The Lion program is wonderfully small time. Pont and his seven assistant coaches (six of them part-time) do the team laundry themselves after practice. The Lions have to play their home games at a nearby high school because Mount St. Joseph's largest athletic field is only 90 yards long. At least one of Pont's players, wide receiver John Piminedis of Thessalon�ki, Greece, had never touched a football until this summer. "There's one kid, he weighs, like, 135 pounds, and he's really struggling with whether he should stay with the program," says Pont. "I hope he does, because I know that sometime in the next four years he'll catch a touchdown pass and that will be a moment he'll remember all his life."
Pont truly cares about his players. "The rule during staff meetings is that if a player comes in and wants to talk to Coach, the meeting breaks up," says assistant Bill Piper. The players repaid Pont two weeks ago in Terre Haute, Ind., by winning their debut game, 31-10, over Rose-Hulman. Last Friday, with 15 freshmen in the starting lineup, the Lions lost at home 32-14, to Hanover College.
To support the team, the Mount St. Joseph art department has come up with a more ferocious-looking lion logo to replace the sweet-faced lioness traditionally used for the school's women's teams. Even the nuns from the hilltop convent overlooking the school grounds show up for games and wave when they see Pont strolling the campus. "How's recruiting going?" one asked Pont the other day on her way to chapel. Yelled another from the distance, "We're praying for you, Coach!"