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When the Game Stands Tall: The Story of the De La Salle Spartans and Football's Longest Winning Streak Hardcover – October 30, 2003
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"I've never seen a better coached team at any level. I watch his teams play and can't believe it's a high school football game. He is as fine a coach as the game has ever seen."
-Former San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh
"It's the ultimate high school football program in this country, there's no doubt about that. It's unbelievable how they keep winning."
-Detroit Lions coach Steve Mariucci
About the Author
Neil Hayes is a sports columnist for the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek, CA. He has twice won national awards for enterprise reporting. He lives in Pleasant Hill, CA, with his wife Charlee and their two children, Nicholas and Riley.
Top customer reviews
Ladouceur, who played college football at Utah State then San Jose State, was an unlikely candidate for establishing himself as one of the premier high school coaches in the U.S. He left college football with a sour taste for football, feeling that it "used him up then spit him out."
He played high school football under the legendary Fred Houston at Danville, CA.'s San Ramon High. Houston was a blood and guts coach that forced players to make a choice..."those who remained were dedicated and believed in what they were doing." Houston taught discipline, fundamentals, and that the game was hard and had to be played agressively - attributes that would become hallmarks of Ladouceur's programs.
Ladouceur's arrival at the Christian Brother's De LaSalle High School in Concord, CA. (35 miles northeast of San Francisco) at the age 25 with of one year of coaching experience was not popular. Nevertheless, the school's principal who wanted a teacher first and someone who put the students first, and Ladouceur who worked part-time as a probation officer and wanted to help troubled kids, found one another...and the building of a legacy was underway.
Author Hayes had unfettered access while writing "When the Game Stands Tall" to present and past DLS school officials, coaches and players, opposing players and coaches. The book is filled with quotes, stories of special and troubled players, anecdotes, and speeches made during the period by players, coaches, and Ladouceur.
Each game of the 2002 season is presented in great detail with an emphasis on the powerhouse games with Long Beach Poly, Mater Dei of Santa Ana, St. Louis of Hawaii, and local rival, Pittsburgh.
"When the Game Stands Tall" serves as a great how-to manual (and must have) for anyone wanting to coach or lead. Ladouceur's body of work epitomizes excellence and the sacrifice one makes to achieve it. The book also reinforces the notion that fulfilling a vision is a journey, a process, not an event.
De LaSalle's success has a history, and it creates a culture, with traditions, ritual and doctrine. It has a mind and a soul as well as a body. It is enduring and deep. It is the legacy the Bob Ladouceur and his staff has created for the ages.
If Friday Night Lights is the story of a community and football players, Stands Tall is primarily a coach and leadership tale.
I have recommended to many of my friends, If someone wants to become a better coach or a better leader or simply a better person this is the book to read. It is a great story and read. This would be a great gift for any coach or leader.