Thriving after retirement

Thriving after retirement

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Thriving after retirement


How many high school football coaches would retire with 399 victories?

We only know of one – Bob Ladouceur of De La Salle in Concord, Calif. – who did that very thing at the end of the 2012 season.

“I don’t know what it is about numbers,” he told USA Today High School Sports. “Four hundred seems to have more of an impact than 399. I never coached for wins – or for my record.”

In 34 years as head coach, Ladouceur compiled a phenomenal 399-25 record with seven national championships and a mind-boggling, national-record 151-game winning streak.

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From left: Head coach Justin Alumbaugh, former head coach (now assistant) Bob Ladouceur and assistant coach Terry Eidson / Photo by Bob Sansoe –
His staff actually tried to convince him to coach one more game the following year, get No. 400 and then retire.

Longtime assistant Terry Eidson recalled that Ladouceur quickly exclaimed, “I’m not doing that – that’s lame!”

Fear not, however, because he quickly returned in 2013 as an assistant to new head coach Justin Alumbaugh, his former assistant and standout lineman. The superb staff never changed and the transition was seamless.

The 59-year-old Ladouceur, who spent his first year as an assistant at Monte Vista (Danville, Calif.), relishes the role of just coaching the defensive line and running backs.

He noted, “I’m having fun with it and getting to know the kids better. It’s a different dynamic.”

Always a teacher at heart, he added, “We’re known more as technicians than for out-scheming everybody.”

He also now has more time to spend with his 8-year-old grand daughter, Sophie.

Ladouceur also is much more relaxed this year, according to Eidson, who has worried about his health the past few years.

He recalled, “I was watching what the seasons were doing to him (he had a heart attack seven years ago). He stays in great shape, but he worries so much. He looks great now.”

Ladouceur admits, “I’m more introverted than extroverted. The hardest thing for me as head coach was that I always had the last say. I always feel I can do things better and I am my own worst critic, a blessing and a curse.”

The 33-year-old Alumbaugh related that when he first played for Ladouceur as a sophomore, “It was kind of scary, because he always wore those dark sunglasses and didn’t say a lot. (When he did speak) he’d always point out what he didn’t like and was brutally honest.”

Gradually, he learned that his quiet coach had a good sense of humor, which eased tensions. After 13 years as an assistant he has a very solid relationship with his famous former boss and points out, “We are incredibly lucky to have him. Football-wise, we’d be pretty dumb not to listen to him.”

His former boss still operates with a quiet demeanor, Eidson noted.

Prior to last week’s game, Comcast officials asked to put a microphone on Ladouceur.

“What are you doing that for?” Eidson asked incredulously.

“He didn’t say anything,” Eidson related. “In the second half they switched it to me.”

It’s going to be interesting to see how Jim Caviezel plays Ladouceur in a big-screen movie slated for release during the fall of 2014. Eidson, however, is perfectly portrayed by Michael Chiklis.

Meanwhile, De La Salle – boasting probably its best lines ever – will carry a 14-0 record and 40-game winning streak against unbeaten St. John Bosco (Bellflower) on Saturday for the Open Bowl state championship.

The beat goes on.

Germantown sets state record

The Germantown (Wis.) boys basketball team set a state record on Tuesday by beating Milwaukee Lutheran 90-63 for its 63rd consecutive victory. The previous record of 62 by Dominican (Whitefish Bay) had stood since 1980.

Iowa West streak reaches 57

The West (Iowa City, Iowa) boys basketball team is off to a 5-0 start this year, which puts the two-time Class 4A state champion Trojans’ winning streak at 57 games.

Findlay Prep streak broken

Future College Prep (Harbor City, Calif.) – loaded with post-grads – nipped the Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) boys basketball team 73-71 on a rebound basket with 1.6 seconds left. The Pilots had won their first 13 games this year and were 92-0 at home during their eight-year history.

Brown scores 51 and 50

Harris Brown, a 5-9 junior guard scored 51 points as Howe (Indianapolis, Ind.) defeated Washington (Indianapolis, Ind.) 87-53. Earlier in the same week he scored an even 50 points – along with 12 steals, 10 rebounds and nine assists – during a 138-54 rout of Irvington Prep (Indianapolis, Ind.).

