Mark “Pathfinder” Epstein needs Worcester to always remember the contributions of hoops legends Jack “Shoot” Foley and Togo Palazzi.
WORCESTER – Mark “Pathfinder” Epstein is a Worcester boy. He cares deeply in regards to the metropolis—he all the time does.
He’s equally passionate in regards to the sport of basketball, particularly two late legends of the Worcester hoops, Jack “Shoot” Foley and Togo Palazzi.
Each starred at Holy Cross and performed for the Boston Celtics. That historical past, and extra, was conveyed by Epstein when he gave an emotional speech Thursday on the Worcester Historic Museum to formally launch his new guide, “Jack ‘The Shot’ Foley – An All-Time Legend.”
Archive: “My ardour poured out of me.” Epstein displays on the biography of Worcester legend Jack “The Shot” Foley
In appreciation for writing the guide, Worcester Metropolis Councilman Sean Rose gave Epstein a ceremonial key to town and declared Thursday “Jack Foley’s Shot” Day in Worcester.
Not unhealthy for a man who hasn’t lived in Worcester for over 30 years, however Epstein is firmly rooted in Worcester. He grew up on Durant Manner, and his father, Charlie Epstein, owned the once-popular Charlie’s Surplus sporting items retailer on Water Avenue.
Sporting a smile button on his tie – a nod to Worcester native Harvey Ball, the inventor of the world-famous smile – Epstein advised the viewers on Thursday that he spent eight hours a day, for eight months, writing the guide to make sure that the contributions of those two late basketball giants won’t ever be forgotten.
Epstein and lots of audio system who owe a lot of their lives to taking part in and training basketball, together with former Mayor Tim Cooney, former Holy Cross head coach George Blaney and Bob Foley — the longtime St. John’s Excessive coach who holds all-time, highschool hoops received a New England document – all praised Foley’s capturing capacity.
In addition they shared anecdotes about his life, together with his love of snakes and his informal apparel of trainers and a flannel shirt.
Others, resembling former Worcester Public Colleges Superintendent Maureen Binienda, praised Jack Foley for his contributions outdoors the courtroom.
Binienda started his profession as a instructor at South Excessive, the place Foley taught, holding courtroom within the instructor’s cafeteria along with his tales.
“I lastly sat down at his desk and the bell rang (for the tip of the lunch interval),” Binienda recalled. “I wanted I might have stayed longer to speak to him.” He was a real buddy.
A South Excessive pupil who performed for Foley, Nancy Meyer Bates, now knowledgeable educator in Rutland, was “devastated” when Foley kicked her out of form.
Minutes earlier than observe the following day, Bates laced up Foley’s sneakers and stated, “If you wish to be nice, you must be nice each day. There isn’t any room to undergo the motions.”
“Man, it was so highly effective,” Bates stated.
Highly effective sufficient to propel Bates to turn into an All-American within the South Excessive parade.
Finest shooter ever
Many audio system known as Foley the best shooter who ever lived.
Some spoke of the various hours younger Foley spent at Holland Rink in Worcester perfecting his shot, along with his palms held excessive above his head when his shot was launched, making it nearly not possible to dam.
All that observe paid off as Foley scored 61 factors in a single sport, which remains to be a Crompton Park League document, in accordance with his brother Frank Foley. The excellent capturing was carried out in highschool, the place Foley averaged 42 factors per sport his senior yr at Assumption Prep.
At Holy Cross, Foley averaged almost 29 factors per sport.
The primary time Epstein encountered “the shot” was when he walked into the fitness center at Worcester Boys’ Excessive College — Worcester Tech as we speak — to play for Foley, who coached the lads’s group after Foley’s NBA days ended.
Throughout the first observe, Epstein remembers Foley holding a basketball and telling his gamers, “Maintain on to this basketball. When you do this, you may turn into an incredible participant and obtain nice issues.”
Epstein performed 4 years of faculty ball at Worcester State and remained near Foley over time, calling him “an enormous brother.”
Basketball grew to become greater than a ardour. It put Epstein’s life in a vise.
“I used to be so wrapped up (with basketball) that I did not care about my schooling, profession and household,” he stated. “I used to be obsessive about the sport and wanted to interrupt away.”
Epstein break up up in South Carolina after the divorce, however he did not take a clear break. He grew to become a instructor, a counselor – and a basketball coach.
“I by no means ran away from it. When you open me up, Worcestershire basketballs will bounce off me. That is me. It is my old flame,” he stated.
One other love for Epstein is the Palazzo.
Epstein first got here into contact with the person he calls “Uncle Togo” when Epstein was 7 years previous and attending Palazzi’s summer season basketball camp.
They remained associates for many years, and Epstein spoke with Uncle Togo weekly for 50 years.
The voice of Togo
On Thursday, Epstein pulled a small tape recorder from his pants pocket, pressed play, and the viewers heard Palazzo’s voice.
It was a part of a number of hours of interviews on that telephone that Epstein recorded with Palazzi for the guide. He then offered the tape to Holy Cross athletic director Nick Smith as a present to the school’s archives.
Epstein introduced extra generosity.
Greater than 400 copies of his guide have been donated by the Palazzo household to each boy and woman basketball group on the 5 Worcester excessive faculties – Barncott, Doherty, North, South and Worcester Tech.
“To allow them to be taught the historical past of our nice metropolis,” Epstein stated.
Moreover, each St. John’s Excessive basketball participant receives a duplicate, courtesy of Jim McCaffrey, a former Holy Cross hoops star.
For these questioning how Epstein obtained the nickname “Pathfinder”, Charlie gave it to his son when the boy was 11 years previous as a result of Dad favored the Pathfinder sleeping luggage offered in his retailer.
With the important thing to town and the day named after “The Shot,” Epstein mirrored on his guide and the lives of Jack Foley and Togo Palazzi.
“This guide will not be in regards to the sport of basketball, it is in regards to the lifestyle in Central Massachusetts. These two males are my household and may by no means be forgotten.”
Contact Henry Schwan at email@example.com. Comply with him on Twitter @henrytelegram