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Suspended Naz coach: ‘I let the team down’

Apache Paschall has missed games before. Just this season, the Nazareth coach was in the hospital for a few days and couldn’t be on the bench with his team for a contest against Mary Louis in December.

This time, though, was different. Naz was playing archrival Christ the King. There were some significant stakes. And Paschall was physically able to be on the bench. He just wasn’t allowed to be.

“I felt like I let the team down,” Paschall said after Nazareth’s 45-33 win on Feb. 23 in CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I first-place tiebreaker at St. Francis Prep. “I shouldn’t have put myself in the position to not be there.”

The coach, who has been under investigation by the league since December for alleged recruiting violations, was told by Nazareth principal Providencia Quiles not to speak to the media about the issue. On Feb. 15, a day before the principals were supposed to decide his and the team’s fate, Paschall sat down for a lengthy interview about a variety of topics, including the investigation.

The following morning, the principals decided to “table” the discussion about Paschall for a later date. But Quiles banned her coach for a week of practice and two games for breaking the gag order. He will also not be on the bench for the Lady Kingsmen’s CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens quarterfinal game Tuesday against Bishop Kearney. Paschall can however return to practice later this week.

“He said that he made a mistake, but he said he was just trying to defend us, stick up for us,” Naz senior Bra’Shey Ali said.

Paschall said he spoke with the team before his suspension took effect last Thursday and used the situation as a learning tool.

“I told them I didn’t follow the rules and this is what happens when you don’t follow the rules,” he said. “The principal was 100 percent right in making that decision. … It’s a lesson I try to teach them. I gotta follow what I tell them. I wasn’t setting a good example.”

Lady Kingsmen junior point guard Darius Faulk said Paschall not being there gave the team even more incentive to beat Christ the King. Ali joked that acting coach Lauren Best is much more calm than Paschall and didn’t scream as much. CK coach Bob Mackey declined to comment on Paschall’s suspension saying it would be unfair.

“The kids just miss him,” Best said. “It’s a presence that they’re used to. We’re a family unit, so it’s just like having dad missing.”

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