By Ian C. Beck ’12
For more than three decades Mr. Tom Succow has been Brophy’s varsity
baseball head coach, a position he regards with honor.
“In my 34 years as a head coach here … I’ve never thought that this has been a right of mine to wear a Brophy uniform; it’s a privilege for me and still to this very day it’s still a privilege to me to represent the school and wear the uniform,” Mr. Succow said.
Mr. Succow arrived at Brophy in 1976 when he served as an assistant coach on the junior varsity baseball team. He then held the position of junior varsity head coach in 1977 before being promoted to varsity head coach in 1978.
He has also taught English and is currently a college counselor.
In his years as coach, Mr. Succow has complied more than 600 wins and his experience around the game has had an impact on many of his players.
Senior outfielder and pitcher Joe Maggi ’11 said he truly appreciates his coach’s familiarity with the game.
“Some kids sometimes question what he’s talking about but you just have to remember how he’s been around it, he understands it, it’s not his first time around,” Maggi said. “He runs some things with USA baseball so obviously the guy knows what he’s talking about and on the field it shows.”
Mr. Succow said it was his own high school coaches who inspired him to take up coaching.
“I know how much my high school coaches meant to me … how much an influence they (had on) my life and I think coaching is a great way to model for young people elements such as character and integrity,” he said.
When asked about his favorite memories and experiences as head coach, Mr. Succow said he enjoys stepping onto the practice field every day.
“I’m a firm believer that practice is for coaches and the games are for the players,” he said. “When I stop enjoying going out on the field I’ll stop coaching.”
A specific memorable moment in Mr. Succow’s tenure came in 2006 when the Broncos captured the state title.
“That was kind of special not because we necessarily won the state title, that was fun doing that for the school, but it was the type of young men who were on that team,” he said.
Mr. Succow said every player who comes through the program has a special place in his heart and that when he sees the kind of people his former players have become, he is in awe of the fact that he got to work with them.
Alumni of the Brophy baseball team play for Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Trinity University, University of Utah and University of San Diego to name a few.
Mr. Succow recently attended a game between ASU and UofA and watched six former players (four on Arizona State and two on Arizona) face off.
“It’s such a thrill for me to sit in the stands and watch them perform and realize how much of a big part of my life they’ve played,” he said.
In addition to his players, Mr. Succow said his assistant coaches have had a great impact on him.
“I’ve had just tremendous assistant coaches over the years who I’ve learned so much from,” he said. “I’m so blessed in that regard.”
One of those assistant coaches is Mr. Patrick Higgins, who has worked with Mr. Succow for nine years.
Mr. Higgins called Mr. Succow a great role model and an excellent coach who is patient, persistent and positive.
During his time working with Mr. Succow, Mr. Higgins said he has learned to watch how Mr. Succow manages different people, personalities and the stress of a head coaching job.
Mr. Higgins also said he is impressed with how well Mr. Succow prepares his players for playing Division I college baseball.
As a high school coach, Mr. Succow thinks the most important thing is to groom his players to play the game the right way so that they will know how to conduct themselves in stressful situations off the field and later in life.
“No matter what the outcome of the game is, (playing) the game with character and with integrity, I think that’s far more important in high school that winning state titles, than winning baseball games,” he said.
When asked to describe himself from the view of a player, Mr. Succow said he hopes his players think of him as a man who cares about their well-being.
“I would think that Tom Succow is a person who really cares about the individual, cares about winning and cares about executing the plays, developing the skills of the player but more importantly cares about me as a person,” he said.
Maggi attests to the fact that it’s the person, not the player, who matters most to Mr. Succow.
“He doesn’t just care about you only as a baseball player, but he cares about you as a student as well and he cares about you and how you’re doing in the community, not just on the baseball field,” Maggi said.