The little office off Woodland Avenue gives off a hoops vibe. Over the desk there are vintage framed posters — Julius Erving in famous flight in his Converses … Bobby Jones playing in Pumas.
"That's the ABA there," said the tour guide about both posters. Of the Jones one, more rare than the Doc one, "It's a little beat up, but that's a collector's item."
Little post-it notes above the desk serve little reminders: Train Vision … 5 Out, 5 Dribble.
Across from the desk, take away the family photos and a faculty recognition plaque from a shelf, it's like you've found a passageway to a hidden world. The books revealed are a history not just of basketball but of basketball teaching: Basketball Methods, author Pete Newell, published in 1962. … Wait a second, three copies of Basketball Methods by Pete Newell?
Where does University of Sciences coach David Pauley get this stuff?
"The first, I ordered from Reilly's Bookstore, MacDade Boulevard, Folsom, Pa.," Pauley said. "No longer there, of course."
The others he purchased from eBay. Pauley figures he's given five copies away to coaches.
"I think the most I paid for it was $6," Pauley said. "Quite a bargain."
Another book on the shelf by another coaching legend, Clair Bee, published in 1948. Farther down the row, Rupp's Championship Basketball … Indiana Basketball by McCracken … A book by the coach who coached John Wooden at Purdue … Pressure Basketball by Ramsay … Cigar Companion.
Hey, it's not all about the hoops.
If this man coached Division I, you'd know all about Pauley already. He's way up the list of Philadelphia basketball characters. Sarcastic, cynical, but a lifelong learner, as he likes to say. Also, lifelong Mummer, was with Schuylkill Strutters, now Bryson Wench Brigade. His summer tweets about the camp scene are insider classics. Within his sport, he's a classic. When Pauley gets rolling, he takes over a room and the rest sit back and laugh.
If you want to play Six Degrees of Wilt, Pauley, 60, gets pretty close. His former boss Bobby Morgan played for Sam Cozen at Drexel. Cozen had coached Wilt Chamberlain at Overbrook.
"Try to take away the most important pass in their offense," is one thing Pauley picked up from Morgan when he began working for him in 1982.
Pauley's sport at Ridley High had been soccer. He still officiates it. His father sold furniture — "40 years, commission only." Pauley went to Temple and began teaching and coaching, and hoops became his thing. Eventually, he decided teaching five periods a day wasn't.
He had coached Morgan's son in summer leagues so when an opening popped up at what was then Philadelphia Pharmacy, Pauley got a call. He's been there ever since, taking over as head coach when Morgan retired in 2000.
Where do you pick up hoops? Around here, where don't you? When Pauley began at Pharmacy, John Chaney was just beginning at Temple with his early-morning practices.
"It was a pretty good clinic for free — go down there and listen to Chaney," Pauley said.
He became very close to longtime Temple assistant Jim Maloney, one of the sharper minds in the sport, a guy who taught him the value of relationships. Maloney led him toward Mike Dunlap and then toward Newell and some of the original big thinkers. Pauley also got around the rest of the Big Five, and started ticking off high schools he'd drop in on in the early days.
"West Philly, Joey Goldenberg. Speedy [Morris] at Roman. Bill Fox at Judge, Dan Dougherty at Episcopal," Pauley said. "Pretty good clinics within ten miles."
The summer meant camps in the Poconos, George Lehmann showing the mental side of the game, sharing a cabin for a few years with Princeton's Pete Carril and Columbia's Jack Rohan. — "teaching me the game, what you ought to be doing, not what are you doing."
Another big mentor was Ray Edelman, considered by a lot of coaches to be as fine a basketball mind as the Philadelphia area has produced, a longtime Dick Harter assistant at multiple college stops.
"I'd like to think I could keep up with most people," Pauley said. "He would lose me about the second or third dribble."
He's met all sorts of people along the trail. You meet Pauley, you stay in touch. John Wooden's granddaughter's husband sends him DVDs of UCLA games in the 1960s.
"This is Wooden's notes — were on his nightstand the night he died," Pauley said, grabbing some papers out of his file cabinet. "He Xeroxed them for me. This is his handwriting."
A trip to Southern California in 1996 to see a friend getting out of the Navy got Pauley thinking. Pete Newell had his big man camp at Loyola Marymount, right by the airport. Pauley showed up at 7 a.m. Newell pulled up in a 280Z. Pauley explained who he was. Newell welcomed him inside. Those books on his shelf, in the flesh.
"At that point, I had been an assistant for 14 years," Pauley said. "You like to think you know a little bit about the game. I realized I knew nothing about the game."
Kiki Vandeweghe and Kermit Washington, both retired from the NBA, were instructors. They'd have the young big men stars guard them one-on-one, alternating, tell them to stop them however they could. They couldn't. It was all about the footwork.
"I think I stopped counting at 25 straight baskets," Pauley said.
The file cabinet has a Newell file with notes, a Wooden file, a Chaney/Maloney file ("Learn how to play in a crowd"), a Dunlap file. A Bobby Knight file, worn notes with young Mike Krzyzewski as clinician. A sheet with words of wisdom. A thesis written about Wooden.
The whole thing a reminder that the basketball around here is just as serious in Division II. If Pauley is going to hold his own with Hall of Famer Herb Magee (whose own book is on the shelf) and the rest of D-II, he can't just roll out the balls.
"You're not going to use all this stuff," Pauley said. "But you want to know what other people are doing."
'Everyone goes pro'
The phone rang and Rick Pergolini, then coach at Academy Park, told how an offer from Lehigh had fallen through for his best player, Shannon Overton.
"I'll be there in 20 minutes," Pauley said. Out Lindbergh Boulevard, up Calcon Hook Road. A quick conversation. "You don't want to talk to them too long," Pauley said. "They'll hold it against you."
They knew Overton was a good enough student to get in. The next day, Overton's older brother called, they'd be down to campus in 20 minutes. "I think we grab a cheesesteak and a coke from one of the vendors." That night, they called and said, he's coming. Overton scored 2,000 points for Pharmacy.
"Everyone goes pro," Pauley likes to say of graduates from his place. "I've never had a kid unemployed, since '82."
The men and women typically play doubleheaders in the league so the teams travel together. Kate Jordan, an assistant at Sciences before moving on to Penn, remembers how they'd never watch movies on the bus unless she showed with a coffee and a bag of cashews for Pauley, that might do it. Although he hated her choices.
"Coach Carter, something like that," Pauley said. "It's the same movie every year … I'm a movie guy but my stuff is way off. Harry Dean Stanton is one of my idols; he just passed away. You ever see Paris, Texas? Repo Man?"
Pauley is starting to roll.
"The kids I coach, they might not have been Stripes or Caddyshack or the original Animal House," he said. "You make like a Godfather reference — 'we're all part of the same hypocrisy Senator' — they look at you blankly. How many Marvel superheroes are there? Aren't they running out?"
Pick a topic, Pauley will probably get going. If you're smart, you'll eventually make it about basketball. There's a whole hidden world inside there.