Pueblo native Joe Pannunzio coaching in Super Bowl LVII

CSU Pueblo alum serves as Eagles Assistant Special Teams Coordinator
Posted at 12:40 PM, Feb 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-13 14:40:26-05

From the ThunderBowl to the Super Bowl.

Pueblo native and Philadelphia Eagles Assistant Special Teams Coordinator, Joe Pannunzio is preparing to coach on the biggest stage in pro football for the very first time. He shared his emotions with News 5 prior to kickoff.

“It was really surreal the other day we’re flying out of Philadelphia and the plane is taking off and a little tear comes out of my eye and I’m like man you gotta be kidding me I’m about to go coach in the Super Bowl,” Pannunzio said with a smile.

Joe Pannunzio fell in love with football in fourth grade. He graduated from Pueblo County High School and continued his career as a quarterback at CSU Pueblo.

“It really is no different than when I was in junior high or played in high school," Pannunzio explained, "once the ball is kicked off it’s the same game, the only difference here is you have 76 million people watching."

Pannunzio made nine stops on his coaching journey from Pueblo to Philadelphia. The journey included a stop in Alabama where he coached under Nick Saban, met Eagles quarterback Jalen Huts and helped lead the Tide to two National Championships.

“Being apart of the Alabama program and the way Coach Saban runs things it was like a doctoral program in football," Pannunzio said. "I was very fortunate to be apart of that.”

Now 41 years into his career, Pannunzio said the relationships are the most rewarding part of the job.

“We’re just trying to touch {players} lives and make their lives a little bit better, and those relationships last forever,” Pannunzio said.

Speaking of lifelong relationships, Pannunzio and CSU Pueblo coaching legend John Wristen go way back. The duo played against each other in high school before becoming teammates in college.

“I considered Joe a mentor, a big brother, he was a great natural leader," Wristen described Pannunzio. "He is one of those people that has a way about him that made everybody feel like a million bucks, you get older and you go 'gosh I wish I could be like Joe Panunnzio'."

This is the fifth straight year that a former Thunderwolves player will be apart of the Super Bowl.

“I’m very proud to come from Pueblo, I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for the way we were brought up and what Pueblo has meant to me," Pannunzio said. "Pueblo will always be home.”

The Eagles and Chiefs kickoff in Super Bowl LVII on Sunday at State Farm Stadium in Arizona.