Andrew Papoccia was a linebacker at Illinois State University from 2000-03. Currently, he is the head coach of the Parma Panthers, in the Italian Football League. Not only have the Panthers finished runner-up in the Italian "Super Bowl" the last two seasons, but Papoccia's Panthers were featured in the John Grisham fictional novel, "Playing for Pizza." Papoccia, along with former Redbird quarterback Mike Souza, who no longer plays in Italy, received mention in Grisham's book as part of the author's notes. As a special addition to GoRedbirds.com, Papoccia has agreed to provide weekly podcasts during Parma's 2008 season.
Blog #3 - 7.18.08
Blog #2 - 6.10.08
Blog #1 - 5.2.08
Keep in mind that Andrew is the head coach, so he can't divulge too many stories. However, Andrew introduced GoRedbirds.com to Corey Mazza, one of Parma's wide receivers who played collegiately at Harvard. Corey has been writing a weekly blog for ESPN.com, and has given GoRedbirds.com permission to also run his blogs. Now, between Andrew and Corey, Illinois State fans will truly get a sense of what it's like to "play for pizza."