New Las Positas College women’s basketball coach Caleb Theodore describes being hired as a college head coach for the first time as a “blessing, 100 percent.”
The enthusiastic Theodore comes to the Hawks after enjoying a highly successful season as first assistant coach for the Cal State East Bay women’s team, which advanced to the NCAA Division II West Region Final, had a 24-3 overall mark and won the CCAA Tournament title. The Pioneers were 15-1 in conference play.
“In our minds he was a slam-dunk hire,” said Las Positas athletic director James Giacomazzi of Theodore, a Modesto native who has played professionally in Montenegro and Australia.
Theodore has made a good first impression in Livermore by showing up early and staying late.
“He’s got a lot of work to do and he’s been doing it,” Giacomazzi raved. “He’s in the office every day; he’s out in the community recruiting like crazy. He’s really active in social media. He’s done a good job of getting some early commitments already while still working on the roster.”
The Hawks women’s basketball program needs a quick jump-start after having been sidelined over the previous two seasons. The 2020-21 season was lost due to the Covid pandemic, and the 2021-22 campaign was canceled for the Hawks after former head coach Clarence Morgan retired.
Theodore says his primary goal is to “empower young women through the sport of basketball.”
“It’s very significant to me knowing that I can still be in the East Bay Area in Alameda County (at Las Positas) and still be able to make an impact in the community and in the lives of these young athletes. I’ve got some incredible women that I have the opportunity to work with,” he says.
Previous to his work at Cal State East Bay, Theodore was a graduate assistant with the University of the Pacific women’s team, in 2020-21, running the Tigers scout team and assisting with player development of guards and posts. He worked with the likes of Valerie Higgins, a third-round draft pick (25th overall) with the WNBA New York Liberty.
Theodore is finishing his second master’s degree from Concordia University in Irvine, in Exercise Science (fall, 2022); and will be starting his PHD Candidacy program at the United States Sports Academy (USSA) for a doctoral degree in Sports Management with an emphasis in Exercise Science, Coaching and Title IX.
He also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at William Jessup University, where he played as a guard-forward. He also has 16 years coaching experience with the Modesto Basketball Academy, and was an assistant for the boys team at Gregori High in Modesto, among other Central Valley coaching jobs.
Though he was not signed professionally right after college basketball, that didn’t stop Theodore. From 2017-2019, he went to international showcases in Germany and Ukraine to get exposure and land with a team. He performed well, networked, and hooked on with Montenegro, where he was named Basketball Association of Montenegro Newcomer of the Month in October 2019, also making history as the first Big Valley Christian College Prep (Modesto) graduate to play pro basketball.
That spurred more opportunities. His agent marketed him across numerous countries and he received six offers before settling on Australia. But as fate would have it, the international Covid shutdown of 2020 abruptly ended his season, so he went back to school and got his master’s degree.
How did he land with UOP as a relative unknown? With lots of uncertainty at programs across the country during the pandemic, Theodore took a proactive approach. He emailed teams at all 32 Division I conferences across the country and honed in on more familiar turf, California’s vast array of Division I, II, III, NAIA, and junior college programs.
“I ended up getting up to 752 emails, and Bradley (Davis, UOP’s head coach) gave me a chance.”
He received another opportunity at Cal State East Bay under then-head coach Shanele Stires, who was hired at Cal Poly in April 2022. Among his many tasks with the Pioneers were recruiting, scouting, film, and strength & conditioning. A dream season followed for the Pioneers.
“She (Stires) gave me a chance and we made history last year, and the rest is history,” Theodore said.
He wants to show his new Hawks’ players that they are capable of reaching the mountaintop themselves.
Giacomazzi appreciates that Theodore has “a lot of energy … He’s always doing something to try to advance the program … He’s doing a great job.”
* Theodore took a step forward by hiring former Hawks player Ashley Hart as an assistant coach.
“She’s great,” Giacomazzi said of Hart. “She knows the lay of the land having played for Clarence and been a part of Las Positas, and now coming back on the coaching side. It’s really exciting for her too.”
* In other news, Las Positas is set to hire a new women’s volleyball coach to fill that vacant position. Expect an announcement soon.