Don’t take my word for it…

Exodus AAU Coach Apache Paschall

Exodus AAU Coach Apache Paschall

Many of you were bashing on me for calling for a change at the top of the Syracuse Men’s basketball program. Well, apparently I’m not the only one who thinks that way.

 I was working on a story covering the SU Women’s basketball team and in the course of my reporting I came in touch with an AAU coach named Apache Paschall. Coach Paschall is the head coach of Exodus AAU, arguably the most powerful women’s club basketball team in New York City. Not only does the team travel to tournaments around the country, but also around the world.

Not only that, but he has a great relationship with many college and high school coaches, including Orange head coach Quentin Hillsman. That relationship has played a part in several players to Syracuse including Nicole Michael, Erica Morrow, Tasha Harris, Vionca Murray and Shakeya Leary. Outside of the Orange, he has also coached players like Rutgers’ Epiphany Prince (famous for doing this), Kia Vaughn and Ohio State’s Sarah Prahalis.

There are many more names to add to that list, but needless to say he is very experienced around the game of basketball and especially in the coaching circles. The question that I asked him was about why Coach Hillsman is so successful in recruiting top talent, and he said this: (FYI-Coach Q is Coach Hillsman and Vivian Stringer is the head coach of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights Women’s basketball team.)

So there you have it. Paschall sums up my argument by saying that coaches relate to players, and have success with those players, because they are similar. Close in age, close in background, close in the lives they live. Coach Boeheim at this point is none of those. He is definitely not close in age to his players. Doesn’t live a similar life, and is not from the same background as these players.

If you’re a young man who comes from an inner city area (like Paschall says many of his players do) and just wants to make it by playing basketball, what does Coach Boeheim have in common with you? He isn’t a friend, he’s a way out.  Two very different things.

Paschall says there will be two types of coaches. Those who get it, and those who don’t. At this point, I think Boeheim doesn’t get it. But don’t take my word for it…

But weigh in with the poll right here and I’ll let you decide.

If you want to reach Mike Couzens, you can email him at


8 Responses to “Don’t take my word for it…”

  1. So we are supposed to listen to an AAU WOMEN’S COACH versus a hall of fame MEN’S coach, how has a national title? This is making my head hurt.

    • mikecouzens Says:

      The point here is that Paschall has coached nearly as many successful players as Boeheim has. And it’s not even about what sport the person coaches…it’s about a philosophy with any sport. Your players have to relate to you. Paschall gets that. A seventh grader could have told you two years ago that we should have pulled out of Iraq earlier, but because he is in seventh grade you wouldn’t listen? He was still right.

  2. This is what assistant coaches are for.

  3. “The point here is that Paschall has coached nearly as many successful players as Boeheim has.”

    Ummmmm – no, he hasn’t. Not even close. Not even in the same area code. Not on the same planet. Jim Boeheim has coached more successful players than this Paschall character has ever met. Take a gander at the number of retired jerseys on the carrier dome wall and then figure out how many of them were coached by Boeheim.

    Does Jim Calhoun “relate” to his players? He’s older than JB and still pretty successful. What about Roy Williams or Coach K? Same age bracket. What does Tom Izzo or Ben Howland have in common with an inner city kid trying to make it?

    The past few years haven’t went as well as people, me included, would have liked – but I flatly reject your argument that Boeheim can’t relate to his players and the game has passed him by.

    The fact that you are using an AAU coach that no one has ever heard of as evidence is weak. If this guy is such a great coach, how come he doesn’t have a legit job?

  4. mikecouzens Says:


    The other coaches you gave may be older, but age isn’t the sole factor. It’s not the only argument I laid out in this post. It’s just about a general philosophy that people take in their lives. I don’t know Calhoun or Izzo as well so I can’t comment on them.

    I don’t understand your shot at Paschall not having a “legit job”. He does a great service to the community that he works in. He serves as a father figure to girls in New York City. He helps them develop their basketball skills, and on top of that helps them make one of the biggest decisions in life–where to go to college. Everything a coach should do. Just because he doesn’t work for a college doesn’t mean he isn’t legitimate.

    Like Apache said, “It’s real hard to look in the mirror and tell yourself that you have to evolve.” Everybody has to do it at some point. I think this is that point.

  5. “The point here is that Paschall has coached nearly as many successful players as Boeheim has.”

    Russianator’s original point that the above statement is completely bogus is still correct, though. I suppose it depends on your definition of success, since I’m sure Paschall has coached way more players, as that is the nature of AAU ball.

  6. All I’m saying is that the AAU world is often times extremely murky and filled with gray areas — it isn’t well regulated. Many times these coaches steer players to schools for all the wrong reasons.

    Let me say up front I don’t know this guy and for all I know he’s a wonderful person and doing a great job, but I don’t put any stock in the assessment of a guy coaching women’s AAU team when criticizing a a guy that’s won almost 800 division one games. I personally don’t believe that he lends any more credibility to your argument.

    My point on the “legit” job is that if he was a good enough coach, he’d be working at a university somewhere, so just because he’s an AAU coach, it doesn’t qualify him as an expert.

    The point of contention – whether Boeheim relates to his players or not – is only known by his players, which is why we are having this debate. I don’t think a guy living in NYC coaching women has any more knowledge as to whether Boeheim can relate than you or I do.

    Things haven’t been going as well as we would have liked, but let me ask you this – would you say Boeheim can’t relate to his players if:

    – 3 years ago Gerry would have been healthy in the NCAA tourney?
    – 2 years ago they hadn’t got screwed out of an NCAA bid?
    – Last year if Devo and Andy hadn’t both torn up their knees?

    Those aren’t excuses, but point to the fact that there’s a small margin for error in the game of basketball and things haven’t gone SU’s way lately.

    I would reiterate a point I made in an earlier comment – winning D I games is harder than people think and Boeheim has done it more than almost anyone – including 19 wins this year.

  7. Marty Amo Says:

    Jim Boeheim is not a good coach. He is, however, a very good recruiter of talent. I’ve been of this opinion for about 30 years. He has had some very talented teams over the years that have underacheived. In tight games, down the stretch, he gets out coached and his players don’t seem prepared for these situations. He does not realize when his zone isn’t working and he has the type of team that can play pressure man-to-man defense. His success over the years is due largely to the athletic ability of his players, not his abilities as a coach. Case in point, the Marquette game (3/7/09), they nearly blew the game in the last five minutes of regulation, if not for a superb steal by Flynn for a layup and foul shot conversion. It’s the same sad story every year. Like I say, his talented players win a lot of games despite their coach.

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