Bluett scores 54 points

Xavier University recruit Trevon Bluett exploded for 54 points as Park Tudor (Indianapolis, Ind.) routed Covenant Christian (Indianapolis, Ind.) 118-49. The 6-5 senior also pulled down 13 rebounds.

Gary Ernst wins No. 800

Already the top boys basketball winner in Arizona history, Gary Ernst reached another milestone when he won his 800th game as Mountain View (Mesa) rolled past St. George’s (Montreal, Canada) 98-68.

Ernst told USA Today High School Sports, “I never imagined (this) in a hundred years. I’m been lucky to coach at a great school and have great kids.”

Mike Bibby is back home

Mike Bibby, a 14-year NBA veteran, is an assistant boys basketball coach this year as his alma mater, Shadow Mountain (Phoenix, Ariz.). He is working under his former prep coach, Jerry Conner, and helping to coach his son, sophomore point guard Michael Bibby.

Duncanville streak reaches 83

The Duncanville (Texas) girls basketball team routed Midlothian (Texas) 79-18 on Tuesday as senior standout Ariel Atkins had 20 points and nine steals. The Panthers are 13-0 this year and lead the nation with an 83-game winning streak.

Tyra Buss leads the nation

Indiana University recruit Tyra Buss is leading the nation with a 45-point scoring average for Mt. Carmel (Ill.). The backcourt star has a high of 50 points and has scored between 47 and 49 points five times. She has 3,891 career points and needs just 189 more to become the all-time leading scorer in Illinois history.

Fairfield streak at 80

The Fairfield (Mont.) girls basketball team has won its first two games this year, extending its winning streak to 80 games. The Eagles will be seeking their fourth consecutive Class B state title.

Riverdale streaks end

The Homewood-Flossmoor (Flossmoor, Ill.) girls basketball team snapped two long winning streaks with a 63-62 victory over Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.). Riverdale had won 62 straight games and 69 in row at home. Substitute Bria Stallworth scored the last six points, including the winning basket with seven seconds left.

Newsome leaves his mark

UConn recruit Arkeel Newsome climaxed his brilliant football career by sparking Ansonia (Conn.) to a 15-0 record, 43-game winning streak and its third consecutive Class S state title.

The 5-8, 185-pound senior set state career records for rushing yards, 10,672 (No. 6 in national history); touchdowns, 187; and points, 1,162. His one-season state records included 3,867 rushing yards; 68 touchdowns (64 rushing, which tied for No. 4 in national history); and 422 points (No. 4 in national history).

Six straight titles for Bellevue

Football powerhouse Bellevue (Wash.) defeated Eastside Catholic (Sammamish) 52-20 to finish the season with a 14-0 record, 54-game winning streak and its sixth consecutive Class 3A state title.

Bowling Green streak at 44

Bowling Green (Ky.) defeated Pulaski County (Somerset) 49-14 to finish with a 14-0 record, 44-game winning streak and its third consecutive Class 5A state title. The Purples now are just six games short of the state record held by Trinity (Louisville).

Buford sets Georgia record

Buford set a Georgia football record this year by scoring 707 points in 15 games. The seven-year-old record was 682. The Wolves also presented coach Jess Simpson with his sixth state championship.

Highlands’ streak broken

Highlands (Fort Thomas, Ky.) was denied its seventh consecutive state football championship when it was upset in the Class 4A finale 37-34 by Collins (Shelbyville).

Favre helps state champs

Oak Grove (Hattiesburg, Miss.) (14-1) defeated Tupelo 14-7 to win the Class 6A state football crown. Former NFL great Brett Favre, who is the offensive coordinator, called a fake field goal with fourth-and-one, resulting in the winning touchdown.

Fleitman sets volleyball record

Nicole Fleitman, a 6-2 junior at Lindsay (Texas), set a national volleyball record this year by averaging a prolific 21.9 kills per match. The 10-year record was 21.8. She also finished second in national history with 986 kills during a 37-8 campaign.

Polley ends 45-year career

Maurene Polley has retired following a 45-year career as field hockey coach at Villa Maria Academy (Malvern, Pa.) She won 587 games and a pair of state titles at her alma mater. She was inducted into the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2011.

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