But far more important is that those eyes are bright and alert and thoughtful and clear. They are not—and we don't mean to insult a whole category of athletes here—the eyes of your average college football player. But then Gindlesberger is by no means your average football player.
He has been wildly successful. Last year he quarterbacked tiny (1,050 students) Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, to a perfect 10-0 regular season. He passed for a school-record 2,157 yards. He directed the Purple Raiders to the top total-offense mark in Division III—4,528 yards. He was voted most valuable offensive back and the top student-athlete in the Ohio Athletic Conference. He was all-conference, All-America, all-academic, all-wonderful.
So what do you think, Scott, of achieving such success? Says he, "I read somewhere that success is not a destination but a journey. I believe that." If true, Gindlesberger, 22, has gotten off to a helluva successful start on the trip through life.
And football is clearly in his rear-view mirror. Says Gindlesberger, "I've gone as far as I can go in football, so now it's on to bigger and better things." And so, come June 30, he will become an assistant staff accountant for the Big-8 firm of Ernst & Whinney in Canton, Ohio, for slightly more than $20,000 a year. He can hardly wait. He is already playing shortstop on the firm's softball team—and, as a rookie, carrying the bats and balls.
Says Gindlesberger, whose father, Don, is a CPA and controller for a fishing-lure manufacturer, "You need to get a solid education, something to use the rest of your life, because you can't use athletics the rest of your life. Athletics teaches discipline, commitment and fellowship, but when people are looking for potential employees, they look for those who can also communicate." Though the 6'2", 190-pound quarterback had hoped—they all do—the pros might give him a chance, he admits, "I am a dreamer, but I'm not unrealistic."
When Gindlesberger graduated last month with a major in accounting and a minor in computer science, his GPA was 3.853. He ranked fifth among 170 graduates. He was magna cum laude. And he was disappointed. Gindlesberger had hoped to graduate summa cum laude, which requires better than 3.9, but he had a foul-up in College Writing. He got a B. He also floundered to three B-pluses. His other 39 course grades were A's.
Scott Gindlesberger is, make no mistake, one of this land's best and brightest, a guy for whom football was a part of the experience, not the whole experience. "If I had to do it all over again, I would," he says, "because football was so much fun. But yesterday is dead and gone. That's why we have scrapbooks. The new challenges are tomorrow."
At Mount Union, he was eclectic. He joined a fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, and became the president; he was president of the Inter-Fraternity Council; he was president of Tau Pi Phi, the business honor society; he was voted outstanding senior man. On and on. Says former football coach Ken Wable, "He took advantage of the social, academic and athletic areas. He really got his money's worth out of college." He also worked during school and vacations.
But it hasn't been all blue skies. At Cuyahoga Falls ( Ohio) High School, Gindlesberger quarterbacked the team to a 3-7 record in his senior year. That was enough to frighten away all college recruiters. Gindlesberger's 4.9 nonspeed in the 40 also was a minus. So, too, was his lack of vertical jump.
Mount Union was at least cordial. There are no athletic scholarships in Division III, but Gindlesberger did get a $1,000-a-year academic scholarship to offset some of the $10,200 tuition. His parents, back home in Cuyahoga, were stuck with the deficit financing. When Gindlesberger got to Mount Union in 1983, Tony Colao, a transfer from Navy, had the quarterback job. Then came another transfer, Scott Woolf from Ohio State, who held the position for two more years. Gindlesberger sat. And sat. "You have to be persistent and patient," he says now. "And if something is easy, you have to ask yourself, 'Was it worth it?' "