PHOTO BY BROCK SCOTT
hen we got the diagnosis, everything stopped,” Tom Hagedorn said in an interview a few months ago. “It’s like somebody presses a button and your entire life is put on hold. Whatever’s happening with your Blackberry suddenly doesn’t seem quite so important.”
Sadly, after fighting a valiant 18-month battle with leukemia, Hagedorn passed away on March 21, 2009.
Head coach of the USD men’s tennis team for 12 years, he had been focused on getting his Toreros back to the NCAA Tournament after a streak of four straight appearances — and 10 straight winning seasons — had ended in 2006. He needed plenty of stamina for the grueling round of treatments he underwent, but said that getting through the hardships also corresponded with a renewed appreciation for life’s little pleasures.
“The highs initially were so simple,” he said. “Like just driving the car with the windows down, listening to Dave Matthews. It was so simple yet so euphoric.
Even those little things felt so unbelievable to me.” Over the past year, Hagedorn dedicated himself to the cause of fighting leukemia. In October 2008, he walked with family, friends and more than 150 USD athletes, coaches and staff in a “Light the Night” event to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
A “Celebration of Life” gathering to honor him was held for all who knew him at Eagan Plaza in front of the Jenny Craig Pavilion on March 25.
The Hagedorn family asks that those who’d like to honor Tom’s memory with a gift make a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of San Diego or to the USD Athletics Department.