Legendary De La Salle football coach retiring

January 4, 2013 7:40:32 PM PST
De La Salle High School Coach Bob Ladouceur, called the Vince Lombardi of high school football, is stepping down.

Ladouceur announced his retirement at Concord's De La Salle High School Friday. The announcement was one that many expected, but few welcomed.

"It is an ending for me but also somewhat of a beginning. It's everything, it's been my life," Ladouceur said. He went on: "I really, I really don't know what I'm going to do now."

What he did do in his 34 years as head coach of the De La Salle Spartans is nothing short of extraordinary. He coached his teams to 399 wins, 3 ties and just 25 losses. His players won 151 consecutive games during 12 seasons.

After all that he actually knows very well what he wants to continue to do. "I'm not stepping away from coaching. I'll still be involved in some capacity in the program, probably mentoring the younger teams also," he said.

Ladouceur is passing the ball to his assistant coach, 33-year-old Justin Alumbaugh. He was a former student and player under Ladouceur.

Alumbaugh is confident that he will continue what Ladouceur has done. "I wouldn't be sitting here, and frankly I shouldn't be sitting here, if I wasn't extremely confident that that legacy could continue," Alumbaugh said.

Ladouceur credits his players with having the energy and willingness to win. Players like Vicente Sarver say he instills his teams with responsibility and the strength of conviction, as well as developing their talent.

"We make commitments to each other each week and if you can't commit to the person next to you, then you can't trust them to be battling during the game," Sarver said.

Garett Biel, who graduated four years ago, said Ladouceur "definitely taught me how to be a man and how to respect others and how to hold yourself accountable."

The 2003 book "When the Game Stands Tall" was inspired by Ladouceur's winning record. It's soon to be a movie.

Ladouceur says the trip has been sweet. "I have absolutely no regrets. If I had it to do all over again, I'd do it exactly the same."

Ladouceur says he's going to continue teaching religion at De La Salle and also help out with football. Alumbaugh says if he needs any advice, all he has to do is ask -- Ladouceur has the desk right across the way.

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