Once Again, Lou Prato Writes the Book on Penn State Football



For Nittany Lion fans still finishing their holiday shopping, Lou Prato ’59 has the perfect gift. The eminent historian of all things blue and white recently published his latest book, 100 Things Penn State Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. As the title implies, it’s loaded with both information and advice that’ll make any even the most dedicated Penn Stater a smarter fan.

Featuring a forward from Adam Taliaferro ’05, Lou’s book covers an incredibly wide array of Penn State sports territory. Continue reading

John Black and “The Blood Bowl”

JB Blood Bowl

As he starts his 40th season in charge of The Football Letter, we look back at the time John Black starred on the field in Penn State’s biggest rivalry.

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It was a legendary performance made all the more impressive given the injury that almost kept him out of action.

According to the pregame write-up in the Nov. 25, 1958 issue of The Daily Collegian, quarterback “Joltin’ Johnny” Black suffered—and we warn you, this is difficult reading—an “acute hangnail on the third finger of his throwing hand.” Continue reading

Lou Prato Looks Back on an Unforgettable Season

The format for Lou Prato’s fifth and latest book was something of a happy accident. It was his publisher, Prato says, who suggested the idea for a diary of the Nittany Lions’ 2012 season. The catch was that the season was already over.


“How could I do it as a diary of the season,” Prato says now, “when I didn’t keep a diary?”

Prato ’59 tackled the challenge anyway. In the space of about four months, Prato turned his encyclopedic knowledge of Nittany Lion football—he did write the Penn State Football Encyclopedia, after all—and countless hours of intensive research into a book that does justice to the unforgettable events of last season. The result is We Are Penn State: The Remarkable Journey of the 2012 Nittany Lions, with a forward by Bill O’Brien. It’s on sale now in hardcover and as an eBook.

We had a chance last week to catch up with Lou about the project. Among other things, he says, he “didn’t want to do a game-by-game breakdown; I wanted to capture the essence of the games.” As always, it was a pleasure to talk Penn State football with a guy who knows it better than just about anyone. Here are some of the highlights… Continue reading