The game is on and fans are cheering as the home team dribbles the ball on the court named after a remarkable former coach. The late Tony Costello, head coach of the Hawks’ men’s basketball team in its early years, has his name on the Las Positas court.
Costello left behind a winning record in college basketball and it started when he coached at Chabot College. He began as an assistant coach for three years and then took up the high mantle for another 14 years.
Under Costello’s coaching years at Chabot, the teams have gone 250-179 overall and made the regional playoffs 12 times. In addition, Costello led the team to the Elite Eight in 2002, two conference championships in 2003 and 2005 and the Sweet 16 in 2006.
Even off the court, 15 of his players went to play at Division I schools and another 33 at Division II schools.
It was in 2005 that LPC unveiled its new basketball program and named Costello their first ever coach. Costello had the experiences of a winning coach and building a team from the ground up.
Costello’s commitment to basketball was immeasurable during his tenure. Staying late to study film or prepare for the next game, he set the bar for the program.
Students, players and faculty remember Costello for taking the game seriously while also doing what he can to help others. Costello pushed the team out of their comfort zone to become better in many aspects, on and off the court.
Everything seemed right for Costello and the Hawks squad. Until an unfortunate time, in 2012, when Costello was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after experiencing stomach pains.
Costello pushed through to be present on campus while undergoing chemotherapy treatments. He wasn’t present on the court for his team in 2012-13 until the last four games of the season. Their record without him courtside was 6-21.
It was the following offseason that Costello tried recruiting a team in its rebuilding stage after a losing season. However, he had to leave campus and spend his final moments around his family until he passed on August 25, 2013.
Reading about the accomplishments and the impact he left behind, basketball or not, was impressive to me. Costello presented himself as a role model, a good person and a passionate coach.
It’s no wonder why the court bared his name in the following year after his passing. He grew LPC basketball and helped establish a good core from the beginning.
It’s 2022, almost nine years since Costello’s passing at age 57. While he isn’t physically here for the team, he is likely watching over its recent accomplishments.
In the Hawks’ recent years, under head coach James Giacomazzi, the team has made playoff appearances every year. The exception being the 2019-20 postseason, due to the pandemic.
The Hawks have been one of the top ranking teams under Giacomazzi and I’d think Costello is proud that Las Positas has a head coach whose character is similar to his. Someone who is a role model, has the winning mentality and is supportive of his players just like he was.
Costello would be pleased to know that the program he jumpstarted made it to the Elite Eight. Costello only had such an accomplishment at Chabot, but he built a winning culture at Las Positas nonetheless.
This postseason ended in a 77-64 loss to West LA, but this season has proven to be nothing short of outstanding for the Hawks. After a 25-3 regular season record and reaching the Elite Eight, the Hawks had their best season to date.
It’s safe to say the Hawks have revived its winning and supportive culture. They play hard and defend the court that’s named after the coach that started it all.
Gibran Beydoun is a staff writer for The Express. Follow him @Gibran580MSCM.