By Adam Levine
Ice Hockey - Coach Mike Bailey
Mike Bailey, 49, has been the Rams’ Head Ice Hockey Coach since the 2018-19 season and is a member of the Framingham State Class of 1996.
Bailey said he began playing hockey in the Learn to Skate Program rink in Franklin. “I just enjoyed it and I just continued to play from that point on.”
Bailey said he played ice hockey at the high school, prep school, and college levels until he graduated FSU.
Bailey said, “I missed hockey. So about three or four years later, I started coaching.”
He said he coached for a few years as an assistant coach at Bellingham High School alongside one of his teammates from FSU before he had a family and stepped away from coaching.
Bailey said he coached, “a little bit of everything.
“I coached youth football before I had my own kids, and then when I had my two daughters, I coached them in tee-ball baseball, softball, and soccer,” he added.
Bailey said, “I really enjoy working with the kids and it's really enjoyable to be out there on the field or a rink or court and just watch them succeed.”
He said his favorite part about coaching is “watching the kids work hard, practice, and then have success in the games - to see the fruits of their labor.”
Bailey said his favorite part about coaching at FSU is watching players score their first collegiate goals. “It's just a natural, genuine excitement in their face.”
Bailey said his favorite memory of coaching was from coaching youth football.
He said he invited a player’s younger brother to participate in sprints at the end of practices.
Bailey said the boy became the first string running back for North Attleboro High School and went on to play at UConn.
He said, “His parents thanked me for letting him get involved at an early age.
“For me, it's always about the kids and getting everyone involved,” Bailey added.
Bailey said he came to coach at FSU when his former coach, Guy Angers, asked him to help with the team.
Bailey said, “I thought maybe if I could come in and train, instill some of the things that I learned, and try and get the program back to where it was having success, it would be rewarding - not only for the kids, but it would just be good as a whole for the alumni.”
Both of Bailey’s assistant coaches, Mike Doran and Melvin Nichols, are FSU alumni. Bailey said, “I know those guys are there for the right reasons, that's because they care about the school.”
He said his favorite athletes growing up were now retired professional hockey players “Bobby Orr for always being humble and [Cam] Neely for his style of play.”
Bailey said he considers himself a “player’s coach. … I like to give guys plenty of independence and let them do their thing. As long as at the end of the day they’re all there for the main goal - and that's the team.”
Men's Basketball - Coach Donald Morris Jr.
Donald Morris Jr., 43, has been the Rams’ Head Men’s Basketball Coach for two seasons and has been coaching basketball since 2005.
Morris said he began playing basketball in sixth grade. “My sister, my mom, and my dad took me to the park to shoot around - from there I really liked it.”
He said he played basketball from middle school to college. “My basketball career has taken me on a pretty nice journey.”
Morris said he began coaching while he was in his senior year of college and finishing his degree. He became the head coach at Lesley University two years later.
He said at the time he was one of the youngest minority coaches for NCAA Division III schools in New England.
Morris said, “At a young age, it was a little bit different because I was coaching guys almost similar to my age.
“It had its obstacles, but it was a great learning experience,” Morris added.
He said he began coaching because “I realized that it was a way that I can impact lives through basketball, and try to show kids a correlation between sports and life.”
Morris said he has coached student athletes of all ages through the AAU program he owns. “It gives you a chance to kind of get away from the seriousness of it.”
He said his favorite part of coaching is “watching someone set a goal and then having the ability to attain it.”
Morris said he came to coach at Framingham State because “it had the ability to be one of the top teams in the MASCAC.
“It's great - the camaraderie that all the student athletes have with each other and the Athletic Department has with the employees and the coaches out of there,” he added.
Morris said his assistant coaches “do a wonderful job.”
He added, “The fact that they're so invested in learning, and learning how to be better coaches shows us that not just the coaching staff, but the players are all taking a step in the right direction.”
Morris said his favorite coaching experience was with a former student athlete who won the Scholar Baller Award, a national award that recognizes student athletes for their academic achievements and social impact at their university.
Morris said the student athlete was in Hurricane Katrina and after he won the award, they traveled to Ward 9 in New Orleans to build a playground.
He said, “I thought that was a great situation because I watched how one student athlete impacted a bunch of other student athletes.”
Morris said growing up his favorite athlete was now retired professional basketball player Michael Jordan. “He was always perceived as someone who had always done the right things and was a class act.
“Being able to see someone in a position of color that was holding themselves accountable and a high standard of excellence made you want to kind of do the same thing,” he added.
Women's Basketball - Coach Walter Paschal
Walter Paschal, 57, has been the Rams’ head women’s basketball coach for 10 seasons and has been coaching women’s basketball for almost 30 years.
Paschal said basketball has been a part of his life from a young age. “I used to play across the street from my house every day. All year long when it snowed out, I was shoveling the snow off.”
He said he stopped playing when he was around 30 years old and began coaching a bit before then.
Paschal said his first experience coaching was with a girls’ basketball high school freshman team.
He said he taught for 20 years at a school for people with learning disabilities. “Coaching is teaching.”
Paschal said, “It's just my nature.
“Just teaching and helping people - helping kids,” he added.
Paschal said this is a part of why he loves coaching. “It's just that nature of just trying to help kids get to where they want to get to.
“If I can help you, I will,” added Paschal.
Paschal said he was an assistant coach for the FSU women’s basketball team in the late ’90s before he worked as the Fitchburg State head women’s basketball coach for 14 years.
Regarding his job at Fitchburg, he said, “Even though it was a part-time job, if you want to be successful you have to do it full time.”
Paschal said part of the reason he came to Framingham State was that it was a full-time position.
He said FSU is a “hidden gem. The campus is beautiful.”
Paschall said he grew up in the Greater Boston area and has been here for most of his life. “When I was a kid, we used to go to Shoppers World.
“I know the area well and spent a lot of time in the area. To be able to be back in a familiar situation, it makes it a lot easier,” added Paschal.
He said his favorite part of coaching here are the students. “We get to go out and find the kids and tell them what they will accomplish here.
“It's all about the students - it really is,” added Paschal.
He said one of his favorite memories of coaching was winning back-to-back MASCAC championships in the team’s previous two seasons.
Paschal said, “Even when we've lost in the championship games, it's the kids that you go to battle with in the games.
“To see them reach their goals is pretty rewarding,” he added.
Paschall said he loves working with his assistant coaches, Lauren Donahue and Emily Velozo, both of whom played for him here at FSU. “Without them, I’m not sure we would be where we are today.”
Paschal said his favorite athletes growing up were now retired professional basketball player Larry Bird and now retired professional tennis player John McEnroe.
He said he was inspired by one of his basketball coaches growing up, but he tries not to emulate a specific coach.
“I’m just who I am,” Paschal said.