Chuck Pagano squared

ESPN recently welcomed Chuck Pagano, head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, to its Bristol, Conn. studios where he visited to promote his new book, “Sidelined: Overcoming Odds Through Unity, Passion and Perseverance.”

The book details how Pagano successfully battled leukemia in the midst of the 2012 NFL season with the help of many – including his wife, Tina Pagano.

Before their visit, the Indianapolis Paganos knew that ESPN claimed its own Chuck Pagano: He’s the company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer who has been with the network since August 1979, a month before its sign-on.

What they were not as aware of is that ESPN also boasts a Tina Pagano – no relation to her ESPN colleague or the visitors – an executive assistant who also was coordinating portions of the NFL coach’s Bristol itinerary.

(l-r) ESPN's Chuck Pagano; ESPN's Tina Pagano; the NFL Paganos, Tina and Chuck. (Josh Lander/ESPN)
(l-r) ESPN’s Chuck Pagano; ESPN’s Tina Pagano; the NFL Paganos, Tina and Chuck. (Josh Lander/ESPN)

So what happens when two sets of Chuck and Tina Paganos meet?

“I tried hard to keep a straight face when I introduced myself to Coach and his wife Tina,” said ESPN’s Tina Pagano, who has been with the network for nine years. “Coach was speechless for a minute and instead of shaking my hand, he gave me a hug.”

Later at a Newsmaker luncheon with company employees, ESPN’s Tina Pagano would introduce her colleague Chuck Pagano – who introduced guest speaker coach Chuck Pagano, who thanked his fellow Paganos and saved special praise for his wife, Tina Pagano.

In the video above, the Chuck Paganos break bread.

The coach shares his thoughts on fellow cancer survivor Stuart Scott, the ESPN commentator who anchors Monday Night Countdown and SportsCenter; Ray Lewis, the ESPN NFL analyst whom Pagano coached as an assistant with the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL and at the University of Miami in college; and what he would do if he was an ESPN executive like his counterpart.

The Chuck Paganos had never met another person sharing the same name, each said. The fact that each knows a Tina Pagano provides an added quirky element.

“If I called the oddsmakers and said, ‘What are the odds on something like this happening?'” the Colts coach said, “they would have said we would have had a better chance of winning the lottery.”

“This is like a lightning strike,” ESPN’s Chuck Pagano said. “Your wife’s a lovely lady and compliments to [ESPN’s] Tina Pagano. They’re both strongholds in the formation of keeping us both sane.”

In that regard, “we both outkicked our coverage,” the NFL coach said.

Video produced by Josh Lander

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