California’s winningest football coach, the recently retired Bob Ladoucuer from De La Salle of Concord, will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree on Saturday during San Jose State’s annual Commencement.
Ladouceur, who retired with 399 career wins after his team won the 2013 CIF Open Division state bowl game and was the subject of last September’s movie “When The Game Stands Tall,” is believed to be the first “high school school coach” to be given an honorary doctorate from any university in the Cal State University system.
The 1977 graduate of SJSU played two years there as well before he began coaching in 1979. He took over as the head coach at De La Salle prior to the 1979 season at age 23 and built the program into the most successful in U.S. prep history. The team’s 151-game winning streak more than doubled the previous national record.
SJSU sports information director Lawrence Fan looked through the list of honorary doctorate recepients from CSU campuses and found just two who were known for coaching/managing prowess: Tommy Lasorda by Long Beach State in 1998 and Don Coryell by San Diego State in 2010.
We looked through the same list and didn’t find anyone else from coaching/managing at any level.
Lawrence Fan also happens to have been the SID when yours truly was getting a journalism degree at SJSU in 1983. In Bay Area SID circles, Fan is about as legendary as Ladouceur.
And if you ever wondered why De La Salle’s logos on its helmets over the years have resembled San Jose State’s, now you know.