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A Coach’s Generosity Extends to Future Generations

Former O’Dowd softball coach Dale Isaacs considers himself a fortunate man. He has led an interesting life, including serving in the Navy on a submarine stationed in Hawaii, working in real estate, and playing competitive fast-pitch adult softball – even participating in national tournaments – and today is retired and living in the Oakland hills.

Dale and his wife are among a growing group of alumni, parents, and friends in the Heritage Society – those who have included Bishop O’Dowd High School as one of the charities in their will or trust. Heritage Society donors make a generous personal investment to ensure O’Dowd continues as a premiere Catholic high school in the Bay Area and to benefit future generations of students.

A chance encounter with Gil Atkinson, whose daughter Lynn ’79, played on the varsity softball team led to Dale’s involvement with O’Dowd athletics.

After serving as an assistant coach for a couple of years, Dale served as head varsity softball coach from 1984-1996. “I never missed a practice or a game in my time at O’Dowd,” he said.

As a head coach, Isaacs led the Dragons to four league championships, seven second-place finishes, and made nine appearances in the North Coast Section playoffs. His league won-loss record was 163-36 (overall record 183-89), including a perfect 17-0 mark in 1992.

Dale coached some of the most accomplished softball players in O’Dowd history, including Jennifer Lizama ’96, who for many years held the California high school record for home runs with 38, and Veronica Nelson ’99, a two-time All-American who led Cal to a national championship and is in the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame.

His positive experience with O’Dowd students played a large part in his decision to make a legacy gift to the school. “I was always impressed by them and how serious they were about their studies,” he said.

Making a legacy gift is a very personal decision, Dale said. “My wife and I feel fortunate we are able to share the proceeds from our trust with several charities,” he said.

But Dale encourages everyone to consider setting aside a portion of their estate – even a small amount – for charity. “You should certainly give if it’s possible,” he said.


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