Coach Palumbo: off the court
November 17, 2011
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Tom Palombo. Guilford men’s basketball coach of nine years. 163-66 record at Guilford. Guilford College Athletics Director. Husband. Father. Mentor. Quite a resume, right?
But wait, I’m not finished.
In addition to the above-named accolades and responsibilities, Palombo must prepare his team through games and practices throughout the week and on Saturdays. He attends church on Sundays, and then rests for a couple hours before going back to work.
On Sunday afternoon, Tom and his assistant coaches break down game film so they can prepare the team for the
week. As you can see, Palombo’s schedule and duties often calls for him to be in the office seven days a week.
But Palombo isn’t just a busy man at work, he’s a family man at home as well. He is involved and enthusiastic in his children’s lives, which is another full-time job.
He has four children, ages four, six, nine and eleven. The two eldest are girls and the two youngest are boys. The four of them are involved in a countless amount of activities, including hockey, soccer and gymnastics.
“My parents always put me first,” said Palombo in an email interview. “My wife Amy always puts our kids needs above hers and makes a tremendous sacrifice for our family. Because of the long hours I work, I don’t get to spend much time with the kids. I try to make the time I do have with them special.
“I want to be there for them and guide them along the way and share my experiences with them,” he said.
So what does the hardest working man in Division III do to have a moment to himself?
Golf is his downtime.
“It’s my one little thing I like to do,” Palombo said.
Guilford’s Vice-President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Aaron Fetrow has been Tom’s golf partner for the past six years.
”Tom and I started our friendship in 2005 because we were working here, but also because we both love to golf,” Fetrow said. “He’s an intense competitor. He always wants to have something on the line and he wants to win….another piece about him that I have so much respect for is that while he’s so intense, really the base of Tom is integrity. I think his players really look at him as a father figure and a mentor…they have a lot of respect for him.”
Tom’s players are indeed very lucky to have a coach that isn’t all about basketball.
“I think they understand that we are just trying to make them better and prepare them for life after basketball,” Palombo said. ”I believe my players want to be successful and want to be pushed toward greatness.”
Fetrow and Palombo also spend time together with their families.
“What I notice is how happy Tom is when he’s with his kids,” said Fetrow…”when we’re in the backyard cooking, and we’re throwing the baseball around with all the kids together, he’s really having fun doing that.”
Senior center Justin Stafford is in his fourth year under the tutelage of Palombo.
“He is such a devoted coach,” said Stafford in an email interview. “He balances his duties as a basketball coach with the additional task of being Athletic Director, and still finds time to be a devoted husband and father. I’ve really appreciated these last 4 years [with him].”
Providing just as much entertainment as his team does for him, Palombo’s children attend as many home games as their schedules allow.
“I always enjoy seeing his kids run onto the court after games, giving him a big hug and kiss,” Stafford said.
Now, you may wonder, how does the Quaker energizer bunny keep going and going? How does he do it all?