LOS ANGELES — By all accounts, Nick Pasquale one of the hardest-working and most dedicated players on the UCLA football team. Pasquale wasn’t a star on the highlight reels, but he was one in the locker room, becoming one of those players that were essential in bringing together the many personalities a football team features.
The 5-foot-7 walk-on wide receiver died tragically after he was stuck by a car while walking home from a friend’s house in his hometown of San Clemente early Sunday morning. Nicknamed “Pacman” by his teammates, Pasquale possessed a relentless work ethic both on the field and in the classroom, and his family and friends want nothing more than to see his legacy continue.
The Nick Pasquale Foundation was created in his honor to, according to its website, “use its monetary donations for the financial support of athletes who (a) demonstrate extreme effort and leadership on their sport’s team and/or (b) charitable groups influencing sports and athletes (c) athletes who are in need of grants or scholarships to pursue their dreams.” Head coach Jim Mora has been tweeting links out several times a day all week and the family has asked for donations to the foundation in lieu of flowers.
Funeral services have also been set for Sunday, Sept. 15, at 4 p.m., at the San Clemente Presbyterian Church.
“We have to help his family through this,” Mora said. “One of the ways to help them is to keep the memory alive.”
The Bruins will play the rest of the season with a No. 36 patch on their uniforms and plan to honor him in the way they play — passionately, prideful and dedicated.
“We can’t just move on; you don’t move on from these things — you move through them,” Mora said. “UCLA football was really important to not only Nick, but to his family. The fact that he got to play football here was a dream come true for him and for them and so I think we need to honor that and shine light on that with the way we play. So when they turn on the TV, our efforts reflect what their son was.”
Pasquale, a San Clemente native, was a standout slot receiver and cornerback on the San Clemente High team that made the 2011 Pac-5 championship game. His father Mel was an assistant coach on the team and his older brother A.J. had previously starred for the Tritons.
Pasquale took that small community mindset with him up to Westwood. A scout team player that brought tears to the eyes of the UCLA captains, it has become clear that Pasquale’s presence was far bigger than his stature.
Pasquale wanted to be a firefighter and enjoyed helping others, be it kids at UCLA’s youth camps or his own teammates. The Pasquale family, the Bruin family and the San Clemente community hope to continue to help others much the way he would have through the foundation.
“I can’t ever forget about this kid,” Mora said. “I can’t ever forget that there’s a family out there that lost their son, what it meant for him to be a player here and what it meat to them for him to be a player here. We can’t become numb to it, we have to become sensitive to it …
“I just want (the family) to know that we’re all here for them, and I know that UCLA Bruin fans everywhere are too.”