Longtime Pasadena Poly boys basketball coaching legend Brad Hall had been sitting on 699 career coaching victories for nearly two weeks.
But the wait is over.
Pasadena Poly knocked off Gabrielino 55-43 in the first-round of the CIF Southern Section Division 4AA playoffs on Wednesday night, giving Hall his 700th career victory.
Pasadena Poly improved to 18-9 with a second-round game at home on Friday against Milken Community.
Hall talked about the milestone in recent days, and like he always does, he turned the focus toward his team.
“Each season is about the kids,” Hall said. “My wins, my records, they’re nothing without them. That’s one of the reasons I don’t talk about it (milestone) much, it’s because the season is always about them.”
Pasadena Poly is a unique place and Hall has has been the perfect fit. Considering the academic requirements for students at Poly, Hall’s longtime success is remarkable.
“We have a pretty special culture, I think we do things the right away, and I’m just as proud as (the teams that struggled) as I am the teams that won championships or had winning seasons,” Hall said. “I’m appreciative that people are thinking about this (accomplishment), but the kids are the ones who make it special.”
In the San Gabriel Valley area, only two head coaches have more career victories. Damien boys basketball coach Mike LeDuc won his 1,000th career game in 2021, and La Canada’s longtime coach Tom Hofman won his 800th last season.
Hall, who also graduated at Pasadena Poly in 1973, has been among the most successful area coaches for decades, winning his fourth CIF Southern Section championship with Pasadena Poly when it defeated Arcadia for the Division 4A title in 2021.
It was Pasadena Poly’s fifth boys basketball championship ever, but it had been 26 years since it had hoisted the trophy.
Hall was the co-head coach on Poly’s 1978 championship team, and was the head coach of their title teams in 1984 and 1995 as well.
Hall’s teams have been consistent winners in his nearly 40 years coaching at Pasadena Poly, having won 12 league championships.
Hall has a career record of 700-297, which is an over 70 percent winning percentage. He also has received his share of honors over the years, having been named the SCIBCA’s (Southern California Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association) coach of the year five times, with the last in 2021, and also has been named the CalHi Sports California coach of the year.
Hall also has a CIF-SS playoff record of 61-22 at Poly, and still, when you ask him about all his success and winning his 700th, he’s as humble as they come, steering his thoughts toward this years team.
“I get emotional thinking about some of the kids, you hope you had a positive influence on them,” Hall said. “I’ve got an ego like anybody else, but I get emotional about the players. When I retire I’ll get some rings out of the drawer, talk about the milestones probably get a kick out of it. I’ll have a chance to reflect on everything when the time comes. But this season is about the players, not what I did, and they’re playing in a way that I’m very proud of them.”
In Hall’s last championship victory over Arcadia in 2021, the win came against his former assistant, Nick Wallace, who credits Hall for giving him his first head coaching opportunity.
“I learned so much from Brad and I’m forever grateful, he gave me my first varsity assistant job at Pasadena Poly, and I also helped coaching football there,” Wallace said. “Brad is special, he is one of the best coaches in Southern California because of how he has to do it.
“You don’t get transfers at Pasadena Poly. Whatever players show up in eighth grade are players that stay there until they graduate, and Brad is one of the best at coaching them them up, and getting the most out of them. He just continues to have success year in and year out and that’s a credit to how great of a coach he is. He always has been consistent with winning.”