De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)
head football coach Bob Ladouceur stepped down earlier this month with 399 career wins, a .938 winning percentage, and a 151-game winning streak that remains perhaps the most famous mark in high school sports.
His outstanding work with the 2012 Spartans was somewhat overshadowed by his lofty career accomplishments.
Ladouceur took a team that lost a three-year starter at quarterback (Bart Houston to Wisconsin) and its defensive heart and soul (Michael Barton to Cal) from a year ago and turned it into a squad that, by season's end, arguably could have beaten any team in the country. The Spartans finished 15-0 and No. 4 in the final MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Football Rankings
and No. 1 in the MaxPreps Freeman Computer Rankings
De La Salle went unbeaten in the regular season, adding to the school's astonishing 236-game unbeaten streak against Northern California opponents.
It was in the postseason, however, that Ladouceur and the Spartans truly shined.
In three games, De La Salle outscored opponents 136-20 to capture the North Coast Section Division I title.
Then in one of the biggest Northern California games in recent years, De La Salle dominated high-scoring Folsom
49-15 to earn a spot in the CIF Bowl Games. It marked the seventh-straight year in which Ladouceur's squad earned a trip to the Home Depot Center.
In the Open Division Bowl Game against Centennial, De La Salle did what the Spartans are accustomed to doing in recent years: soundly beating the best of the best from Southern California. The Spartans jumped on a very well-coached Centennial squad early and cruised to a 48-28 victory
It marked the first 15-0 season in Ladouceur's illustrious 34-year career. After the game, signs pointed to Ladouceur stepping down as head coach, which he announced three weeks later.
"I enjoyed every minute," he said. "I couldn't have asked for a better career or life, and I couldn't have asked for a better school. It's an amazing place. There's a lot of community and love, a lot of people so dedicated to what they do. It's not about money or the paycheck. It's about the mission, about walking away from this life and leaving your little space a better place."
Ladouceur has one final feather to add to his cap: 2012 MaxPreps National Coach of the Year.Previous winners
2011 - Hal Wasson, Carroll (Southlake, Texas)
2010 - Tony Heath, Pearland (Texas)
2009 - Mike Newsome, Butler (Matthews, N.C.)
2008 - Mike Alberghini, Grant (Sacramento, Calif.)