Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Legendary coach Paul Valenti gives Beavers a pep talk

CORVALLIS - Oregon's State's offensive line had a surprise motivational speaker during a Tuesday morning meeting.

Paul Valenti, 91 and in a wheelchair, is an institution on the Oregon State campus. He delivered a 20-minute pep talk to the young men who will be blocking up front this fall.

O-line coach Mike Cavanaugh lined up Valenti - who has been on campus since 1938 as a player, basketball coach and administrator - through mutual friend Dominic Cusimano.

'Paul means so much to the university, and it means so much to him,' said Cusimano, a retired educator with the Corvallis School District. 'Everybody knows that. What I try to do now that he's not as mobile is keep him engaged, keep him connected. It's so great for Paul.'

Great for the players, too.

'He was awesome,' Cavanaugh said. 'I asked Coach (Valenti) if he'd be willing to do it, and he said he'd love to.

'He talked about the responsibility of being a student-athlete. He told a lot of good stories. It was inspiring for our guys.'

'I talked about how fortunate they are to be in the position they're in,' Valenti said. 'And I told them to keep working their butts off to help the Beavers be as good as they can be.

'Tell you one thing,' Valenti added with a smile. 'Those guys are big. Really big.'