More than a decade before the late Joe Paterno's legacy would be tarnished by the Jerry Sandusky scandal and Newt Gingrich would reinvent his with a bid for the 2012 presidency, the Penn State head football coach and the speaker of the House sat down to talk political coaching.
In an April 1998 interview on The Charlie Rose Show, then-Speaker Newt Gingrich revealed that he had sought advice from Paterno on how to govern the U.S. House of Representatives.
'You've got to know your game plan'
I've talked to Joe Paterno at Penn State a couple of times and said, 'All right, I'm not getting this thing done right. What would you change?' the Pennsylvania native Gingrich recalled.
He gave me very good advice about how he coaches, Gingrich asserted.
He said, 'First of all, you've got to be clear in your mind,' and that's one of the reasons for writing the book.
The book Newt Gingrich was referencing was Lessons Learned the Hard Way, a chronicle of his time in the House. The book, half memoir and half insider tell-all, was released only a few months before he resigned as speaker after the November 1998 midterm elections.
When Gingrich described what other bits of wisdom he gleaned from the Penn State legend, however, the line between college football and U.S. politics seemed to become increasingly blurred.
You've got to know your game plan, said Gingrich back in 1998. I talked in there ['Lessons Learned'] about listening.
You've got to ask yourself, 'As a team, are you ready to go out and meet with the rest of the team?' Gingrich continued. Because if the coach and the assistant coaches don't have their act together, they're going to be offering very conflicting signals.
'Nobody is good all the time'
The speaker also took a moment to carry the Penn State football analogy to political errors, referencing some of his mistakes in the House as practice.
Nobody is good all the time, first time, he said.
Since the Charlie Rose interview, Gingrich and Paterno had few interactions with each other.
A grand jury has since alleged that during the time Paterno gave his advice about assistant coaches to Gingrich, assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was committing sexual abuse against numerous minors on the Penn State campus.
Joe Paterno passed away on Jan. 22, 2012. He was 85 years old.
Newt Gingrich Talks Joe Paterno on Charlie Rose Show: