You know Jim Tomsula. You just do. He’s the guy with life lessons to impart to you from his time as a Fuller Brush salesman, opinions on what makes a particular highway overpass a good sleeping one, recommendations on how to cook with Sterno, and reasons why you should shop at the dented-can store, because the damage is just cosmetic.
Emily Kaplan of MMQB talked to Tomsula for a big feature on his journey to the NFL and confirmed that you do, in fact, know him. As part of this, she learned the Tomsula family history. With every sentence, the lineage gets darker:
His great-grandfather was a Hungarian immigrant who worked in the coal mills of Indiana, Pa, where he was hit by a coal pulverizer and died on the job. Despite not knowing how to drive, his widow packed her four kids in the car and crashed twice on her way to Homestead, where she was able to find work washing the floors of churches. Years later Tomsula’s grandfather opened a restaurant, Hungarian Village, in the shadow of Forbes Field, the one-time home of the Steelers and Pirates. Tomsula’s father worked in the kitchen. When Forbes Field closed in 1970, so did the business. Everyone had to find new jobs.
One, uh, fun anecdote about Tomsula is that he lived in a car for a year early in his coaching career while he was a volunteer at his alma mater, Catawba College. A dog and a cat apparently lived with him in the vehicle:
In 1997, Julie took their two daughters, Britney, 4, and Brooke, 2, to stay with relatives in Florida while everything they owned was put in storage. And so began the year that Tomsula lived in a car, a red Cadillac given to him by his Uncle Tic. Tomsula drove the 430 miles down to Catawba and became an unpaid volunteer assistant at his alma mater, charged with strength and conditioning. He slept in parking lots and cleaned himself up in the locker room. To combat loneliness, he kept a black lab and a cat as roommates. Tomsula hung his suits in the back seat, right above the litter box.
“Ah, the homeless period,” he says. “Everyone makes it out to be a bad thing, but it really wasn’t.”
Jim Tomsula, in addition to being a David Mamet character, is one of the unluckiest men in the world. All his hard work means he now has to answer to Jed York.
Photo: Getty Images
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