Ratto: Win or lose, Ladouceur stands tall

December 17, 2010, 7:00 pm
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Bob Ladouceurs De La Salle Spartans are positioned to win their 93rd California State high school championship and his 3,583rd win as the teams head coach. More or less. Wikipedia and High School Football Database argue about his record, and frankly, if he cant be seen to give much of a damn which number is which, then it surely doesnt matter all that much.

Even though it is 370.

This would be an interesting topic if it was a rounder number, though; 371 doesnt really roll of the tongue, and he needs three more years to get to 400 anyway.

Tara VanDerveer, on the other hand, has a big round number staring her right in the yap. Shell be the fifth woman to get to 800, along with Pat Summitt, Jody Conradt, C. Vivian Stringer and Sylvia Hatchell.

(Note for those not spending their spare time watching the women's game: Stanford's loss to DePaul Thursday night opens the door for Barbara Stevens of Bentley, which plays Sunday against C. W. Post, to move past VanDerveer.)

It is interesting to try and fit both VanDerveer and Ladouceur in a Bay Area coaching continuum, with the Pappy Waldorfs and Bill Walshes and John Maddens and Phil Woolperts and Jack Clarks and Dick Goulds and Mark Marquesses and Dick Williamses and Paul Danielses, to see if there is a way to make sense of numbers like 370 and 800.

And yes, championships do become a pretty useful tiebreaker.

There, Ladouceur, whose canvas has been a little easier to paint on as a high school coach, stands as tall as any of them. There has never been a high school coach in California so dominant on the state-wide level, and whether he likes it or not, the 151-game winning streak that ate up most of the '90s will in part define him.

But that being the case, VanDerveer isnt far behind, with two titles and two runner-up finishes in the UConn Era. Maybe she doesnt hang with Walsh or Gould, the Stanford tennis coach, or Clark, the Cal rugby coach, but she is surely there with Woolpert, the USF coach in the Bill Russell era, and Williams, who guided the Oakland As to their first two World Series titles, and in a spirited debate with Madden, who won one Super Bowl and came close several other times.

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There are others in the continuum, more than can be reasonably mentioned here, but Ladouceur and VanDerveer are players on any list. That they dont make more of a fuss on their own behalf is a mutual character flaw we can deal with another team.

Although if either one of them want to start some cross-country spitting contest with Barbara Stevens, well, wouldnt say no. True, wed wonder why Ladouceur would care about Barbara Stevens under any circumstances, but were open to all eventualities.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.


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