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Jeff Bergstrom shares entertaining Joe Paterno letter from 1982 on Tailgate Dudes Podcast

Are you missing the traditional start to college football? Tailgate Dudes has launched a new weekly podcast brining you the stories behind Penn State football.

This week we talked with former Penn State player Jeff Bergstrom. Jeff is a State College native who joined the Penn State program in 1978 as a Walk-On. Jeff shares several entertaining stories about his playing days and about head coach Joe Paterno.

At the end of the 1981 season Jeff graduated and then received this letter sent by Coach Paterno. Things ultimately worked well for Jeff who then went on to work as a graduate assistant on Paterno’s staff for the 1982 National Championship season. Jeff hilariously discusses the letter on this week’s podcast episode.

Here is a copy of the letter sent to Jeff and his parents all over $12.99 owed from a Fiesta Bowl trip:

July 7 1982

Dear Jeff:

Unfortunately, some people on our squad, including you, have failed to turn back your books or have incurred unauthorized and improper charges on away trips and at the Fiesta Bowl. Some of you have paid absolutely no attention to letters and pleas to pay these bills. When we travel -- either during the season or to a post-season bowl -- we travel better than any other football team and you should appreciate this and not abuse our desire to treat you first class (in some case the dollars are small and in other cases the charges are extravagant, but in all cases the principal is the same -- you have taken advantage of an honest effort to treat you well). You owe the athletic department $12.99 for phone calls, room service, and miscellaneous charges for the Pitt and Fiesta Bowl games. Since you have finished up your eligibility, there is very little I can do to make you pay. But you will know and I will know that you owe the money, and when it comes to job recommendations or use of our facilities, etc., I certainly feel that your cheating the University of money not due to you will have a bearing on our attitude. I have told our team many times you don't do things right sometimes; you do them right all the time. This builds character. Paying your fair bills is a good habit to get into in a hurry, and if you don't acquire the habit, your prospects of being a successful person later in life won't be good. Get your bills paid.
Sincerely, Joseph V. Paterno Head Football Coach P.S. A copy of this letter is going to your parents.
Photo of Jeff as a Penn State player.

Tailgate Dudes brings you a weekly interview with former players and key members of the Penn State football community. Tailgate Dudes skips past the weekly game recaps, roster analysis and opinion based conversation and goes right for the stories behind player recruitment, gameday emotions and traditions along with tales of championships, life lessons and a few locker room pranks along the way.

The next guest on the show will be former Quarterback Christian Hackenberg (releasing this Friday 9/18). The most recent episodes have featured guests including Penn State All-Time tackles leader – Dan Connor, Record Setting Quarterback – Matt McGloin, 1982 National Champion and Author- Bill Contz, Former Carolina Panther – Brendan Mahon, 1980 All-American – Bill Dugan and Walk-On football player and THON Dancer- Charlie Shuman. Tailgate Dudes has been listened to by fans in 20 different states and is growing daily.

Tailgate Dudes host Sam Antes says: “Tailgate Dudes has been so much fun to put together and the interviews have been nothing but great stories and laughs, this is a must listen podcast for every Penn State fan. We have received great feedback and plan to keep brining you new episodes each week. I think we have some really exciting guests lined up for the next couple weeks.”

Fans of the podcast can contact and share ideas or give feedback by email: [email protected] or by sending a message to us on social media platforms, Instagram and Facebook.

To listen to the podcast, find us on Apple, Spotify and Google Podcasts, search “Tailgate Dudes.”

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