Caleb Theodore has taken the reins of the women’s basketball team for the Las Positas Hawks. This is Theodore’s first year as a head coach, but his experience in the sport more than affirms his claim to the position. Just three years ago, Theodore was flourishing overseas as a pro player. Now, he is using his wisdom to coach up-and-coming athletes.
Theodore, a Modesto native, attended Big Valley Christian College Prep from 2006-2010, where he made his mark on the area with high level play.
Caleb would move on to play collegiately at William Jessup University, where he graduated in 2016 with his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. While his passion for basketball is remarkable, education has never taken a backseat for coach Theodore.
“There is value in knowledge, and it lasts much longer than your knees will on the court,” Theodore said.
After playing at William Jessup, Caleb landed a professional gig playing in Montenegro for team Tara Basket from 2019-2020. There, Theodore won league wide Newcomer of the month in Oct. 2019. This made Caleb the first graduate from Big Valley Christian College Prep to play basketball professionally.
There were no signs of stopping for Caleb, coming off a great season and preparing to play in Australia with hopes of earning a long-term spot. Unfortunately, Theodore wasn’t immune to the life-altering consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“So I was heading to Australia as a player, just coming off a very good season in Montenegro. I had won Newcomer of the Month in October, and my agent and I were basically locked in, ready to go. March 18, 2020, was when I was supposed to leave. March 10, 2020, was when the international shutdown happened, and that’s when I found out that many places weren’t welcoming outsiders because of the state of the world at that time,” Theodore said.
He continued, “I immediately knew that if I couldn’t play anymore, my backup plan was using my mind, so I had to go back to school to get my Master’s…So was I expecting the abrupt shift to happen as fast as it did? No. But just like anything else in life, you can never really time it.”
From there, it would be a slow grind. Theodore didn’t just jump from pro-hooper to head coach. Prior to coaching full-time, Theodore served as a graduate assistant at the University of the Pacific and then as an assistant coach at California State East Bay.
Theodore credits his coaching prowess to working under people like Coach Bradley Davis at the University of the Pacific and Coach Shanelle Styres at California State East Bay, who now coaches at California Polytechnic State University.
“That, as a coach, taught me and educated me on a lot of things. Being able to work with high-level players and minds made a big difference for me,” Theodore said.
He continued, “Being a head coach demands more responsibility from you. As a graduate assistant, I had more of an operational role on the staff. It’s different when you have a job as a head coach. You’re responsible for every single person that wears a jersey and represents the school. You’re responsible for the coaches you hire and ensuring that you get everything done according to your higher-ups. So it’s just way more responsibility.”
Theodore earned his master’s degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration just one year ago, but he didn’t stop there. Now, he is working towards his second master’s degree from Concordia University Irvine in Exercise Science. If all of that wasn’t enough, he has also dived into a Ph.D. candidacy program at the United States Sports Academy for a doctoral degree in Sports Management.
Theodore has high hopes for his inaugural season as a head coach. “Everybody’s calling it a start-up year, and they’re writing it off as that, but we have a special group of girls here. When they all put it together, they can do a lot of great things, and I do think they can make an impact on this league,” Theodore said.
Both college educated and incredibly savvy in his field of expertise, Theodore will use those resources as the season unveils. His journey will begin on November 2, when his squad will take on San Jose City College for their first regular season game.
Mason Newbould is a staff writer for The Express.