Garland Lakeview Centennial boys basketball coach Tony Mauldin announced his retirement this week after 37 years of coaching at the high school and collegiate levels.
Mauldin hangs up his whistle after leading his ESPN Rise FAB 50 No. 10 Lakeview Centennial team to the state title game for the second consecutive year, where it lost to Flower Mound Marcus. He won the NFHS National Coach of the Year award.
Mauldin said he had decided to retire before this season started but wanted to wait until the season was over to make an official announcement.
“I’ve been doing this since 1971 and I’m just tired,” Mauldin said. “I just don’t have the energy and all. This class -- these guys I’ve been [with] for four years now -- it just was a good time to step away from it.”
Mauldin said reaching the title game was a bittersweet way to end his coaching career.
“Getting to Austin definitely helped but, of course, our goal was to win it all and that leaves a sour taste in your mouth not to be able to do it because I really wanted that for the kids.”
Mauldin began his coaching career at Boerne Middle and High schools -- he won a district championship his first year there. He then moved to Merkel for two years and won a a district championship there.
Mauldin’s next move would send him to Morton for nine years, where he reached the state finals six years in a row and won three state championships.
He then moved in to the college ranks, coaching at Western Texas Junior College for four years and Abilene Christian for five years. His time at ACU would lead him to Kenya, where he coached for three years, before coming back and finishing his career at Lakeview Centennial in 2003.
Mauldin took a Lakeview Centennial program with four wins the year before he arrived and turned it into a 5A powerhouse.
“To go to a 5A school and be able to build up a really great program where we’re ranked in the top 5 in the state and we’re noted as one of the best in the state and to be down at the state tournament two years in a row -- that’s my biggest highlight here at Lakeview,” Mauldin said.
Mauldin’s abilities as a coach became well known throughout the state and impacted other coaches he would face, including his 2011 state final opponent, Flower Mound Marcus' Danny Henderson.
“When I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be a coach and I watched Tony’s teams,” Henderson said before the state title game. “I idolized Tony Mauldin. I’ve become friends with Tony and he’s a coaching legend.”
Beyond any success Mauldin had on the court, he said it was the relationships he built with his players that were the highlight of his career. Many of those players whom had formed a relationship with Mauldin throughout the years reached out to him before and after what would be Mauldin’s last game on the bench.
“When I was a young coach, I didn’t understand the importance of relationships. Now, I understand the importance of telling guys daily that I love them. I think that’s the thing that we miss sometimes is the relationships we build. The championships ... it’s disappointing not to win, but the relationships you build fighting to get there, you can’t ever do without that. That’s what lasts.”
Now, Mauldin will have time to pursue another passion: helping poverty-stricken children in Kenya. Mauldin plans on raising funds to start a computer information technology trade school that will help teach those children professional skills. He said he will spend two to three months over there after this school year is over and return home to work on raising funds for the charity.
Mauldin said his assistant coach, J. T. Locklear, is currently the interim head coach at Lakeview. Mauldin has recommended that Locklear become the full-time head coach for the Patriots next year.