Syracuse defensive lineman Louis Gachelin’s lives, breathes, sleeps, dreams, eats and digests sports.
It’s been like that ever since he was born – perhaps even before.
His father, Frank Gachelin played football for Army. His uncle, Francis Gachelin, played football for Miami. His mother, Maggie Gachelin played soccer in high school.
“My family is a very competitive family,” Gachelin said. “Everyone’s always trying to outdo each other.”
That was certainly be the case last week when Gachelin’s brother, Elvis Dumervil and the Louisville Cardinals rolled into town.
While Dumervil, also a defensive tackle, never lined up directly from Gachelin, their performances were compared to one another’s.
Of course, when brother squared off against brother, it was no-win situation for Gachelin’s parents.
“I’m just going to root for them to do well,” Maggie said.
When friends and family of the Gachelins showed up, they dressed half in Louisville clothes, half in Syracuse.
Still, Frank had already picked his side.
“I’m going to root for Syracuse,” Frank said. “Louis is a senior. It’s his last year.” Though Gachelin and Elvis were on opposite sides of the field for the first time, it likely won’t be the last time Gachelin faces off against his brother.
After all, the Gachelin’s are known for breeding athletes.
Gachelin has nine brothers and two sisters. All of them are athletically competitive in one way or another. All of them excel at their sport.
Gachelin’s brother, Rocky, a junior in high school, has bucked the trend of football in the Gachelin household and has decided to focus on basketball this year. He scored 29 points a game last year and is looking at Michigan and Georgetown.
Another younger brother, Andy, a senior in high school, is deciding between Louisville and Syracuse.
The decision to play sports comes at a young age with the Gachelins.
Case and point; Uriel Gachelin. Born on Aug. 1 of last year, Uriel has already started to train for sports.
“In his crib is a little baby football,” Gachelin said.
Though Gachelin’s family may be competitive, they’re also family oriented – Frank and Maggie’s phone rings constantly, with news from their sons.
Most of the time, Frank is critical with his sons, especially when things are going well.
“You could be winning but a lot, but those are the things that could come to bite you two games from now,” Frank said. “You’re more of a critic when you watch your kid play. You see all of what they’re doing wrong.”
But things were different last year when the Orangemen struggled.
The calls came frequently, but this time, the voice on the opposite line was shaky and subdued.
“Daddy, what did I do wrong?” Gachelin would say.
“After they lost, I’m wasn’t hard with him,” Frank said. “After a loss, the coach is going to be hard to begin with.”
Besides, Frank said, he didn’t have the answers for his son.
Instead, Frank preached patience and told Gachelin to stick with his teammates.
“We emphasize a lot of team success,” Frank said. “With team success comes individual success. You have a lot more fun when you’re in a locker room that’s happy.”
That patience seems to have paid off this season as the Orangemen seems poised to make a turnaround from last year’s horrible defensive effort. With new leadership and a different attitude, Syracuse seems on the right track.
“We have the talent here,” Gachelin said. “We just need to play well.”
Gachelin will be an important part of the resurrection of the Syracuse program.
Last year, Gachelin was one of the few bright spots on the defense, leading Syracuse in sacks (8.5), tackles for loss (17) and quarterback hurries (10) while being named to the All Big East second team.
This year, Gachelin will not only be called upon for his performance on the field, but also the locker room.
“We’ve got some real experience on the line with Louis,” Syracuse head coach Paul Pasqualoni said. “He’ll be an outstanding leader.”
“Louis’ best asset is his leadership,” Frank said. “Right now, you’ll hear it from me first, Syracuse is going to surprise a lot of people this year.”
Part of Frank’s optimism comes from what the Orangemen did during the offseason.
“When you get beat and had the kind of season you had, is to go back on start over,” Pasqualoni said. “We went back and there isn’t one technique, one fundamental that we didn’t go over.”
Regardless of how well the Orangemen do this year, sports only play a part of Gachelin’s life. Since an early age, mother Maggie Gachelin preached the power of an education to Gachelin.
“They need to have a double major so they have something to fall back on,” Maggie said. “You can’t come back home with an empty hand.”
Gachelin has heeded his mother’s advice and currently majors in information management and technology and also has pursued acting.
Gachelin’s love for acting is apparent when one sees his extensive movie collection, which includes a broad range of movies from as recent as Analyze That (2002) to Taxi Driver (1976). Both movies star his favorite actor, Robert De Niro.
“I just appreciate good acting,” Gachelin said. “I have all of his movies.”
Gachelin eventually wants to do some acting of his own.
“I’m leaning towards the WWF,” Gachelin said.
“He loves to act,” Frank said. “He’s got a flair for the dramatic.”
When asked what his wrestling nickname would be, Gachelin responded, “diesel.”
The adjective describes him to a tee. Gachelin is renowned for his prowess in the weight room, as his bench reps are known to top 600 pounds.
“Everyone knows about his freakish strength,” Rich Scanlon said.
That strength helped Gachelin record five tackles in the season opener against North Carolina in a 49-47 win.
Though Gachelin had a positive day, he responded to questions about his success in the way that he was brought up.
“It was solid, but not where it should be,” Gachelin said.
Just like dad would’ve said.
This article ran in the October 2003 edition of The Juice.