Prep Baseball & Softball

Buchanan High baseball coach resigns. Here’s why Tom Donald is leaving the program

Buchanan High baseball coach Tom Donald, center, in a 2017 game.
Buchanan High baseball coach Tom Donald, center, in a 2017 game. Fresno Bee file

After more than two decades as the Buchanan High baseball coach, Tom Donald has resigned after initially stepping away from the storied program in March.

Donald, in a phone interview Wednesday, said he’s still trying to juggle other demands in his life separate from coaching.

“What I’ve learned is that it’s requiring additional time and effort on my behalf,” he said.

“I feel like it’s best to resign at this time because I could not be effective at running a program, and at the same time, trying to handle something that in my personal life that ... ,” he said, his voice trailing off.

“It’s too many irons in the fire. I think stepping away initially is an attempt to clear the air a little bit. Now that air is cleared somewhat, but more work needs to be done.”

Donald, 56, stepped away in March because, he said then, it “will really give me my time to really focus on some personal things that I need to address in my life.”

It was expected he would return for his 21st season when the Tri-River Athletic Conference season started in March, but that never happened.

Donald on Wednesday said he made the decision to resign last week.

“I’ve learned what’s more important in life and I think I lost sight of that a little bit,” he said. “ I feel like I’m on a better path and want to continue down that path.”

In 20 seasons as Bears coach, he compiled a 485-135-6 record that included six section championships, 10 TRAC championships and two national championships, according to section historian Bob Barnett.

His teams were section runners-up five times and he’s eighth in the section in career victories.

He said that toward the end of last season that he felt things were taking a toll: “I wasn’t enjoying the grind like I did before.”

“I wasn’t as focused as I should have been at the task at hand, whether it’s running the program or my teaching responsibilities or my personal responsibilities,” he said. “It became a bit too much. I lost sight at what’s more important. A tremendous pride and ego got in the way. That should not factor into being an effective coach, teacher and father.”

Buchanan was led by Brad Fontes this past season and went 26-4 with the TRAC championship after going 13-2 in conference play.

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Anthony Galaviz writes about sports for The Fresno Bee. He covers the Oakland Raiders, high schools, boxing, MMA and junior colleges. He’s been with The Bee since 1997 and attended Fresno City College before graduating from Fresno State with a major in journalism and a minor in criminology.
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