WORCESTER – Mark “Pathfinder” Epstein is a Worcester man. He cares deeply concerning the metropolis – at all times.
He’s equally passionate concerning the sport of basketball, particularly two late Worcester hoop legends, Jack “The Shot” Foley and Togo Palazzi.
Each starred within the Holy Cross and performed for the Boston Celtics. That date, and extra, was delivered by Epstein when he gave an emotional speak Thursday on the Worcester Historic Museum to launch the official launch of his new ebook, “Jack ‘The Shot’ Foley – A Legend for All Time.”
Archives:“You poured my ardour out of me.” Epstein contemplates writing the autobiography of Worcester legend Jack “The Shot” Foley
In a present of thanks for writing the ebook, Worcester Metropolis Councilman Sean Rose Epstein gave the ceremonial key to town and declared Thursday “Folly Jack Day” in Worcester.
Not unhealthy for a man who hasn’t lived in Worcester in over 30 years, however Epstein is firmly entrenched in Worcester. Rising up in Durant Method, his father, Charlie Epstein, owned the well-known sporting items retailer Charles Surplace in Water Avenue.
Sporting a smiley face button on his tie — a nod to Worcester native Harvey Ball, the inventor of the world-famous smiley face — Epstein informed attendees Thursday that he spent eight hours a day, over the course of eight months, writing the ebook to make sure the contributions of those two late behemoths to Ball weren’t forgotten. cart.
Epstein and a number of audio system who owe a big portion of their lives to enjoying and training basketball, together with former Mayor Tim Cooney, former Holy Cross coach George Blaney, and Bob Foley—the longtime St. John’s College coach who holds all of it—whereas successful It had record-breaking highschool hoops in New England – everybody praised Foley’s capturing skill.
Additionally they shared anecdotes about his life, together with his love of snakes and his informal garments – sneakers and a flannel shirt.
Others, resembling former Worcester Public Colleges superintendent Maureen Benenda, have praised Jack Foley for his contributions out of court docket.
Benenda started her profession as a instructor at South Excessive College, the place Foley taught, and arrange court docket classes within the lecturers’ cafeteria along with his tales.
“I lastly bought a seat at his desk, and the bell rang (to finish lunch),” Benenda recollects. “I want I had stayed longer to speak to him. He was a real buddy.”
Nancy Meyer Bates, a Southern highschool pupil who performed with Foley and in the present day an expert instructor in Rutland, was “damaged” when Foley expelled her from apply.
The following day minutes earlier than understanding, Bates placed on her sneakers and Foley informed her, “If you wish to be nice, it’s a must to be nice every single day. There is no room for looking the strikes.”
“The man was that sturdy,” Bates mentioned.
Highly effective sufficient to inspire Bates to change into an all-American parade at South Excessive.
Finest shooter ever
Many audio system described Foley as one of the best shooter ever.
Some spoke of the numerous hours the younger Foley spent at Holland Rink in Worcester sharpening his shot, his arms raised above his head when his shot was fired, making it practically unimaginable to dam.
All of that coaching paid off, as a result of Foley scored 61 factors in a single sport, and remains to be a Crompton Park League report, in accordance with his brother Frank Foley. The good shot happened in highschool, with Foley averaging 42 factors per sport in his senior 12 months at Assumption Prep.
In Holy Cross, Foley averaged practically 29 factors per sport.
The primary time Epstein “shot” was when he walked into the gymnasium at Worcester Boys Commerce Excessive College – in the present day’s Worcester Tech – to play for Foley, who coached the boys’ crew after Foley’s days within the NBA ended.
In the course of the first apply, Epstein remembers Foley holding a basketball and telling his gamers, “Maintain on to that basketball. If you happen to do this, you is usually a nice participant and achieve nice issues.”
Epstein performed for 4 years in school ball at Worcester State, and has been near Foley for years, calling him his “huge brother”.
Basketball has change into greater than only a ardour. He put Epstein’s life right into a bind.
He mentioned, “I ended up (with basketball) to the purpose the place I did not care about my schooling, my profession, my household. I used to be obsessive about the sport, and I wanted to interrupt up.”
Epstein He break up to South Carolina after the divorce, however did not make a clear break. He grew to become a instructor, mentorship counselor, and basketball coach.
“I’ve by no means escaped him. If you happen to open me, Worcester Basketballs will bounce off me. Who am I. It is my old flame,” he mentioned.
One other Epstein love is apparel.
Epstein contacted the person he calls “Uncle Togo” when Epstein was seven years previous and attended Palazzi summer time basketball camp.
They remained mates for many years, as Epstein spoke to Uncle Togo weekly for 50 years.
On Thursday, Epstein pulled a small tape recorder from his pants pocket, pressed the play button, and the viewers heard a sound within the costume.
It was excerpted from hours of interviews on this cellphone that Epstein recorded with Palazzi for the ebook. He then handed the tape to Holy Cross athletic director Nick Smith as a present to the school archive.
Epstein introduced extra generosity.
The Palazzi household has donated greater than 400 copies of his ebook to each boy and lady basketball crew in 5 Worcester excessive colleges — Burncoat, Doherty, North and South, and Worcester Tech.
“In order that they’ll be taught the historical past of our nice metropolis,” Epstein mentioned.
As well as, each basketball participant at St.
For these questioning how Epstein bought his nickname “Pathfinder,” Charlie gave it to his son when the boy was 11, as a result of Dad cherished the Pathfinder sleeping luggage bought in his retailer.
With Key to the Metropolis and the Day named “The Shot,” Epstein displays on his ebook and the lives of Jack Foley and Tojo Palazzi.
“This ebook is not about basketball, it is a lifestyle in central Massachusetts. These two guys are my household, and they need to by no means be forgotten.”
Contact Henry Schwan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Observe him on Twitter @henrytelegram