On Aug. 25, Pleasanton resident and Las Positas College instructor and coach Tony Costello, 57, died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
A kinesiology instructor and the college's first basketball coach, Costello devoted his life to helping young people grow into leaders.
"Coach Costello taught me to push myself beyond my comfort zone," said former player Jarred Jourdan. "He challenged me to be a leader. I grew as a person in my last year at Las Positas."
A 1974 graduate of Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, where he played basketball for legendary coach Skip Mohatt, Costello developed a love of the game that got him hired in 1981 to coach at Dublin High School, leading the team to playoffs four times and reaching semifinals in 1983.
After six years in Dublin, Costello stepped up to the college ranks, coaching for Chabot College for 17 years. With an overall record of 250 wins to 179 losses, Costello motivated his players to qualify for regional playoffs 12 times, winning a state final in 2002 and conference championships in 2003 and 2005.
When Las Positas College stole him away in 2005 from its sister college, Chabot, Costello rolled up his sleeves and recruited a first basketball team from scratch for the Las Positas Hawks. The team made a mighty debut in 2006, smashing College of Marin 82-55.
While Costello's Las Positas teams have won 100 games to their 77 losses and made the playoffs three times, his legacy is not in scores and numbers but in the lives of the young people he inspired.
"I appreciate everything that Coach Costello has shown me," said former student Ryan Hebebrand, who now attends California State University, East Bay. "I will continue to use what I've learned in my future."
Costello is survived by wife Liane and children Kelsey, Aaron, Becca and Kyle. The family requests donations in lieu of flowers to support athletes at the college. Checks may be made payable to "LPC Foundation" and mailed to the LPC Foundation, 3000 Campus Hill Drive, Livermore, CA 94551.
Outstanding Pleasanton student: Speaking of inspired students, Las Positas College math instructor Randy Taylor asked if I had room in my column to celebrate Abigail Moore, who upon graduation from Amador Valley High School enrolled at Las Positas despite being accepted at a four-year university.
"Abigail achieved one of the most remarkable years of any Las Positas College student in recent memory," said Taylor, who served as her adviser to the college's Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society.
With achievements too lengthy to list here, Moore was named the 2013 Sandia National Laboratory and Livermore Chamber of Commerce Las Positas College Student of the Year for 2013. She also received the 2013 AGS Tom Jackson Academic/Service/Leadership Award as the top AGS Honor Society student in the entire state of California.
Congratulations to Moore, whose excellent academics earned her acceptance at UC Berkeley, where she is beginning classes.
Contact Jim Ott at firstname.lastname@example.org.