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Robert "Apache" Paschall was most often characterized as a basketball coach. But the 37-year-old, who lost his battle with skin cancer Tuesday, also will be remembered as an advocate and a friend.With an oversized heart.
|"He's extremely loyal, and I don't trust many people, but he always had my back," Samantha Prahalis said of Apache Paschall.|
"He was the same big heart whether you were major D-I or just getting out of your neighborhood," Prahalis said.Take Lisa Blair, a 6-foot-6 senior post who signed a national letter of intent with Ohio State this fall and earned a three-star prospect rating from ESPN HoopGurlz. "Every ounce of anything he had went to these kids," Insell said. "It's like Lisa Blair, who might not have gone anywhere if he hadn't kept working with her." Earl Elliotte, coach of the NYC Gauchos, says that's a point that can't be overstated. "That's really what it's about," he said. "At the end of the day, these people are trying to help kids, keeping them off the streets and out of gangs." Paschall's friends and colleagues celebrate the man because they understand what he accomplished and recognize that most of the kids he had an effect on had little or no means to ascend to basketball stardom or collegiate success academically or athletically without him, let alone shell out money for cross-country airfare for the NCAA-certified viewing periods. "When you load up a bus in New York with 50 kids and go on a long trip, take basketball out of it," said Corey Hedgwood, an administrator of Texas' DFW Elite who is still mourning the death of club founder Marques Jackson, who died in April 2010. "You have the responsibility of those kids, to keep them fed, make sure their clothes are washed and find them a decent hotel to sleep in." That was a task Paschall took seriously. "We may show up 10 minutes before the game," Prahalis said. "But what people didn't see was he was up all night trying to get the bus." Although Paschall -- who often wore an oversized T-shirt, usually with a big "X" on it, during the summer season -- was a part of several star players' lives, at his core he was a community man who leaves incredibly large shoes to fill. Making such a profound impact in a sport with little financial support far outweighs the controversy of competitive sports. "I think all Exodus and Nazareth players, we're drawn to him," Prahalis said. "You have to love him; you have no other choice." Follow us on Twitter, where you can ask questions and get instant updates.
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Discuss this on our Message Board.Chris Hansen is the national director of prospects for ESPN HoopGurlz, and covers girls' basketball and women's college basketball prospects nationally for ESPN.com. A graduate of the University of Washington with a communications degree, he has been involved in the women's basketball community since 1998 as a high school and club coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. He is a member of the McDonald's All-America team selection committee. Hansen can be reached at email@example.com.