When Foothill High School's opening night football win over Castro Valley came to an end on Aug. 30, it also ended one heck of a streak for a scoreboard operator/announcer for the Falcons.
Randy Isaacs, the former Foothill basketball coach, has been part of the game-day operation in the press box for over 30 years for Foothill football.
He started working the clock/scoreboard, then announced for 20 years, before moving back to the clock, allowing me to come in and announce the football games.
A teacher at Foothill, Isaacs was as much a fixture at the Foothill football games -- albeit in a background way -- as was legendary Foothill football coach Matt Sweeney.
That the two are very good friends should come as no surprise. When they started at Foothill, it was a different era where the coaches all worked together throughout the year to boost all the teams.
The two were responsible for planting the iconic "Coaches Tree," in the middle of the Foothill quad -- a tree that should be dedicated to the two.
Isaacs worked the football games, and in turn, Sweeney would work the clock for the basketball games. When Sweeney stepped away from the basketball duties, in stepped longtime volleyball coach Dusty Collins to take over the clock duties.
Baseball coach Angelo Scavone has also been a longtime member of the tight Foothill coaching brotherhood as well.
Sweeney, who is now retired as a teacher as well as the football coach, points to one person as the architect of the "Foothill Mafia."
"I give all the credit to Tom Hansen," Sweeney said of the former basketball coach/athletic director at Foothill. "I was 23 when I came in and Tom made sure I knew it was all about family. It was 'Our Lady of Foothill.'"
I have long been on record in saying Hansen was the best athletic director I have ever seen in my 40-plus years as being part of the East Bay Athletic League in one way or another.
He always had the coaches' back and demanded they all worked together. It paid off and was evident to all the schools in the league.
"I can remember when we first started playing De La Salle and our sideline was full of alumni and coaches from the other sports," Sweeney said. "(DLS coaches Bob) Ladouceur and (Terry) Eidson would say the thing that scared them the most about Foothill was that Foothill was as close to a private school as a public school could be."
Isaacs was a central figure in that group, and it's a big loss for the football program.
I selfishly tried to persuade him to work the scoreboard one more year, as after this season I will be stepping aside from announcing and I thought it would be great to ride into the sunset together.
Isaacs and I became friends in our college years at Chico State and stayed friends as I had the privilege of covering Foothill basketball games for his tenure as the headman, including his team's run to the CIF State title game in 2000.
When I started announcing football over 10 years ago, having Isaacs sitting directly to my left in the press box made those long Friday nights enjoyable.
The give and take we had was so sharply needled at points that to the unknowing bystander it might have been startling.
From trying to trip me up while announcing with the occasional jab to being another set of eyes in picking out ball carriers and tacklers, it was tremendously fun.
We both share an affinity for horse racing and other types of sports wagering and will stay in touch, bantering over specific wagers, but the loss of his time at Foothill football games is something that won't be replaced.
It is a sign of the times as getting teachers to put their heart into their school is pretty much gone. Very few spend the time for extracurricular activities. It is not a requirement for teachers, nor should it be, but it was something that made Foothill athletics great -- the passion of the staff.
Times have changed and not for the best in that regard. Athletics will go on, but not at the same fevered pitch. Even Sweeney, who will show at some football games, has seen the change.
"That (Castro Valley game) should have been standing-room only given the last year," Sweeney said with a tint of sadness in his voice.
A lot of that goes with the closeness of the former Foothill coaching staff, their families, and the former Foothill players. Throughout the years, I have seen many of the kids of Foothill coaches grow up on the sidelines. Now it is the former players who have kids running around at games.
It was that relationship that bonded the Foothill family, and Isaacs was right in the middle of it.
Sweeney said he gets asked all the time what he misses the most at Foothill now that he is retired. I asked the same question, and his response was quick and to the point.
"I miss the camaraderie of Randy Isaacs," Sweeney said.
Thanks for the laughs and good times Big Red -- you helped make it one heck of a ride!
Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his Pleasanton Preps column, email [email protected]