Remembering Scott Pace
From then until his death, I remained close to the boys and to their family. As Scott grew, he would spend time playing on my driveway court, mowing my yard and talking basketball.
Scott was always hardworking and enthusiastic. He spent many hours working on conditioning and improving his skills on his own driveway court.
He was a driving force on the BUHS high school team that went to the semi-finals in Southern Section his senior year. As a captain he drove himself and his teammates to excel and they did.
There were many Sundays Scott was at our house reviewing game tapes, talking basketball, and having supper. One of his teammates, Andy Burnett, who would follow Scott as a captain, tells an enlightening story about the man Scott was becoming.
“He was the only, the only player/teammate that I knew who worked as hard when coach was there as when he was gone,” Burnett said. “Guys, we got to get better!”
Scott became better and all who knew him were better too, from just being in his presence.
Unable to get an appointment to the Naval Academy, due to knee problems, Scott embarked on another phase of his life. Off to BYU with the same enthusiasm, he went and worked hard to excel in his studies and attempt to make the basketball team.
He didn’t make the team, but when he went on his mission to Argentina, he was able to take his love of basketball with him and found ways to pass on his love of the game to the young men he met there.
With his mission over, Scott again pursued his dream of a military career. He received an appointment to West Point. Beast Barracks showed him what he needed to do to survive at the Point and he met the challenge.
As an ‘old man’ he had to prove he had the grit to make it and he did. He went on to make the West Point basketball team. Coach Jim Crews praised his devotion to the game and his enthusiasm he brought to each practice.
I still remember the excitement in his voice when he told me about playing Duke at Cameron Arena — a dream had come true for the young man who loved basketball.
Besides playing basketball, he also played sprint football and team handball. Scott was quite proud of how well the handball team did and how he got them to run a fast-break offense like he did when he was a basketball guard.
After graduation, Scott headed for Army Aviation and helicopter school. Again, he did well and was assigned to the Kiowa, 10ty MTN. Div. and Ft. Drum — where, as he repeatedly told us, “was a VERY cold place.”
We laughed as we knew that Scott, being from the desert, didn’t like cold weather. The cold didn’t deter him from playing basketball on the post. No matter where he would be posted, there was always time to play the game he loved.
Scott moved up the Army ladder from platoon leader to company commander. His love of the game showed in the way he used the principles of the Pyramid of Success during orientation of the new troops. When orientation was over, those troopers knew what Scott thought of success.
At Ft. Bragg, Scott got to start a new troop. He was able to begin the traditions for Fox Troop. Troopers learned about the Pyramid, coach Wooden, setting short- and long-term goals, and balancing their lives. They also learned Scott would be there for them; that he cared, and that he was hard working and enthusiastic.
I love Scott for all that he was and for what he became. I love that he stayed in contact with me long after his playing days were over. Our family loved him too. We enjoyed his visits, touring West Point, the e-mails and phone calls. I can still see him scrambling on the floor for a loose ball and writing a report for class. He will forever be in our thoughts and prayers. We will always see that beautiful smile and hear the great laugh.
I salute you son, one last time as we always did on seeing and leaving each other. You will always be one of my ‘boys’ and I loved you as a son.