After growing up in Diamond Bar and finding a passion for sports, Diamond Bar High School (DBHS) math teacher, Tony McCabe, has coached two to three sports every year at various schools for the past 36 years. Currently the head varsity coach for girls golf, girls basketball and boys golf, McCabe manages to lead the three teams every day, as well maintain his algebra classes during school hours.
Since beginning his coaching career in 1983, McCabe has coached 102 seasons of sports in total, taking charge of different sports on and off throughout the years. In previous years, McCabe has also coached cross country, softball, tennis. He doesn’t find it difficult to manage all the sports because of his outstanding assistants.
“They really do everything, so if you don’t have anything to do, it’s not hard at all,” McCabe said. “My golf coaches really do a good job of doing everything there, and my basketball coaches, especially coach [Erica] Younge, are running basketball right now.”
In fact, McCabe has been a part of many first-year teams at Diamond Bar. He served as the assistant varsity coach for the first girls basketball team during the year the school opened. However, the teacher coaches the sport intermittently, only returning to replace coach Chris Holmes six years ago.
In 2004, McCabe started the girls golf program as well, as girls previously played on the boys’ team, and continues to be the sole coach for the team. That same year, McCabe was named Brahma of the Year for coaching four sports in total, freshmen football, girls and boys golf, and basketball, on top of teaching six classes.
McCabe grew interested in sports during his childhood years, when he played sports with friends after school nearly every day. He was a 1978 graduate of Walnut High School, where he played baseball and was the varsity captain of the basketball team. Then, he earned his bachelor of science in Physical Education from Cal State Fullerton. At Fullerton, McCabe unofficially played basketball as a “walk-on” player, often competing against athletes at the collegiate level. Because of his interest in and dedication to coaching, McCabe pursued the study, switching from mathematics. He received his Masters in Education from Azusa Pacific and has taught mathematics at DBHS for 29 years.
“Everybody asks you, ‘you must coach for the kids.’ Yes, I like kids; I’m a teacher. But I do like sports and competition. I’m almost addicted to it. The reason I do three sports is because I can’t stand to wait for the next season.”
When Diamond Bar High first opened in 1982, McCabe was already coaching freshman football, alongside Denis Paul, past, and current interim, principal. The team won its first 25 games, and was undefeated for two and a half years. Despite his success in football, the coach turned to tennis, where he oversaw the girls junior varsity team go undefeated for over 250 games, the longest of all sports in DBHS history.
Later, McCabe coached junior varsity boys tennis for several years with retired coach David Hamel and also coached varsity and junior varsity softball.
“The most basic is the ABC’s. I coach it to every team… always be on time, always bring your stuff, and care about your team.”
To develop his coaching skills, McCabe attended thousands of hours of clinics, watching and listening to well-known basketball coaches. He also talked to his idol, legendary UCLA coach John Wooden, and now models his coaching technique after Wooden’s.
“I’m a student of coaching. Still am. I surround myself with expert. If I’m not good at it, I get someone who is to be right next to me.”