The San Quentin Hard Timers softball team has been rocking balls across the SQ Field of Dreams for decades now. One man’s journey from being the equipment manager to becoming the now general manager of the team is a story within itself to make the history books.
However, when GM Michael Pulito had to choose a new head coach, he looked deeper than what the game itself really meant. He looked to the heart of the person who would become the new head coach for the team. He picked Lamar “Coach P” Paschall. I was able to get both guys for some questions.
Hicks: Mike, it is an inspiration for those around here in prison to see you rise up from being the equipment manager to being the now GM of the team. How does that make you feel?
Pulito: It still amazes me to believe that I am now the general manager of a team I used to cheer for as a fan. But that is the power of the San Quentin sports program.
Hicks: And now you have this guy sitting here as your new head coach. That had to be a tough decision. But I wonder how you as the choice must have felt when you were asked to be in this new position.
Paschall: I’m lucky to be the head coach of the San Quentin Hard Timers. This position was offered to me twice and each time I refused. At that time I was feeling like I wasn’t deserving of it. A voice in my head would tell me, “You just got here.” I felt that it would be disrespectful to this community to fill such an honorary position as the head coach of such a historical team. However, my respect for the team superseded my personal aspirations.
Hicks: Yeah, I heard you say that you had only been here for eight months. I can imagine how all of the other veterans must have felt when Mike overlooked them and chose you. Mike, did you take flak for that choice and why did you choose Coach P over the other guys?
Pulito: Yeah, there were guys who didn’t understand why I made this choice, but eventually they will see the big picture. I chose Lamar as the coach because I could recognize him as a leader. I was blessed to be around some great leaders and see him as one of those special people. He is a leader that not only has knowledge and integrity but he also shared my vision of what the Hard Timers are about and what I want them to be.
Hicks: Coach P, tell me why you think Mike chose you?
Paschall: I believe why Mike chose me for this position was for the way I treat people, with humanity. I learned from my journey through life as an all-star baseball player once, football player with multiple interest in me from different colleges, I worked at a law firm, I’m a loving father to my children and family. From the streets to serving a life sentence to now trying to find a way to heal those affected from the harm I caused. Even myself, I just want to give back in some form. My experiences have humbled me and I think that’s what Mike saw in me.