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Catching up with former Arizona linebacker Paul Magloire, who’s now ‘Coach PJ’

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Arizona v BYU Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

After his football career took him all over the country and even Canada, Paul Magloire Jr. has finally settled down in the Phoenix area with his wife, three young kids, and a budding business.

Magloire currently owns and operates PM Sports Training in Queen Creek, where he coaches about 200 boys and girls of all ages, helping them improve their strength, agility, and overall fitness level.

Many of them aspire, and are even on track, to play at the collegiate level in football, baseball and softball. (You can sign up for his sessions HERE.)

Now in his second year in the business, Magloire is working on opening a second location with hardwood so he can train more basketball and volleyball players, his way of giving back to a new generation of athletes.

“It’s been a good time, something I enjoy, something I knew I could see myself doing once I got done playing football,” Magloire said. “I love it a lot. It’s something that kept me around the game.”

Magloire with his young athletes

Before he was “Coach PJ”, Magloire spent two seasons with the Arizona Wildcats after transferring in from Arizona Western via Appalachian State.

Bouncing between safety and linebacker, Magloire appeared in 24 games (18 starts) at Arizona, logging 153 tackles, 9.5 for loss and two sacks, arguably the team’s most productive defensive player in 2015 and 2016.

The Fort Lauderdale, Florida native signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent in 2017 but spent his rookie year on injured reserve after undergoing a double hernia and torn groin procedure.

Magloire was later released on an injury settlement, and signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League, though he never debuted for reasons he will discuss in a second. I caught up with Magloire to talk about that, his UA career and his business.

Here is the Q&A, which has been lightly edited for clarity.

Ryan Kelapire: What do you like about what you’re doing now as a trainer?

Paul Magloire: “I knew it was always something that I wanted to do. It just was a matter of when. One thing I like most about is still getting to be around sports. I enjoy being around kids that are goal-driven and trying to accomplish something, because that’s how I was myself. It’s also a good time to help some of them achieve those goals.”

RK: So why did you settle down now as opposed to later?

PM: “Yeah, it was like, ‘how long was I actually going to play professional sports?’ That question, nobody really knows the answer to. You see guys get let go all the time and guys are retiring, but right after I signed with the CFL, I was like, ‘eh, this might not be the route for me.’ I have my family already, and me and my wife just got a house out in the Queen Creek area and I’d have to move everybody up to Canada, so that was like the go-ahead for me. I was like, ‘alright I’m done. I got a boy already, he can be the successor to Arizona football for me.’”

RK: How would you evaluate your Arizona career?

PM: “It was good. My junior year was probably my favorite. We had a bunch of changes heading into my senior year which wasn’t too bad, but it was a good time. It’s a great school, it’s a place that I would want my kids to go to. I won’t forget running onto that field in front of the crowd and some of the bigger games and the tight games, like that Utah game we played in at home my junior year. Those are things you just don’t forget.”

RK: Other than the Utah game, is there another that sticks out?

PM: “Senior Night vs. ASU. That was a good time coming out of on top in my last game. We didn’t throw the ball once (in the second half). I remember I had like 16 tackles. I was trying to run all over the place.”

RK: How would you describe your role at Arizona? I know you played safety and then linebacker.

PM: “I was like a swiss-army knife. I did whatever I was asked. It wasn’t a bad thing; versatility is good. Even right now in my business I try to instill that in my athletes. Especially me being in college, my ability to play so many different positions helped me get on the field sooner, helped me make plays, and definitely helped me get to where I am now. To run a successful business I gotta be able to do more, not less.”

RK: How much do you miss playing?

PM: “I do miss it from time to time. I feel like more now than I did when I was playing, which is weird. Some days I’m like, ‘man, if I was still in the shape that I was in I’d probably be a better player than I was then because I teach it now.’ I do miss it, but my kids are starting up sports and it’s a lot cooler to see your own kids doing things that you once did. It’ll be nice to tell him about what I did when he gets older.”

RK: Were you surprised to go undrafted? I remember a lot of mock drafts had you going in the later rounds.

PM: “It was weird because I was getting calls from everybody. I was like, ‘I’m a clean-cut draft pick.’ I don’t what happened but it totally changed. Those phone calls became, ‘what kind of signing bonus do you want, because it didn’t look like we were going to have another pick.’ They all said that. But I was like it’ll be OK because I’ll still be able to get a decent signing bonus and go to a team that really wants me.”

RK: What did you take away from your stint with the Buccaneers?

PM: “It was good. I was getting in there, getting a lot of love. I fit the system really well, playing Will linebacker behind Lavonte David. It was going to be schemed up perfect if I would have been able to stay healthy. But once I got that hernia, I had to get them both repaired, I was put on IR and later (released) on an injury settlement. It was a whirlwind but it is what it is. NFL is Not For Long, is what they say.”

RK: Did that injury take away from your ability as a player when you did try to come back?

PM: “It was weird because when I had pre-draft visits—I went to the Giants, Cardinals, a bunch of places—one thing everybody loved is that I had never had any serious injuries. Maybe a couple bumps and bruises, but no surgeries, nothing like that. So it was interesting because I didn’t really know what [my injury] was. I had this really dull, achy feeling in my stomach which turned out to be a hole in my abdominal wall. Once I picked a time to come back, I definitely knew I wasn’t going to be myself but there was a point where I was like, ‘I might be able to do this and go back into the CFL.’

“But I was on a cane for a couple months and I was pretty much an old man. Everybody would be like, ‘you have a cane?’ I needed it. I’m not [joking]. I’d go into Walmart and I’d get one of those carts and I’d get these old people looking at me like, ‘these lazy millennials.’ That’s when I was like, ‘I don’t really want to be like that for my whole life.’ So I ended up stopping.”

RK: What do you think of the current state of the Arizona program?

PM: “I’m hoping we bounce back this season. We had a team that went to Foster Farms Bowl, and it was weird dropping off from that, and then coaching changes, so I think this is the year we put it together. I hope it happens. I’m only going to be optimistic. I’m not going to be one of those negative fans. There was one season I was completely pissed. Anything that would happen, I would take it to Twitter. But I told myself I’m just gonna be 100 percent positive and that’s what I’m doing. But I do know college football is a revolving door. If it’s not good now, it will be better in the next year. I’ll be an Arizona Wildcat fan my whole life. The good, the bad, the ugly, you just have to stick with it.”

RK: Since you’re obviously around a lot of in-state recruits now, why do you think Arizona has had so much difficulty landing them?

PM: “I come across a lot of them at my gym and I ask them, ‘why don’t you go to Arizona or even Arizona State?’ And they’re like, ‘they don’t call me that much.’ A lot of schools go out of state to recruit, but I feel like this year a lot of the kids that I got that are top recruits they’re hearing from Arizona a lot, so that makes me happy. But it’s crazy because there’s a lot of talent in the state...and a lot of those kids want to stay in Arizona but sometimes they feel forced to leave. I think one thing would be to recruit the state a little bit harder, but I think [Arizona] is gonna do that this year. We’ll see.”


This article is part of an ongoing Q&A series that will highlight former UA student-athletes. The rest of the editions are linked below. If you are a former UA student-athlete and would like to participate, please email me at rrkelapire@gmail.com or message me on Twitter at @RKelapire.