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50 years coaching & counting: Panthers D-line boss Paul Pasqualoni has no plans of slowing down

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CHARLOTTE SPORTS LIVE) – Some are in a never-ending quest for perfection.

See Bill Belichick.

While others won’t rest until they’ve reached the top.

Hello Lovie Smith.

And then there’s Panthers defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni.

He, too, has had every reason to call it a career. Yet he says there’s always that one thing that pulls him back.

“It has to be my love for football,” he says. “I have a passion to be a teacher.”

While he’s now in his fifth decade as a coach, that passion burns as brightly as ever.

The 73-year-old didn’t retire after a disappointing stint as defensive coordinator with the Lions three years ago; the same goes for when he got fired as the head coach at UCONN at the college level and Syracuse before that.

“Regardless of what you’re career path is,” he explains. “You’re going to get knocked down. And I think the key to life is, you get knocked down, you get back up, and you keep going.”

You also adapt. It’s a skill Pasqualoni learned to embrace as he began his career as a high school coach in 1972. The world was different then and obviously, so was football.

“It has changed in the sense that when I first started, the formations were kind of limited,” Pasqualoni said.

But his motivation wasn’t.

From day one, Pasqualoni was hooked on getting the best from his players; that’s remained the case wherever he’s gone.

Take a listen to this resume.

From Syracuse, he went to Dallas to be a tight ends coach for the Cowboys. He left Dallas to take over as the defensive coordinator for the Dolphins in 2008. He then went back to Dallas in 2010 and then to UCONN. Back to the NFL and the Bears in 2014. He moved to Houston the following season. He returned to college football in 2016 to lead the defensive line for Boston College. He came to Detroit in 2018 and then ended up as a special assistant at Charlotte before coming to Carolina this past offseason.

Sure, his approach to coaching today can’t be as aggressive as maybe it was yesterday, but without question, the mission remains the same.

“My goal always since I started this as a 9th-grade coach has been to help them improve their skills, help them improve as players, and watch them grow.”

And so the beat goes on. Tomorrow another practice will start, and Pasqualoni will be there, as always, ready to teach.

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