Miramontes retired basketball coach Tom Blackwood was larger than life
You're listening to the spoken edition of the San Francisco Chronicle. The San Francisco symphony proudly presents a new season of feature films with live orchestra featuring Jurassic Park law land, Mary Poppins and more. Visit SF symphony dot org slash film for details and information. Miramonte as retired basketball. Coach Tom Blackwood was larger than life about thirty. Former Miramonte tame male basketball players ages thirty to fifty showed up for open gym at their alma mater, intervene data on Friday night. They weren't there to play Hines or relive glory days. Instead, they ran the Olympic drill three men weaves, and the famed Mira Monte muscle layup line after two hours the last thing, these professional sorts with impressive degrees and young families. Did was gathering a circle, but their hands together up high and in unison bellowed one two three together. It was just like they did as high school players every day after school after each practice each time out each game for their team for their school for each other for their coach Tom Blackwood coach thirty eight varsity seasons. Nineteen sixty five to two thousand three and racked up six league titles. A north coast section crown in nineteen ninety eight and six. Hundred thirty eight victories, the six most in state history at the time of his retirement. He was a fiery passionate and personal sort who wore his heart on his sweat suit. Adored his players in the game and worked relentlessly and meticulously at his craft last month. Blackwood died from complications from pneumonia following Panama Canal, spring cruise one of the bay area's most respected basketball coaches was eighty one. The public is invited to pay respects at Blackwood from two to six PM Sunday in a celebration for life at the Claremont hotel on Friday, his former players celebrated their coach and mentor at his second home, the hardwood. It wasn't the prettiest basketball. But we were all there together to honor him said blackwoods oldest son Justin a two time all league player. Most of the guys have very busy lives. So to be their mental lot coach Blackwood meant so much to Chris Kunar, a nineteen Eighty-six all northern California forward who is now a lawyer in Oakland. He loved being a coach it was what he was born to do Kunar said. He was the best in game. Coach I was ever part of he constantly outcoached. Other teams we always exceeded our limitations because of him his team invariably prepared just in Blackwood often would join his dad's scouting teams even against opponents. The matadors were supposed to beat handily. He always respected his opponent. And always had us prepared. Justin said it was a labor of love. He always told me how much he loved going to work just inside. It wasn't just an act he genuinely loved to coach and teach. He never went through the motions Blackwood was born and raised in San Francisco, but moved to other ten he was the three sport star at Menlo Atherton and inducted into the school's hall of fame as an athlete. He was also inducted into Miramonte as I hall of fame class two years ago. Besides his big personality. It was the little things that made him. So successful Kunar said like filling out longhand every scoresheet every game. He total up our averages. And we know exactly where we stood. He did bring on Doug sense to be a score. Keeper in the early. Nineteen seventies sends a former aquatic athlete at Miramonte new little about basketball for the first couple of years. He wouldn't let me right in the names in the books and said after three years, he finally let me I knew I had finally made it in the eyes of Tom Blackwood. The two were inseparable over the next thirty years. Tom was larger than life sent said he was everything you wanted in a coach he cared about all his players as individuals far away from the court. That's a big reason why he got the best out of kids as athletes he genuinely cared not just for his team either. He worked with kids from all over that was backed by coaches throughout the bay area. He was the class guy who always had kind word or was willing to help said NCIS assistant Commissioner Pat creek shank who coached at San Leandro, inheritance, Brentwood, said former Half Moon bay and reorder head coach rich fours, lend always gracious retirement at I was tough Blackwood was seen. Almost every big game around the bay area. But ultimately left that circle to travel the world with girlfriend, Jerry Owings the last decade of his life. They were reunited at his fiftieth. Menlo Atherton class reunion. He lived life to the fullest Kunar said he lived the life we dreamed. He was the spice of life, max prep, senior writer Mitch Stevens covers high school sports for the San Francisco Chronicle. The San Francisco symphony proudly presents a new season of feature films with live orchestra featuring Jurassic Park law land, Mary Poppins and more. Visit SF symphony dot org slash film for details and information.