If you want all the statistics on the coaching career of the Riverside-Brookfield High School boys basketball coach you go to the sports section of this paper or go online for the details, but if you want to know other details about Tom McCloskey you read this column.
Tom, is what you might label a “local boy who made good” who grew up in North Riverside and attended the now-closed Mater Christi School. At the time he was a student there classrooms held as many as 40 students. He was remembered as a good kid by his teachers and fellow classmates.
Fast forward to 2017. Tom McCloskey is retiring after 21 years as the RBHS boys basketball coach. In those 21 years he has built teams, not only made up of basketball players but teams of friends, many of whom were present at the school on Friday night to congratulate him.
Former teachers, friends, relatives, past students, and colleagues from Hauser Junior High and RBHS watched as McCloskey humbly thanked all who had come to wish him well and take part in the presentation made by District 208 Superintendent Kevin Skinkis.
What moved me was the reception following the game in the school’s Alumni Lounge. After making some brief statements, McCloskey, watched a video presentation featuring comments and reflections from past and present players.
Watching Tom standing there alone viewing the presentation, I can only imagine that it was at those moments that he was able to realize that he had been more than a basketball coach to so many, molding their skills on the court and giving them lessons in life. He had been doing that not only at RBHS, but other schools where he been a teacher/coach; something to reflect on.
McCloskey, who is married to MaryJo and the father of Dan, Maggie and Mollie, has also been named an Illinois Basketball Coaches Association District Coach of the Year, and was inducted in 2016 into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Now McCloskey can sit back and enjoy one of my favorite sport times of the year, March Madness. You deserve a little rest after all those free throws, layups and, oops, turnovers. See you around town, Tom. You’re not retired, just starting another phase of life. Congratulations on a job well done.