Team Pavlik thrives on unofficial structure

By Todd Franko

With these next words, one person is already upset with this story.

John D’Altorio.

If you don’t know John, he probably likes it that way.

If in the last 18 months, you’ve had any interest in Kelly Pavlik being at your golf outing, your dinner, your radio show, your ribbon cutting, your anything ... you’ve likely had to run into John.

Or John has run into you.

The inner workings of Team Pavlik run through various hands within the group. They eventually get to D’Altorio’s fingers.

The official world of Team Pavlik thrives on its unofficial structure,

You’d be hard pressed to get any of them to outline their official job or official title. It doesn’t exist.

Michael “Struthers’ Own” Cox offered this take on how his teammates manage the flow:

“We all have our roles,” he said. “And they are roles we know well.”

“When we encounter something that’s not our role, it generally goes to John first, who then sorts it out.”

You will not find a group of guys more gleefully unofficial as Team Pavlik.

An outsider is never quite clear who is and who is not on Team Pavlik. Eight? Twelve? Fifty?

You know there are four guys in U2. The Rolling Stones are a foursome even though there are 12 musicians and singers on stage.

Team Pavlik, to carry the music analogy a bit longer, is probably like Bruce Springsteen’s E Street band: a roving pack of loyalists who keep the machine working, keep it textured with local flavor, but also keep it loose.

The other day, Harry Meshel was with Team Pavlik.

When did that happen?

But there are some certainties within Team Pavlik:

Kelly’s the product they all worry about.

Mike Pavlik Sr. runs the team — the CEO, if you will.

Jack Loew runs the boxing — the COO, if you will.

And in all the places where those worlds collide, you’ll find D’Altorio.

On, there’s a video where Mike Sr. even picks on John by calling him “dad.”

D’Altorio’s other nickname is Agenda John.

I don’t sense that D’Altorio has the Team Pavlik handbook memorized — because there is no handbook.

But there is a street-smart attitude, a meat-and-potatoes style of business, and a homespun sense of loyalty to each other and to the Valley.

D’Altorio seems to be the perfect guy in the perfect place to keep the unofficial team on track. On Friday, as Team Pavlik crowded itself onto the stage for the weigh-in applause and pomp, Agenda John was on the floor organizing the next wave of activity.

Keeping such a charged, star-struck venture on task is no small feat.

To hammer this home, let me offer this for comparison:

Kelly and Team Pavlik ascended to fame and No. 1 status about the same time as Marc Dann climbed to the state’s No. 1 law enforcement post.

Both were thrust into different, but similar, waters — a lifetime of dreaming it would happen, and then overnight realization that, damn, it did happen.

Marc’s downfall has been well-chronicled. On that one torrid day last spring when he resigned, he met with us at The Vindicator.

Among Marc’s rationalizations for his conduct, and that of his Valley-bred colleagues, was that they never expected to win, and they were never prepared to go from small-town politicians to top state officials.

No one is, I believe.

So when it is thrust on you — as it simultaneously was for Dann and Pavlik and the folks around them — you ultimately stay who you are, regardless. The wallet and the title don’t change the face in the mirror.

I think Team Pavlik has done a decent job staying true to who they are — rolling just the same regardless of the wins and losses in — and outside — the ring.

It’s made easier when you have a grass-roots champ like Kelly. It helps to have strong voices like Jack and Mike Sr.

And it’s all brought together nicely with a guy like Agenda John.

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