One of the nation's most successful and controversial girls basketball coaches suddenly passed away on Tuesday after a battle with cancer.
As reported by the New York Post and a variety of other media outlets, New York (N.Y.) Nazareth High girls basketball coach Apache Paschall died on Tuesday at New York Infirmary-Beekman Downtown Hospital, which he was transported to from his New York home after he took an unexpected turn for the worse. Paschall was reportedly accompanied by assistant coach Lauren Best and friend and colleague Rodney Johnson at the time of his death.
The coach's sudden passing follows a rough year of health complications for Paschall, who was reportedly diagnosed with congestive heart failure at the start of 2011 and learned of skin cancer in October. The Post reported that the coach had been undergoing radiation on his neck and jaw area since his initial cancer diagnosis, but continued to coach his team while receiving treatment five days a week.
"It's a tragic loss for Nazareth, especially for our kids," school principal Providencia Quiles told the Post. "We're all suffering right now."
While many questioned Paschall's open policy of recruiting students for his basketball programs, few could doubt his ability to mold talented players into successful teams. The late head man's current girls basketball squad is a testament to that very claim. After winning the 2011 New York State Federation Class AA state title, Nazareth is ranked in the top 10 of both ESPN and USA Today's national girls basketball rankings.
Paschall also led New York (N.Y.) St. Michael's School to a New York state federation title in 2009, and his Exodus girls basketball travel program is widely respected as one of the nation's best girls basketball operations.
With Paschall's on-court disciples in the midst of a shocked state of mourning, they will receive a brief respite from game action; Nazareth athletic director Rochelle Murphy told the Post that the team's scheduled game against New York (N.Y.) Bishop Ford School on Thursday would be postponed to a later date.