After battling cancer for over a year, Las Positas College Men’s Basketball Coach Tony Costello has passed awayWill Tanner A&E Editor (Photo courtesy of Alton Richardson)
Las Positas College men’s basketball coach Tony Costello died Sunday at age 57, succumbing to a bout of pancreatic cancer.
His death was confirmed in an e-mail sent early Monday morning from interim LPC President Guy Lease. The news sent shock waves through campus as Costello’s passing was unexpected this soon.
There will be two funeral services. The first at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29, at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Pleasanton. Then on Saturday, Aug. 31, a Celebration of Life service will begin at 2 p.m. in the Las Positas College Sports Complex.
Costello sat out most of last season when it was first discovered he had pancreatic cancer. He returned to the bench with four games left in the 2012-13 campaign.
Costello appeared to be back to his old self. He spent most of the summer on campus, recruiting and running workouts, preparing for the coming season. But on Aug. 19, he went home — after nearly a full day’s schedule — because he wasn’t feeling well. Then on Aug. 22, he told athletic director Dyan Miller he was taking a leave of absence, which The Express first reported.
According to sources in the physical education department, it was suspected Costello’s health had deteriorated to a grave degree. He died early on Aug. 25.
“Nobody knew we were at that point,” swim coach Jason Craighead said. “A month, two months, three months. We just knew it wasn’t going to be long. But 5 or 6 days, it just blows everybody’s mind around here.”
As the first Men’s Basketball coach at Las Positas College, Costello built the program from the ground up starting at its founding in 2005. He amassed a career record of 100-77 at Las Positas, leading the Hawks to the playoffs three times. His team went to the Sweet 16 in 2012.
Costello had been a fixture of East Bay basketball for many years. Beginning his coaching career as an assistant at Amador Valley High in Pleasanton, he became coach at Dublin High School in 1981. He coached at Chabot College for 17 years, compiling a 250-179 career record and sending 15 players to play Division I basketball.
“He challenged me to be a leader,” Jarred Jordan, who played for Costello, told The Express last September. “I grew as a person in my last year at Las Positas.”