Mark “Pathfinder” Epstein desires Worcester to always remember the contributions of trash legends Jack “The Shot” Foley and Togo Palazzi.
WORCESTER – Mark “Pathfinder” Epstein is a man from Worcester. He cares rather a lot concerning the metropolis – it has at all times been so.
He’s equally captivated with basketball, particularly two Worcester basketball legends, Jack “The Shot” Foley and Togo Palazzi.
They each carried out at Holy Cross and performed for the Boston Celtics. This story and extra have been offered by Epstein when he gave an emotional speech on Thursday on the Worcester Historic Museum to formally start the discharge of his new ebook, Jack ‘The Shot’ Foley – A Legend Ceaselessly.
Archives: “My ardour poured out of me.” Epstein displays on writing a biography of Worcester legend Jack “The Shot” Foley
As a thanks for writing the ebook, Worcester Metropolis Councilor Sean Rose handed Epstein the ceremonial key to the town and introduced “Jack ‘The Shot’ Foley Day” in Worcester on Thursday.
Not dangerous for a man who hasn’t lived in Worcester in over 30 years, however Epstein is firmly embedded in Worcester. He grew up on Durant Method and his father, Charlie Epstein, owned the once-popular Charlie’s Surplus sporting items retailer on Water Road.
With a smiley-face button on his tie – a nod to Harvey Ball, inventor of the world-famous smiley face – Epstein instructed attendees on Thursday that he was spending eight hours a day, over the course of eight months, writing a ebook to make sure that the contributions of those two late giants basketball won’t ever be forgotten.
Epstein and plenty of audio system who owe a big a part of their lives to enjoying and coaching basketball, together with former Mayor Tim Cooney, former Holy Cross head coach George Blaney, and Bob Foley, longtime St. highschool time breaks a report in New England – everybody praised Foley’s capturing abilities.
In addition they shared anecdotes about his life, together with his love of snakes and his regular outfit – boots and a flannel shirt.
Others, corresponding to former Worcester Public Colleges curator Maureen Binienda, praised Jack Foley for his contribution exterior the court docket.
Binienda started her profession as a trainer at South Excessive the place he taught Foley, presenting her tales within the trainer’s cafeteria.
“Lastly I sat down at his desk and the bell rang (on the finish of the lunch break),” recalled Binienda. “I needed I might have stayed longer to speak to him. He was a real good friend. “
South Excessive scholar who performed for Foley, Nancy Mayer Bates, who’s at present an expert trainer in Rutland, was “devastated” when Foley kicked her out of coaching.
The following day, minutes earlier than coaching, Bates laced up her sneakers and Foley instructed her, “If you wish to be nice, you must be nice each day. There isn’t any room for motion.
“Man, he was so highly effective,” mentioned Bates.
Highly effective sufficient to encourage Bates to grow to be the All-American Parade at South Excessive.
The most effective shooter ever
Many audio system referred to as Foley the best shooter that ever lived.
Some spoke of the various hours of younger Foley spent on the Holland Rink Playground in Worcester, grinding his shot, palms held excessive above his head as his shot was launched, making it practically unattainable to dam.
The entire observe paid off, as Foley scored 61 factors in a single recreation, nonetheless a Crompton Park League report, in keeping with his brother Frank Foley. An excellent shot moved to highschool the place Foley averaged 42 factors per recreation in his senior yr on the Assumption Prep.
At Holy Cross Foley averaged virtually 29 factors per recreation.
The primary time Epstein encountered a “shot” got here when he entered the health club at Worcester Boys Commerce Excessive Faculty – at present Worcester Tech – to play for Foley, who coached the boys’ crew after his days within the NBA ended.
Throughout his first observe session, Epstein remembers Foley holding a basketball and telling his gamers, “Maintain on tight to this basketball. For those who do this, you’ll be able to grow to be an incredible participant and obtain nice issues. ”
Epstein performed on the Worcester State Scholar Promenade for 4 years and saved near Foley for years, calling him his “large brother.”
Basketball has grow to be greater than a ardour. It put Epstein’s life in a vice.
“I used to be so filmed (with basketball) that I did not care about my training, profession and household,” he mentioned. “I used to be obsessive about the sport and needed to break free.”
Epstein after his divorce, he moved to South Carolina, however didn’t take a clear break. He grew to become a trainer, educator and basketball coach.
“I by no means acquired away from it. For those who open me up, Worcester basketballs will bounce off me. That is how I’m. That is my old flame, he mentioned.
One other love for Epstein is Palazzi.
Epstein first encountered the person he calls “Uncle Togo” when Epstein was 7 years outdated and attending Palazzi’s summer time basketball camp.
They remained associates for many years, and Epstein spoke weekly with Uncle Togo for 50 years.
On Thursday, Epstein pulled a small tape recorder from his pants pocket, pressed the play button and the viewers heard Palazzi’s voice.
It was an excerpt from the hours of interviews on this telephone that Epstein had recorded with Palazzi for the ebook. He then donated the tape to the director of Holy Cross Athletic, Nick Smith, as a present to the school archives.
Epstein introduced higher generosity.
Over 400 copies of his ebook have been donated by the Palazzi household to each boy and lady on basketball groups at 5 Worcester excessive faculties – Burncoat, Doherty, North, South and Worcester Tech.
“In order that they’ll study the historical past of our nice metropolis,” mentioned Epstein.
Moreover, each basketball participant in St. John’s Excessive will get a duplicate courtesy of Jim McCaffrey, former Holy Cross bin star.
For these questioning how Epstein acquired his nickname “Pathfinder”, Charlie gave it to his son when the boy was 11 as a result of Dad favored the Pathfinder sleeping luggage offered in his retailer.
With the important thing to the town and a day named after the Shot, Epstein mirrored on his ebook and the lives of Jack Foley and Togo Palazzi.
“This ebook shouldn’t be about basketball, it is a lifestyle in central Massachusetts. These two males are my household and will by no means be forgotten. “
Contact Henry Schwan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Observe him on Twitter @henrytelegram