Tom Maher, in his 22nd year as a full-time kinesiology instructor at PCC, returned to the coaching sideline as Lancers head football coach in 2016. In 2017, he will embark on his 11th season in charge of the program, the longest tenure in the school’s gridiron history.
Last year, Maher’s Lancers won as many games (four) as did the program achieved in the previous three seasons combined. The four victories also were the most by a PCC team since 2010.Last season, PCC played well at its home field, Robinson Stadium, finishing 4-1 in on-campus contests.
In 2001, Maher coached the last Lancers conference championship team when PCC won the Mission Conference crown, finished 10-1, and captured the South County Bowl title. In 2002, his PCC team was 8-3 and participated in the Potato Bowl. In his magical '01 season, Maher was not only named the MC North Division Coach of the Year but American Football Monthly magazine selected him as the nation's Community College Coach of the Year.
Three of his players have been inducted into the PCC Sports Hall of Fame in single-season rushing and touchdowns leader Jonathan Smith (2001), quarterback Nathan Chandler (2000-01), who set a then PCC record for passing yards (since broken) at 2,633, and two-time, 1,000-plus yard rusher Jerome Harrison (2002-03), who went on to a 5-year career in the NFL. Smith and Chandler were the only JC Grid-Wire First Team All-American backfield in that publication's history.
Going into 2017, Maher has 44 career victories at PCC and his first three years as head coach was during a hardship period for the program when the team had to play games off-campus at Occidental College and practice at a local middle school field while construction was done to create Robinson Stadium.
In 1999, the team returned to the campus and Maher's program took off as he had his most successful coaching period from 2000-2002 at 23-9.Maher coached the highest scoring team in PCC history in '01 when the Lancers averaged 42.3 points a game. His '02 squad is the third highest scoring team at 38.3 points per contest. Both teams are the only PCC squads to break 400 points in a season.
From 2000 to 2002, his Lancers teams had an impressive streak of 19 straight games scoring 20 or more points. Maher is a Lancers playing alumnus as he was a tight end on the 1972 national champion team that finished 12-1 under head coach Bill Sandstrom. That team won the Metropolitan Conference title and finished state runner-up.
Known also for moving players to the next level, Maher helped 204 Lancers earn scholarships to 4-year universities, including a single-season high of 30 in both the 2002 and 2004 seasons. He has coached 21 All-Americans at PCC.
"I'm extremely grateful for getting another opportunity to coach at PCC," Maher said upon returning to the Lancers sideline last year. "With hard work, I know we can bring this program back to the level of success we achieved in the early 2000s. Our college community and alumni can get excited again about Lancers football."
Maher's coaching resume covers 37 years at eight different colleges. Before arriving at PCC in 1996, he had a 6-year stint as offensive coordinator at Mt. San Antonio College. In 2006, he served that role at Compton College before a 9-year run as an assistant at Fullerton College. In that time, the Hornets won five Southern Division titles and were 2013 SCFA champions as well as CCCAA State runner-up at 12-1. Maher also coached at the University of La Verne, Pomona-Pitzer, Cal State Long Beach, and Citrus College.