Former Duke Standout and Syracuse QB Greg Paulus on Joining Navy Staff: “It’s Something I Want To Take Advantage Of”

August 08, 2010 | Ryan Chell

Greg Paulus
For Greg Paulus, he has tried his hand at a lot of different endeavors over the last several years.

He has suited up as a point guard for Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke basketball teams, starting three years for the Blue Devils, and after his senior season at Duke, Paulus-once a top prep quarterback-took a shot at football for his hometown Syracuse Orange in 2009 as he pursued his master’s degree.

And now, Maryland area basketball fans-who once rooted against the 24-year old from Medina, Ohio for playing at Duke-might now be behind him as last week he signed on to become an assistant coach for Billy Lange at the Naval Academy.

For Paulus, he told WNST‘s own Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” that it is quite an honor to not only be given an opportunity to coach the game of basketball, but to also to do it at an important and prestigious place like the Naval Academy.

“To come to the Naval Academy, this is such a unique and special place. The tradition, the people…it is such a prestigious institution. I do feel lucky to be a part of it with the people and the tradition.”

There is just something that is very special about being part of a Naval Academy, and the military academies.”

Paulus actually is now following the same footsteps that his former coach in Krzyzewski did, as his Blue Devil coach not only played at Army, but he also coached the Black Nights‘ basketball team.

“Coach K referenced those things, and talked about them all the time, and told stories about when he played at West Point and coached West Point. To be a part of that, and to have this type of opportunity to be around Coach Lange and his staff, its something I want to take advantage of.”

Paulus brings an impressive resume to the Midshipmen as a member of the Duke Blue Devils. While he was only a three-year starter, losing starts in his senior season to then-sophomore Nolan Smith, he averaged close to 10 PPG his first three years as a Blue Devil, while contributing with 4.3 assists per game.

He earned freshman All-ACC honors in 2006, and his 187 assists that year were third-most in Duke history in a single season. As a junior, he hit 42% from 3-pt. distance, connecting on 82 shots.

But after a senior year in which he didn’t see much action, Paulus did look toward his future, first as an NBA player.

“Whenever you’re in high school or college, your dream is to play at the highest level. When I was in high school, I didn’t know if I was good enough to get a scholarship or play college basketball, so when I was playing  basketball, I dreamed and worked out to try and make it to the NBA,” Paulus said.

But after it looked like his basketball career was coming to an end, Paulus decided to dig deep into his past and see if he could resurrect another career of his: football.

He attended the University of Syracuse as a graduate student, and joined the Orange football team. In about a month, Paulus was named the team’s starter.

“It was a lot of fun,” Paulus said.  “It was great to play football again. It was different. I made my decision right before I graduated from Duke, and I only had about two months or so to learn a playbook, and get back home and meet the guys, and get myself ready to go.”

Paulus used the same grit and determination in Cameron Indoor when it came to trying to achieve on the Syracuse football field.

“With the preparation, there was a lot of it. And trying to get myself from basketball to football shape, putting on weight, different type of training. It was fun to do, but it took up a lot of investment and a lot of time.”

Paulus finished the 2009 season winning four games, while passing for 2,025 yards and 13 scores. His 67.7% completion percentage for one season is best in school history.

Greg Paulus

All-in-all for Paulus, it was another shot at chasing another one of his dreams.

“When I was throwing the football around, I believed I still had it. I just had a lot of fun doing it. So I wanted to get back there and do something that I loved, and was just as passionate as anything else.I feel really lucky to have that opportunity. Syracuse football has a rich tradition. And obviously Duke basketball speaks for itself,” he said.

Paulus did say that he didn’t care which sport panned out for him; as long as he continued to keep doing something that he loved, that was all he cared about.

“I wanted to play in college and play in the NFL, and if football came and basketball didn’t, that would have been great to go out there and play football. I was lucky enough to have some opportunities, and going down to Duke was a dream come true, and to have the opportunity to come to Syracuse and play for a year.”

And now, Paulus is focused on helping the Midshipmen and coach Billy Lange continue their progression in a tough, Patriot League schedule.

And he said he couldn’t have learned more from a coach like Mike Krzyzewski, who he is ready to try and emulate as much as possible in his first shot at college coaching.

“There are so many things that I learned from Coach that I will take with me, not just for coaching, but for the rest of my life.”

Mike Krzyzewski

The list goes on on how many things Mike Krzyzewski was excellent at as coach.

“The way he carries himself-the fire, the way he relates and communicates with people, how he is such a professional and how he still has that hunger and that fire, and his communication skills are unbelievable,” Paulus added.”The way he got the most out of his players; those are just to a name a few.

Paulus knows all he needs to do is have an inch of the same coaching principles as Krzyzewski, and he should do just fine.

“But I have such great respect in the way he does it and how he does it, doing it the right way, and hopefully I can a little of that and bring it to where I am.”

Paulus said he knows the Patriot League well, and he feels like this schedule is going to be a tough challenge for he and his new co-workers to face.

“I’m real excited to be a part of Navy and the Patriot League. I know the teams well being from Syracuse. I’ve been to a few Colgate games. I have some friends that attend each of the schools in the Patriot League.”

“I know its very competitive, and the league has taken a couple levels up. You see teams that have a chance for a 14-15 seed in the Tournament, and they’re playing really well. We saw that with Lehigh this past season and their success.”

“The teams are getting so much better. It’s a very competitive league, and I’m really excited to be a part of it and to see where we stand and what we need to do to get to the top.”

Keep tuned into WNST and as we welcome Greg Paulus to the Maryland Sports Community! WNST-We Never Stop Talking!