If history recalls John Paye as a political leader who prepped as an NFL quarterback like Jack Kemp, you will have read it here first, in Plastic Alto, the blog with 500,000 words but no readers.
Towards the end of my 55 minute jaw session with the former Menlo School and Stanford two-sport star — and a 49ers Super Bowl ring holder — I asked in a type of push-poll whether he had been approached yet about taking a run at Rich Gordon’s assembly seat. He said no. I said that it would take someone more in the know and more persuasive to get him to run, Democrat, Republican or Independent, but then later my mind was reeling about what might happen, and maybe he could take Anna Eshoo’s seat as well.
The local press speculated about which local hacks might be eying the job, with Gordon terming out. I am eyeing the job. I told John, who I first met when we were junior players at Dick DiBiaso’s Stanford basketball camp in 1978, that it would be an unusual leap if I got elected to State Assembly after losing in my three runs for Palo Alto City Council.
Minutes prior, and this was after 40 minutes of general old guy jawing and war stories and just a handful or less of actual journalistic questions — “is it ‘Ann a, n, n’ or ‘Anne with an e’?” — I also posed:
‘If president of stanford or athletic direct comes to you and says ‘David Shaw is going to the NFL, we think you are the best guy to lead our program — as head football coach at Stanford’ what would you do?”
He laughed and said he is content enough being a family man, running his business (Payes Place the San Carlos-based), coaching the Menlo High School girls varsity and one of his children’s teams to take on that much more responsibility as a football coach at a Division 1 (and sometime BCS) level.
“My sister Kate is assistant coach to Tara Vanderveer” he offered, as a consolation for we Paye-watchers and Paye-followers of the old school.
In the here and now my interview yielded something of a timely scoop: John Paye and Sarah Harbaugh (wife of a former Big Ten quarterback I forget his full name) are producing a benefit event, a fashion show, at Rosewood Hotel, April, 2015 called “Out of Anne’s Closet”. The first time event will honor Anne Paye, the former Foothill College teacher and administrator who died in 2012, John’s mother. Sarah Harbaugh had a brother who died of colon cancer, what felled Mrs. Paye, and the two decided to Do Something (in the Andrew Shue sense) to rectify that, so to speak.
I have to admit that the recent scuttlebutt about Jim Harbaugh (Sarah Harbaugh’s husband) and whether he is in or or out of pro football, and in or out of NCAA coaching, is what catalyzed my calling out Paye. Former athletes and fans of my generation think of Harbaugh or Paye as akin to baseball in the 1950s New York: Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays? It’s not a perfect analogy but you get the idea (and that would make my classmate Chris Strausser Duke Snider; Strausser was second team all-league for the 1981 Gunn Titans and is still in the game, most recently as an offensive assistant coach for the Washington Huskies).
Tonight is actually a big night for Paye in that his girls play crosstown rival Menlo-Atherton at 6 p.m. at the Menlo School “new gym”. There is a 4:30 frosh-soph boys game and a 7:30 varsity boys game — six games in all, with four run simultaneous and cross-court — although I may try to also zip down to Saratoga to watch my 4-1 Titans boys play Prospect in the finals of their tournament, John Reid not Paye of the Daily News tipped me to, or his coverage did.
John Paye mentioned three or four other local prospects that hoops fanatics might start tracking, high praise indeed. He also mentioned that he was in Los Angeles yesterday to see USC ladies featuring his former player Edelman versus an LMU team featuring the daughter of a Stanford football mate. It being Hannukah he added the detail that Edelman was the MVP of the Maccabai games and therefore the worlds greatest hoops Jewess.
I countered that I was briefly the top Jew in the Gunn cager crowd, succeeding Matt Fisk, but that Dave Feldman was probably, even as a Paly ’83 to my Gunn ’82 the all Palo Alto Dolph Schayes of the day. John Paye checked his watch and begged to tap out verbal-wise before I could add another war story about my teammate Kent Lockhart, the eventual Don Haskins protogee, who also coached Andrew Bogut down under, while acting as an official frosh-soph summer league coach chewing me oat for not kneecapping Feldy the fourth time time down the floor, or something.
That was 1980, although it feels like ten minutes ago.
I will try to get some actual work done, or do my laundry, in the five hours of real life until the multi-tip-offs.
Good luck to Coach Paye and his charges. Think about that State Assembly seat. Carpe diem, dude.