After two years as an assistant coach for the Butte College Roadrunners, Tom Powers took over the reins at College of the Siskiyous in 1981 and led the women to a Golden Valley Conference title. He'd go on to win 17 more GVC championships.
When College of the Siskiyous women’s head basketball coach Tom Powers got his 900 win earlier this season, he was asked if he wanted to coach long enough to reach the 1000-win milestone.
He seemed doubtful about the prospect, reckoning that it “it would take five more good years.” He paused, and then added, “but you never know.”
Now we do know. Powers announced his retirement last Wednesday night before the Eagles first-round state playoff game against De Anza College.
He said that he is retiring from COS on May 25. Besides coaching hoops, he is the head volleyball coach, as well as a Physical Education – Kinesiology instructor.
“It’s been a great 38 years,” he said in a text message after the squad lost Saturday to top seed San Joaquin Delta College in a second-round game to end the season.
In his career, he has been no stranger to championships. He was an all Northern Section selection in his senior year at Pleasant Valley High School in Chico. Powers then helped lead Butte College to two-state community college championships during which they went 58-1.
After two years as an assistant coach for the Roadrunners, he took over the reins at COS in 1981 and led the women to a Golden Valley Conference title. He’d go on to win 17 more GVC championships.
Most recently he took the 2017 Eagle women to the Community College state championship game, and this season saw a streak of seven consecutive GVC titles come to an end.
Powers was the only still-active coach named to the California Community College Hall of Fame, and in 1999 he was selected the California Women’s Junior College coach of the year.
His fondest coaching memory came when he took over coaching both men’s and women’s teams at Butte College. The men were coming off two seasons where they had only one win. Powers led them to a GVC title.
He made it to the state finals four times, most astoundingly in 2017 when COS, a school of about a thousand full-time students, beat East L.A. and Palomar, schools with 8,000 students, and lost in the finals to 10,500 student strong Mt. San Antonio College.
Powers won’t be spending his retirement reclining in a La Z Boy. He’ll be touring with his masters basketball team with games in Australia, Orlando, Florida and San Diego on the agenda.
In his final home game, his team honored him with a playoff win over De Anza. Down to five remaining able-bodied players, the Eagle women routed the Mountain Lions 84-59 for Powers’ 908th win.
COS will name his replacement on Wednesday.