By Victoria De Souza
Julio Pacheco brings plenty of enthusiasm to his new job as assistant women’s basketball coach at South Plains College.
Pacheco was born and raised in the south of Brazil in the state of Florianopolis.
He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (Federal University of Santa Catarina) and a master’s degree in Education Instructional Design and Technology at Arkansa Tech University.
In 2007, Pacheco moved to the United States to serve as a graduate assistant at Arkansas Tech University.
While working at Arkansas Tech, Pacheco met his wife Christine. They are the proud parents of two young girls, Gillyan, 14, and Isabella, 7.
His passion for basketball comes from his childhood.
“I grew up watching basketball,” said Pacheco. “I remember when I was 10 or 11 years-old and saw Michael Jordan playing, and that was just part of my life.”
Coaching came at a very young age. When he was 19, Pacheco became an assistant coach for a private club team in the city of Florianopolis after he had tried out for the team.
“I didn’t make it,” Pacheco recalls, “but they offered me a chance to become a student coach for the team of the town.”
Working for the Club of Florianopolis led Pacheco to have a closer look into coaching. He also found himself a mentor in Gilberto Vaz, who guided him into the coaching world.
“Gilberto and I are very good friends, and he was a good mentor in my first step into my coaching career,” he said.
His job as a student assistant coach in Brazil gave him the opportunity to obtain the experience to go to Kennesaw State University in Georgia through a student exchange program.
“That was my first time in the U.S. and my first contact with the language,” explained Pacheco. “I spent six months with a host family, and also spent some time with the men’s basketball team.”
After moving to the United States, Pacheco had the experience of being an assistant coach at Arkansas Tech, an NCAA Division II member, where he stayed for seven years.
“It was a very solid experience at Arkansas Tech for me,” said Pacheco. “And there I found a big mentor in my career in Coach Dave Wilbers.”
During his successful time at ATU, he was a part of teams that went to the Elite Eight twice and had multiple 20-win seasons.
He later served as the head women’s basketball coach at Southern Arkansas University for three years.
“In my first year coaching at SAU, we broke the school record by winning 19 games,” he mentioned. “And I had the honor to be named the Coach of the Year in the Great American Conference. That was a huge accomplishment for me.”
Pacheco coached at a high school in the Texarkana area for a year before he had the opportunity to come to South Plains College.
Pacheco was introduced to SPC through Cayla Petree, the head coach of the SPC women’s basketball team.
“Coach Petree and I know each other from a long time on the recruiting trail and the business of recruiting,” he mentioned. “We kept communication, and during the summer I saw the position as available to be her assistant coach.”
Pachecho and his family moved to Lubbock, Texas, during the summer to become part of the SPC community.
“I am so thankful for the opportunity to be here at SPC,” he said.
Pacheco hopes to continue the success the team had in the previous season as the Lady Texans team prepare for the upcoming season.
“We have high expectations and we should have based on the team of last year,” he said. “And the next step is to build this day-by-day championship mentality that will lead us to achieve our goals as a team.”
Beginning this next step of his life and career, Pacheco is grateful for being part of such a united community that he found at SPC.
“It is a privilege to be part of a great school with a very traditional successful program,” said Pacheco. “And I hope to continue this high level of energy and high level ofknowledge to continue to provide for the SPC basketball program”