As he sits in his office watching film of the team’s most recent game, LPC men’s basketball head coach Tony Costello is happy just to be alive.
“Things aren’t 100 percent normal, but for the most part, it’s more normal than last semester,” Costello said. “It feels good to be back on campus interacting with the students and staff.”
The summer of 2012 changed Costello’s life forever. A visit to the doctor to check on a mild stomach pain turned into a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. This obviously put a hold on his career at LPC and his life, but Costello has stayed strong and battled his way back onto campus.
“The doctors deserve all the credit for helping me get back here,” Costello said.
Costello is back on campus teaching his various Kinesiology and Physical Education classes. This is a welcome sight on campus compared to last semester when Costello was virtually nonexistent due to the treatment he was receiving.
He is still going to chemotherapy for two more weeks. Doctors will then decide if he needs to go through radiation for a couple more months. One thing is clear: Costello is in much better shape than he was in the summer, when he was dangerously skinny.
“I’ve gained the 35 pounds I lost back, and then some,” Costello joked. “I’ve gained back more than I think I want right now. I have just been working out and trying to get more active.”
All of LPC is happy to see coach Costello back on campus, perhaps none more than LPC Athletics Director Dyan Miller.
“It’s great to see him doing well,” Miller said. “It was shocking when we found out about it, but knowing the type of guy he is, I knew he would get through it.”
Costello has been gone, but the basketball team has had to go on. Assistant coach Ward Farris has been faced with the task of taking over Costello’s position on an interim basis. Although the team has not gotten many wins, Costello is pleased with the way Farris has handled the team.
“He’s really done a remarkable job. He’s kept the team positive and has the team playing hard and buying into the system,” Costello said. “It was a difficult situation to step into and he’s done remarkably well.”
On top of having to replace Costello as head coach, Farris has had to do so with a completely different team from last year’s playoff team. There is only one returning player from last season on this squad.
While Costello is not able to coach the team on a day-to-day basis, he is still around the team and recruiting players for next year. As for whether or not he will be able to return to the bench as the coach of the Hawks next season, Costello remains optimistic but noncommittal.
“I’ll make that decision later on depending on the progress and test results,” Costello said. “But as of right now I am looking forward to returning next season.”
For the backstory, click here.