. There’s still time.
There are 500,000 alumni out there hoping and praying that you accept the challenge.