The Man, the Myth, the Legend


Tracy High School has been a home to many individuals, whether student or staff. Individuals who step foot on campus bring the Tracy High spirit along with them. Manuel Costa is one of many of these individuals who bled green and gold for his school. Manuel Costa, my grandfather, worked at Tracy High School for about 40 years, give or take. He taught as a Special-Ed instructor, and was a football coach for many years. He was also involved in many programs such as the TEA and the WASC. Costa would do anything for those around him including family, friends and peers. Although he had a stern way of doing so, once you got to know him there was always a special bond that he created.

About a year ago my grandfather suffered a stroke which eventually lead to many underlying health complications. More recently he was hospitalized to find further answers about getting him healthy again and back home with his family. Costa is currently at home with hospice where he will peacefully pass with his family. Due to heart failure, kidney failure and much more his request was to be in the comfort of his own home with his family for his last few days before entering heaven where his mom and dad await him.

A handful of teachers, staff members, and students have shared their condolences and stories about Costa. Assistant Principal Gary Henderson stated, “Coach Costa bled green and gold. He put so much of his heart and soul into the work he did for Tracy High School. Personally, he taught me a great deal about athletics, education, and life. The advice he gave me still resonates with me today. I know the same passionate commitment he gave to Tracy High was also bestowed upon his family. He will be missed but not forgotten by those who truly knew him.” Henderson was also my English teacher my junior year of high school and the Costa/List family would like to acknowledge and show our appreciation to him for his kind words during such a hard time.

Along with Henderson, Alayna Carter has shared her kind words with the family as well. She explains, “Your grandfather is a very passionate man with a great love for this town and this school. I will always remember him on the sidelines and in the classroom. As a teacher, I appreciated his dedication to the school and to our students. Most importantly, he had a passion for education and defending the rights and working conditions for us teachers. He was a very active member in our union and he fought MANY battles for his peers and I will forever be grateful for that.” Carter also shared her background that relates to our family. “Many people thought I was his daughter. My maiden name was Costa and I am the same age as Robin (my aunt). I have the dark hair and full blooded Portuguese. Any time people thought he was my dad, they would say such nice things about him and tell me his stories. It was always a little uncomfortable having to tell them I was not his daughter, but I got to hear many great stories. I will be praying for him and his peaceful passing.” Mrs. Carter’s words have not gone unnoticed, and we as a family appreciate reading your comment to Costa while he rests.

Tracy High Principal, Jason Noll was a former student of Costa and had the honor of working with him at Tracy High. Noll states, “I have many fond memories of Coach Costa. As a student whether on the football field or in his night school class for weightlifting I really enjoyed being around him. Also, once I became the principal at Tracy High School I enjoyed having a professional relationship with him and I would often swing by his classroom just to talk football. He had love for all things Bulldogs and really wanted his students and athletes to be successful. Once a Bulldog, Always a Bulldog couldn’t be more true for him.”  As Mr. Noll has stated, he wanted everyone around him to be successful, which he provided for his family. He had always pushed his family to be the best they could be and it has gone to such far extremes. Thank you Mr. Noll for sharing your experience with the family and for your best wishes.

Nisla Fonseca,  a Spanish teacher at Tracy High School, expressed her kind words with the family as well. She says, “Manuel Costa was a big influencer out there on the field with all the football players. He was a big guy with many days of yelling to motivate them. He loved doing all of that along with teaching those special ed students that he had. Not only did his job not stop there, he was always doing special programs or jobs for WASC or other TEA items. I was sorry to see him retire but knew that as times go by, we must spend time with our families who we have neglected for so long. When I first met him, I thought he was a grumpy old man and as we stayed here year after year together, I began to understand him better and found time to help me with grievances, so I appreciate his time with me at THS. So sorry to have you leaving us so soon.” Fonseca and Costa worked in the same building, and their classrooms were located near each other. This gave them time to work together inside and outside of the classroom. Our appreciation is greatly directed towards Mrs. Fonseca’s kind words.

Lastly, my current English teacher, Lisetta Wallace has shared a few words about my loving grandfather. She states, “Although I did not know Manuel well, I do remember that he fought hard for teachers as part of TEA, our teachers union, and in addition to being a very dedicated football coach, he was a caring Special Ed teacher.” As can be seen, Costa attempted to give his all while he worked at THS, his work never went unnoticed.

Overall, Costa wished to be recognized by many for his hard work, which led me to writing an article highlighting his best memories. Although times may be rough at the moment, it means everything to our entire family to be able to have these memories and experiences of Manuel Costa shared with us.

On March 16, 2021 at 7:32 I received the call that Costa had passed peacefully in his own home. Throughout the night the entire family gathered around him to share our last moments and words together. We prayed over his body and said our last goodbyes. He is no longer suffering, but rather in the hands of God where he met his parents once again. As the days grow longer and harder, he has been watching over us finally comfortable. He is up in heaven driving his Corvette and smiling with his mother and father. Thank you to all the condolences and prayers that we have received from hundreds of individuals. It brings peace to the family to hear all the amazing stories and experiences that they shared with Costa.

Always remembered forever loved.

Manuel Costa, April 6, 1951- March 16, 2021