Bob Ladouceur, one of America's most successful high school football coaches, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by the California State University at San José State University's annual Commencement on May 23.
Dr. Ladouceur became the first member of the coaching profession among the 36th distinguished individuals to receive an honorary doctorate at a San Jose State University Commencement.
He is just the third person whose professional career involves coaching and the first coach whose teachings and coaching focused on the high school level to be recognized by the California State University system with an honorary doctorate. California State University Long Beach conferred the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tom LaSorda in 1998. San Diego State conferred an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to former San Diego Chargers and San Diego State University football coach Don Coryell in 2010.
"Bob Ladouceur's dedication to teaching and mentoring young people embodies the ideals, objectives and vision of San Jose State University and the California State University," said San Jose State University President Mohammad Qayoumi. "To Coach Ladouceur, integrity and character always mattered more than wins and losses. I can't think of a better role model for graduates to emulate."
Dr. Ladouceur transferred to San José State from the University of Utah in 1974 and was a member of the Spartans football teams the next three seasons. The 1977 graduate majored in criminal justice, but went into the coaching profession when he was named the football coach at De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif.
In a 34-season career, Dr. Ladouceur's Spartans were 399-25-3, won eight California Interscholastic Federation state championships and were named the #1 high school team in the nation 11 times between 1994 and 2012.
Enshrined in the San Jose State Sports and the Bay Area Sports Halls of Fame, Dr. Ladouceur's coaching career was depicted last year in the notion picture "When The Game Stands Tall," based on Neil Hayes' biography of the same title.
Excerpts from Dr. Robert Ladouceur's address at the 2015 San José State University Commencement:
"To receive this degree from San Jose State University, a school I am very proud of, I want to say congratulations to all the graduates, today is your day.
"My graduation from San Jose State University was not an end point, but rather another beginning in my education... What I thought would happen and what actually happened was dramatically different... On a whim I answered a job announcement (for De La Salle High School) and was hired. I was 24-years old.
"The type of education I received here provided me with an excellent foundation. What I mean by type of education is this. This is where I learned how to learn - how to become a lifelong student. Here is where I learned how to write, research and discover.
"Quite simply, I discovered and received a lot of wisdom at San Jose State. It was here I formed my own personal definition of wisdom. Understanding the more knowledge you attain, the more you should realize how much there is to know. In other words, learning is a lifelong process.
"We used to say after every practice on this field when I played football here and after every game, `It's great to be a Spartan!"