Joe Montana - Born In New Eagle, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Born in New Eagle
He was born Joseph C. Montana Jr. in New Eagle, Pennsylvania, on June 11, 1956. The only child of Joseph C. and Theresa M. Montana, he was raised in the football stronghold of western Pennsylvania, which is also home to steel mills and soft coal mines. This same region has provided professional football with some of its most legendary players, including George Blanda, Johnny Lujack, Dan Marino, Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, Chuck Fusina, and Terry Hanratty. While still an infant, Montana showed signs of his budding athleticism. "He used to wreck his crib by standing up and rocking," his mother Theresa told Sports Illustrated. "Then he'd climb up on the side and jump to our bed. You'd hear a thump in the middle of the night and know he hit the bed and went on the floor." His father, who told Sports Illustrated that as a child he'd never had anyone to take him to the backyard for a game of catch. "Maybe that's why I got Joe started in sports. Once he got started, he was always waiting at the door with a ball when I came home from work." Montana's father tried to instill in him a basic grounding in the fundamentals of football and worked with him on techniques.
A shy child with strangers, Montana had a few friends as a child, but his fondest memories are of playing backyard ball with his dad. At the age of eight, he got into peewee football when his father listed his age as nine on the application form. But his love of sports was not limited to football. In the spring, he pitched for a local Little League team, and in the winter came his favorite game, basketball. His father started a local basketball team that practiced and played in the local armory and toured the region to compete in tournaments. So passionate was Montana about basketball that as a senior in high school, he almost accepted a basketball scholarship to North Carolina State University on the promise that strings would be pulled so that he could play both basketball and football. Eventually, Montana bowed to his region's preoccupation with football and accepted a scholarship to play the game at Notre Dame University, which his childhood idol, Terry Hanratty, had attended.