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Villanova to Retire the Jerseys of Two Football Greats

September 11, 1998

VILLANOVA, Pa. - On Saturday, Sept. 12, as Villanova University celebrates its homecoming and faces off against Atlantic 10 rival Delaware, the school will take a look back and salute two football heroes from the past in Wildcat greats Paul Berardelli and Curtis Eller. At halftime, Berardelli and Eller will be honored as their names are hung on the Pavilion wall and will forever look out upon Villanova Stadium.

Playing offensive guard for current Villanova head football coach Andy Talley from 1985-88, Paul Berardelli helped lead the Wildcats to a 24-10-1 record during his four-year career. By garnering AFCA/Kodak All-America honors in 1988, he became the first Villanova player to receive

All-America distinction after the return of football to the school in 1985. Among Berardelli's other accolades are ECAC Division I-AA All-Star status and the prestigious Villanova Coaches' Helmet Award, which is given to the Wildcat player who most exemplifies the Villanova pride, dedication, loyalty and ability both on and off the field. After concluding his illustrious Villanova playing days in 1988, Berardelli went on the continue his football career as a member of the World League's London Monarchs from 1991-92.

"Paul was one of the building blocks of the new program that was put together in 1985," said head coach Andy Talley. "Paul set the tone for a lot of players in the early years because by being the first All-American since the return of the program in 1985, he gave the program national recognition. Certainly he is one of the best offensive linemen to ever play here."

A Wildcat linebacker from 1989-92, Curtis Eller was the first Villanova player to ever earn first team All-America honors twice in his career. In 1991, Eller helped Villanova to a 10-2 record and their second Yankee Conference Championship in three seasons. For his play, he earned Yankee Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors and first team All-Yankee Conference distinction.

His greatest Yankee Conference honor came later, however, as Eller would become the only Villanova player named to the Yankee Conference 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.

As a senior in 1992, Eller received All-America and Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors for the second straight year and All-Yankee Conference first team honors for the third straight campaign. As Wildcat team captain that season, he was also named The Sporting News' National Defensive Player of the Year, leading the Cats to a 9-3 mark, and bringing Villanova's record during the "Eller Era" to 33-14. Winding down his Villanova career in 1992, Eller signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.

"Curtis is the best linebacker that ever played in the new Villanova era," said Talley. "He was the first two-time All-American at Villanova and the only player here named to the Yankee Conference All-Time Team. Curtis is easily one of the most celebrated players of any football era at Villanova, and he is the best linebacker I have ever coached."