A. J. PAGANO
A. J. PAGANO
2004 – FOOTBALL
This former Knoch High School standout became one of the best running backs in W& J’s history. He led W&J in rushing: 3,697 yards, (3rd in school history), Touchdowns: 59 (2nd in school history) Points: 361 (2nd in school history.) During his 4 years at W&J his team was PAC runner-up once and PAC Champion 3 times. A.J. was 2nd in the nation, Division III in scoring, rushing yardage and touch
downs in 1987. rushing
While his W & J career was filled with outstanding and memorable performances, it was a spectacular effort in a 1987 games against rival Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh that defined his collegiate career. A.J. amassed more than 300 all-purpose yards offensively in helping the Presidents rally from a 22-7 halftime deficit to a stunning 38-36 victory. Pagano’s individual effort that day is considered among the greatest ever by many who witnessed it. His performance both rushing and receiving will go down in the annuals as one of the best of all time Division III football and certainly in the storied tradition of W&J football. His heroics helped W&J preserve an undefeated regular season and propelled the Presidents into the post-season where they would engage in two more memorable games against Allegheny, an overtime win in a snowstoini, and Emory & Henry, a bitter defeat in the South region championship.
Pagano was the cornerstone in the turnaround of the W&J program under John Luckhardt and one of the Presidents all-time greats.
Pagano played in the Division III NCAASouthern Region Champion in 1984, National Semi-Finals, Southern Regional runner-up in 1987 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA playoffs in 1986. A KODAK All-American, he signed a free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers and played the pre-season in 1988 before being waived.