C. JAMES ZESZUTEK
· PARTNER, DINSMORE & SHOHL;
· BUSINESS LITIGATION; PERSONAL
INJURY – PRODUCTS: DEFENSE;
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
· PENNSYLVANIA SUPER LAWYERS:
Former collegiate wrestler C. James Zeszutek learned discipline
on the mat. Now, as a partner at Dinsmore & Shohl in Pittsburgh,
he puts it to use for some of college sports’ most well-known coaches
INTERVIEW BY ROSS PFUND
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEFF SWENSEN
Q: You’re a recent recipient of the Syracuse Letterwinner of
Distinction award. You were on the wrestling team, correct?
A: I was there ’ 68 to ’ 72 and about ... let’s see, 50 pounds ago?
[Laughs] A lot of fond memories. I was lucky enough to have
gotten a scholarship and had a great wrestling coach, Ed Carlin,
from whom I learned not only so much about wrestling, but so
much about discipline and life and how to handle yourself. We
had some very good wrestlers. Benny Polano, Bob Rust: national
champ. We were pretty good.
Q: You now have a unique practice representing college
coaches in NCAA-related matters. How did you develop it?
A: One of my very close friends was down at Tulane when the Hot
Rod Williams issue hit [in the mid-1980s], and he was accused of
providing extra benefits [to Williams, who was a student athlete
at the time]. When the school’s lawyers did a first investigation,
he called me and said, “You know, they said I can have a lawyer
with me when they conduct the investigation, but I’m afraid
they’ll think I’m guilty if I have a lawyer with me.” I said, “Well, if
you don’t have a lawyer with you, by the time they’re done, they’ll
think they know you’re guilty.”