Vince Palko #30 at BGSU vs. Central Michigan, 1994
Ever since Vince was a young boy he has been fascinated with fitness information and techniques to improve his skill as an athlete.
In the summers growing up, Vince organized group neighborhood runs to prepare for the upcoming football seasons.
This dedication and discipline in his fitness and conditioning carried forward into high school. Vince helped his football team win its first State Title in over 15 years. He caught the eye of several coaches from Div. I Colleges and choose to attend Bowling Green State University on a full scholarship. He started all four years at linebacker and was elected captain two years in a row. He helped his team win two MAC championships and win two Bowl Games. Sidenote: Vince is a Hall of Fame member of both his High School and college, Bowling Green State University.
After college, Vince traveled overseas to play professional football in Hamburg, Germany where he lead the Blue Devils to three German and Eurobowl Championships.
Six of Eight Championship rings Vince amassed over his career
(Two not shown came in gradeschool where no rings were given)
He learned from some of the best strength and conditioning coaches all over the world in Europe and the NCAA DI college he attended.
Whether it was college and pro coaches giving him the secrets to increase his endurance through 180 minutes of intense gridiron battles– Vince has seen it all. And applied it all. The application of this knowledge has lead to improving his life physically, mentally, and emotionally. He now shares his knowledge with a global community of newsletter subscribers.
One of Eight Championships in Vince Palko's Career
Vincent Palko (at 6'2" 234 lbs), in Washington, D.C., attained his goal to run a sub 4 hour goal time.
Vincent has also run several triathlons too-
even though he'd never swam more than 20 yards before training for his first race.
Here is one of the best articles ever written about Vince Palko. It was written in 1994 while at Bowling Green State University. The article speaks to his ideals and virtues - what made him tick then and what makes him tick now. Many things have changed in Vince's life since then. Yet, the core elements of becoming a champion athlete and a leader - have all stayed the same. You will understand more about Vince and his approach to success by reading this article. Sidenote: Vince still holds the tackle record he discussed and dreamed about in this piece.
"Defensive Art" Palko Paints an Intimidating Picture
By Aimee Ford
Blade Sports Writer
October 7, 1994
Bowling Green – If you could paint a picture of the perfect linebacker, chances are he would end up looking a lot like Bowling Green State University senior Vince Palko.
Palko is 6-2 230 pounds with a nose that has been bloodied and broken too many times to count. He is a ferocious and talented menace to opposing offenses, borne out by the fact he was one out of 48 players nominated for the Butkus Award, emblematic of the nation’s best linebacker. Palko, an inside linebacker who was the Mid-American Conference defensive player of the year last season, leads BG with 62 tackles this season.
He is the undisputed leader of the Falcon defense.
“Vince Palko is the pace-maker, the tempo-setter, he’s the glue that keeps us together,” BG coach Gary Blackney said. “I would never want to see anybody eliminated, by injury or whatever, but there is one guy that would be hard to replace for all the things he does other than physical.
“He’s a dynamic guy. He is a great, great leader. Vinnie’s not a real vocal leader, but when he says something he gets their attention right now. And everything I have heard him say has substance.”
But there is more to Palko than the heart of a warrior.
Palko also has the soul of an artist. He is a graphic design major and an illustrator who dabbles in watercolors and loves pen and ink drawings. He painted the picture of the linebacker that adorns BG’s ticket order form this year. He painted the picture of himself.
“It’s funny, I get a lot of people who come up to me and say, football and art, inside linebacker and art, that’s a crazy combination,” said Palko, who grew up in Stow and graduated from St. Vincent - St Mary High School. “My mother pointed out to me that it’s true that in football I’m constantly visualizing things, visualizing my reads. The night before a game, I just lay in bed and visualize the linemen coming at me, my reads, formations and actually visualizing the play and seeing myself making a tackle or picking off the ball.
“It’s the same way with art. I’m visualizing constantly. I’m taking in all my surroundings and either designing them or illustrating them, putting them down on paper. So I thank my mom for recognizing that.”
His mother Donna is a grade school art teacher who ignited her son’s interest in art.
“I can remember like kindergarten, first grade, I’d be bored and she’d get me some blank paper and some crayons or pencils and let me go,” Palko said. “She’s a great artist. I’d always look at her stuff and admire her work. She painted in college. But mostly she’d sit down and draw us kids and just a simple pencil drawing would look exactly like us.
“I have a passion for it. Its really the only thing in school I ever enjoyed doing. I wasn’t good in history or math or anything else like that, so I figured, do something you enjoy doing.
For as long as he can remember, that has meant art and it has meant football. He found success in both. His high school football team won a state championship his junior year. He is a four year starter for the Falcons, including 1991 and 1992 when they won back-to-back MAC titles. He was all MAC last year, and made the all-academic team.
He is just 35 tackles away from the school’s all time mark of 455.
“It gives me a chance to put my name in the record book,” Palko said. “I am not there yet, but if everything goes right hopefully I’ll be there in a couple of weeks. It is a big deal for me. I’m a proud Falcon and I’ll always bleed brown and orange. I think it would be neat if I keep that record, to look back with my kids and say, ‘Hey look this is what I did at BG.’”
The nomination for the Butkus Award seems the natural culmination of his career.
When I first started football, my coach said I attacked ball carriers like a guy named Dick Butkus. In sixth or seventh grade I really didn’t know who that was. But now that I’ve been in football for a while I think it’s just a great honor to be nominated for the award. I think Vinnie Palko himself, alone, couldn’t do it. I know that for a fact. I know my defensive line is very important to me, keeping offensive lineman off me and giving me the opportunity to make the big plays.”
Football and art remain options for Palko’s future. He has a lifelong dream of playing professional football – and Blackney thinks he has the physical ability and intangible qualities to make it – but is cleary committed to the graphic design degree he will receive next spring.
“I’m passionate for art and I’m passionate for the game of football. I don’t care what people say. They can judge me however they want.
“I remember hearing people say that Dick Butkus wasn’t such a hard guy off the field. He was humorous and kind of easy going, and then once he stepped across those lines switched into a different person. I think that’s the attitude you have to take. You don’t have to be a tough guy all the time.”