No matter what was going on in Thomas McCabe’s life, he always made children his No. 1 priority, friends and colleagues said.
On Tuesday morning, the athletic director and coordinator of student activities passed away after battling a serious illness for several months. McCabe is the brother of Berlin girls basketball coach Sheila King.
High School Principal Mario Almeida worked along side McCabe and spent many evenings watching high school sporting events with him.
“Tom was a true gentleman. His No. 1 priority was kids,” Almeida said. “I felt like I knew him for many years. He was a class act. He made a huge impact on me.”
Almeida said McCabe, who was an East Hampton resident, had a way with words, children and parents and only wanted the best for the students. He had hoped to bring many state championships to Rocky Hill.
“He wanted to put Rocky Hill on the map,” Almeida said. This year, McCabe got his first championship when the .
Before coming to the Rocky Hill Public Schools in July 2008, McCabe served as the physical education and health teacher at Glastonbury High School from 1989 to 2008. He started his teaching career at where he was a physical education and health teacher for five years as well as the athletic director.
During his tenure at Glastonbury and East Hampton high schools, McCabe was a football, baseball, basketball and lacrosse coach. Almeida said he was a legendary figure in high school athletics and was regarded as the all-time great football coach at Glastonbury High School.
“Everything was by the book,” Almeida said. “He was a great dude.”
, who taught a course that McCabe took when he was going for his administration certification, said he was proud of his former student.
“It was exciting and a thrill to see a former student not only be in the administrative position that he aspired to be, but actually to see him in action doing it,” he said. “And I was really proud of him.”
McCabe is survived by his four children.
School officials found out about McCabe’s death Tuesday afternoon. Instead of calling an assembly, students were sent back to their homerooms where a prepared statement was read to them.
“The hardest thing is to know how kids are going to take it,” Almeida said. “They heard it from teachers that they are comfortable with.”
Students were allowed to visit the guidance suite and talk with grief counselors. Grief counselors will remain at the high school tomorrow for any students needing to talk to someone. The high school staff met after school to discuss the loss of their colleague.