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Guest Column: A Sports Writer's Thoughts on De La Salle Coach Bob Ladouceur

Coach leaves rich tradition of excellence and unprecedented winning in high school football.

Over the past three seasons, I had the privilege of covering De La Salle football many times, and following each Spartans assignment I would cringe. I usually turned to my wife and game-day photographer (same person) and say, “We got another blowout.” To which she would respond, “De La Salle…again?”

The Spartans, under football guru Bob Ladouceur, are a well-oiled machine of pure dominance. To me, the lover of sports drama and junkie for the walk-off home run, buzzer beating three or game-winning touchdown catch, covering De La Salle was boring.  They never lost and rarely were the DLS games ever close.

The school’s offensive line fired off the ball creating huge running lanes, the defense lived in the opponent’s backfield and the quarterbacking was almost always efficient. This same formula for success lasted 34 years.

Unbelievable.

Ladouceur’s head coaching record over that span was 399-25-3, ranking tops in California. He also ran a streak from 1992-2004, where his Spartans team won 151 consecutive games. The streak more than doubled the previous record of 72 consecutive victories set by the Hudson (Michigan) High School football program from 1968 to 1975 (according to the NFHS).

De La Salle has not lost a single game to a Northern California team since 1991. Seriously? I was playing tee-ball at 8 years old the last time NorCal team (Pittsburgh High) beat the Spartans.

After each DLS slaughtering I covered, the latest being an NCS 49-0 drubbing of Amador Valley, I would interview Ladouceur. And to my amazement, he was never satisfied with his team's performance. He always saw areas for improvement or if they were not obvious, he promised to go to the film room and find the flaws. He was the consummate perfectionist.

In fact, following that game, this was his first quote, “Not a lot of mistakes tonight. The defense played stout and the offense moved the ball.”

He set-up and ran the most successful high school juggernaut (possibly ever) that has far too much momentum to slow down, even with a looming coaching change. The style of football and work ethic is ingrained in the roots of the program and the winning seems a lock to continue.

I will still cover the games with the long lost hope of a close contest or maybe even a loss, but the program has gained my deep admiration and respect.

Caramel Linda Cole January 05, 2013 at 08:06 PM
Coach Ladoucer is such a wonderful inspiration NOT only to the "Football Players" but to Each & Every student at the school. For 13 years our son has continued the De La Salle tradition in his life through prayer, hard work and NEVER accepting defeat. Thank you Bob Ladoucer who is and has been the instrument of God's work in the lives of these students.
Jack Weir January 06, 2013 at 04:36 PM
Not every game has been a DLS blow-out. Those of us who have followed DLS for longer remember some epic struggles, like the first Long Beach Poly game at Veterans Stadium, where Matt Gutierrez led to beat a team from a school that traditionally sends squads on to Div I colleges. Or the Aloha Bowl, when local fans laughed when the diminuitive DLS team took the field; they soon stopped when they saw well-conditioned 180-pund DLS players man-handle 280-pound Samoan kids. We remember Bellevue, when the Washington team broke the "Streak" by playing DLS-brand football better than we did; Coach Lad told the boys, "It's not your fault; we coaches let you down." Class act; class program; class coach.
Inohuh Freeman January 07, 2013 at 04:48 PM
Let's also don't forget that the coach is able to "stack" the team every year with recruiting of top players from all over the U.S. Perhaps if he were dealing with the same restrictions as other high schools, he would have still won, but we may never know. Maybe they should play JCs instead of high schools. I'm not from here, so I don't care, just sayin'.
Gemini21 January 07, 2013 at 06:33 PM
If you do not care and don't live here and know the facts, then why post false comments? This team is never stacked and they do not recruit. They take local talent and work with them to make them great. It's all in the coaching and the commitment and discipline that theses coaches instill in each and every student athlete. Because you are SO WRONG about your comment, I had to reply!
Stumper January 07, 2013 at 08:38 PM
DLS has a top-notch coaching staff. Do they recruit? They don't have to. With no district boundaries, if your kid is a good football player in the greater Bay Area, you'll enroll him at DLS and workout the transit issue.
Inohuh Freeman January 07, 2013 at 10:51 PM
Gemini21: I appreciate your passion, but just because I'm not from here doesn't mean I haven't lived here for a while and don't know the score. You can believe they "don't recruit" and only use "local" talent if you want to (just because a kid's parent's moved him here so he could go to DeLaSalle doesn't mean he wasn't recruited - there are many ways to recruit). Because you're so NAIVE about your comments, I had to reply back. Stumper's comment "no district boundaries" says it all. I'm sure the coach is good. Just wonder how good he'd really be if he had the restrictions of district boundaries and the pay of a regular high school coach?
Gemini21 January 08, 2013 at 02:22 AM
My passion is valid. Calling a person naive shows your ignorance with your facts on this subject. I live here and know how it works, but most of all have hands on knowledge. Yep, they don't have to recruit and recruiting from "all over the U.S." as you implied previously is "naive".
mike gregory January 10, 2013 at 02:03 AM
I don't care if you recruit or what 151-0 is a feet that's beyond believable or 399-25, and he stoped playing teams in a division to travel and play the best in the country, and he still won won won
ROBERT E. FISHBACK April 29, 2013 at 02:17 PM
A little off subject, but.....The Jets released Tim Teboe and that is the best thing for Tim and hope he gets over the royal screwing he got from incompetant coaching staff.

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