Paul Governali
refer to caption
Governali c. 1947
No. 4, 41
Personal information
Born:(1921-01-05)January 5, 1921
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
Died:February 14, 1978(1978-02-14) (aged 57)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:194 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school:Evander Childs
(Bronx, New York)
College:Columbia (1940–1942)
NFL draft:1943 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Passing attempts:500
Passing completions:218
Completion percentage:43.6%
Passing yards:3,348
Passer rating:59.5
Head coaching record
Career:11–27–4 (.310)
Player stats at · PFR

Paul Vincent Governali (January 5, 1921 – February 14, 1978), nicknamed "Pitchin' Paul", was an American football player and coach. He played college football for the Columbia Lions, where he played as a halfback. He was a consensus All-American in 1942, won the Maxwell Award and was runner-up to Frank Sinkwich for the Heisman Trophy. Governali passed for 1,442 yards in nine games that season, threw for 19 touchdowns, and completed 52% of his passes, all new collegiate records. He was also among the leading punters in the nation. He still holds the Columbia Lions record for touchdown passes in one game, with five. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986.

Professional career

Upon graduating in 1943, he passed up offers from both professional baseball and football teams to enlist in the United States Marine Corps, where he served for three years. After the war, he played play in the National Football League (NFL) from 1946 to 1948 with Boston Yanks and the New York Giants.

After football

Governali retired from playing following the 1948 season and returned to Columbia, where he worked as an assistant coach while pursuing his doctorate in education, which he received in 1951.

Head coaching career

He served as the head football coach at San Diego State University from 1956 to 1960, compiling a record of 11–27–4. He was succeeded as head coach of the San Diego State Aztecs by Don Coryell.

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
San Diego State Aztecs (California Collegiate Athletic Association) (1956–1960)
1956 San Diego State 4–3–2 2–1 T–2nd
1957 San Diego State 2–7 0–1 5th
1958 San Diego State 3–5 2–3 4th
1959 San Diego State 1–6–1 0–5 6th
1960 San Diego State 1–6–1 0–5 6th
San Diego State: 11–27–4 4–15
Total: 11–27–4

Personal life

Governali also had a minor stint as an actor, portraying a professional football player in the 1948 film titled, Triple Threat.[1]

He and his wife, Edna, had four children: Paul, Jeannie, Nicole, and Sam.


Governali died on February 14, 1978, at Kaiser Hospital, in San Diego, following a long illness.[2]

See also


  1. ^ "Top Grid Stars Appear In Picture "Triple Threat"". The Owensboro Messenger. Owensboro, Kentucky. November 28, 1948. p. 3B. Retrieved March 25, 2023 – via Open access icon.
  2. ^ "Paul Governali, at 56, football star in 40s". The Boston Globe. Boston, Massachusetts. February 16, 1978. p. 45. Retrieved March 25, 2023 – via Open access icon.