I had the privilege of not only being a member of Coach Costello's team at Chabot College, but I had the greater privilege of knowing Tony, off the court.
You'd search your entire life looking for a single soul on this planet who had anything negative to say about Tony as a Coach or Tony as the down to Earth man who would help anyone before thinking of himself.
When I think of Tony, the Coach and the Man, I think of an old quote from Gandhi in the early part of the 20th century, “The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
It's as if Gandhi looked into the future and was commenting on Coach Costello, knowing he would begin his services to others in his early 20's, when most that age are out fooling around -- looking out for no one but themselves.
Luckily for us who knew Tony the Coach and Tony the Man, I am positive we all have numerous stories or conversations we can recall from either an intensely satisfying 3 hour practice, endless sprints on the track, drills in the pool and most importantly, words of advice and encouragement that would serve to far outweigh the skills we learned from a pure basketball perspective.
Anyone who lives in this area or was associated with basketball knows that Coach was one of the well known Costello family members. In this area, they are probably the name most think of when they associate a name to local basketball. I can't speak for all of the family, but I know Coach Tom, had him as a Coach both at AVHS and at Chabot during my short time there. It's easy to see the impact Tony had on his brother and Tom is no doubt going to continue the "Coach Costello" crown for many years to come.
Plus, I still remember my Senior yeah at AVHS and we were playing Foothill for the first time at their gym. How much of a basketball family are the Costello's? Let's just say my sole thought going into that game was to shut down this little scrawny Freshman named E.J. Costello. Did I succeed? I honestly don't remember (probably not then!). In true Costello form, E.J. went on to be a 4 year varsity starter and break the EBAL scoring record. As fate would have it, where did he end up playing immediately out of high school? Yep, with Uncle & Coach Costello, continuing on to a great college career.
I can only image how happy Coach Costello must have been of his Nephew and if you asked E.J., he would no doubt tell you that his Uncle had a HUGE impact on his basketball success.
You'll be missed Coach and I am sorry I was out of the country when I learned of your passing. I'll always have you in my heart and I'll carry the advice you gave me to my grave -- and forget the basketball advice, I'm talking about the life advice a man like you gives to a 18-19 year old who was trying to find his way.
See you on the other side Coach,