January 27 marked a sad day in many lives as legendary Coach Tony Zane passed away. Coach Zane was a brilliant football coach for Baldwin Park High School.
Overall, Coach Zane was more than a football coach. He created many friendships and cared about all his players. Ty Pagone, former head football coach for Baldwin Park High School, stated, “He was a good friend and brilliant football coach. He was good with people, good to kids.” Pagone and Zane attended high school at St. John Vianney High School in Los Angeles, and they both went on to create a football powerhouse at Baldwin Park High School.
During his early years at Baldwin Park High School, he was an offensive coordinator for the Coach Pagone. After Pagone became asssistant principal, Zane became head coach. He led Baldwin Park High School to new heights as a head coach and offensive coordinator with 47 playoff wins, 16 league championships, and two CIF titles. Coach Zane was recognized as an offensive genius with the way he created plays and his strategy to attack every defense.
Former BPHS head football coach, James Heggins played for Coach Zane and was a part of Baldwin Park’s 1991 CIF-SS title team. Heggins went on to coach and it was thanks to Coach Zane who gave him the opportunity. Heggins stated, “A great man who gave me my first coaching job when I probably didn’t deserve it.” Heggins continued the tradition of success for the football team at Baldwin Park High School. In addition, Heggins learned a lot from Coach Zane as a player, as he said, “The talent he knew how to bring out of kids, the drive he instilled in us, the pride of being a part of something that was bigger than us all.”
Robert Hertenstein, Baldwin Park High School government and psychology teacher, knew Coach Zane for 25 years. Herstenstien reflected back to the time when he would spend lunches with Zane in the athletic department office and enjoyed Zane’s humor. Herstenstein stated, “He was one of the good guys on this planet and he will surely be missed.” Coach Zane was a huge part of the community and was respected throughout this valley. Herstenstein continued to say, “The Braves community coming together over a guy who was just a head and shoulders above the rest and leader in this valley, and for a couple generations of people, he will be missed.”
Tony Zane was more than just a coach. He built friendships that lasted over years and did not just coach players, but cared and wanted nothing but the best for each individual. Baldwin Park High School will definitely miss its coach, leader, and most importantly its friend.