Emeritus, In Memoriam
Paul Vincent Governali was the son of Italian immigrants. His father Vincent was a baker, and the family lived in the Bronx, N.Y.
Paul was a star athlete at Evander Childs High School and at Columbia College (now University) where he was an All-American Quarterback. He won many awards, including the Maxwell Memorial Award and was the first runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 1942. He also played baseball at Columbia, winning All-Ivy League honors.
After graduation in 1943, Paul enlisted in the U.S Marines during WW II. He served three years. He played professional football for two years, then returned to Columbia to complete his doctorate (Ed.D.) and to serve as an assistant football coach.
In 1956 Paul was appointed Head Football Coach and Professor of Physical Education at San Diego State College. In the beginning, he had success as Head Coach, but by 1961 the football program was struggling, and Don Coryell was hired as Head Coach. Paul went back to the academic program in Physical Education where he taught, served as Department Chair (1961-64) and also as Graduate Advisor. Paul remained at San Diego State for the remainder of his career.
He was married to Edna Cummings, and they had four children: Paul, Jeannie, Nicole, and Sam. He and Edna were divorced in 1975.
Paul died in San Diego on 15 Feb. 1978, at age 57, after a prolonged illness, while still on the faculty and sadly never lived into retirement. He was elected posthumously to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986.