CONCORD Bob Ladouceur ventured onto the Contra Costa County high school campus in 1979 as an eager, inexperienced 24-year-old football coach, embracing any and all challenges.
Friday afternoon, he bowed out as the De La Salle head man, having set a standard of excellence unequaled in the history of high school football.
Now 58 with deep lines in his face and the look of fatigue from 34 years of nonstop teaching and coaching, Ladouceur turns the program over to longtime assistant Justin Alumbaugh. Ladouceur will remain a religion teacher at De La Salle, and he will coach running backs on the junior varsity and varsity levels.
Ladouceur's résumé looks as if it's full of typos: a state-record 399 wins against 25 losses and three ties; 28 North Coast Section championships, including an ongoing state record 21 in a row; a national-record 151-game winning streak that stretched over 12 perfect seasons, ending in 2004; unbeaten against Northern California teams since 1991; five CIF State Open Bowl championships.
Ladouceur's final team went 15-0, beat Folsom in the first NorCal Regional Open game and was selected No. 1 in the country by ESPN, his ninth national No. 1 finish since 1991.
"I've dedicated my life to this, and it's time to let Justin take this, and I can't think of a more perfect choice," Ladouceur said. "I never really got a break, and it wore on me. I wasn't sick, but it mentally wears on you.
I'll still be here teaching, helping the football program any way I can.
This is all I've known. I couldn't ask for a better career, better coaches, better players or a better school."
Alumbaugh, 34, said he isn't naive to the magnitude of the job he inherits. "I'm succeeding the greatest coach in the history of
everything," he said. "I can't fathom his 399 wins, but I can fathom his impact.
"And it's not like he's riding off in the sunset on a horse. His desk will still be across from mine."
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