De La Salle Athletic Hall of Fame 2023 class has strong local flavor and immortal football coach Bob Ladouceur

Bob Ladouceur.

CONCORD, CA (Oct. 25, 2023) — There was a distinctive local feel last month when the De La Salle Athletic Hall of Fame inducted the class of 2023 topped by legendary head football coach Bob Ladouceur as well as his long-time defensive coach and friend Terry Eidson. Adding to the local flavor was Clayton diver Kristian Ipsen and football standout Mawuko Tugbegnyoh of Concord.

The two veteran coaches along with four athletes and two teams were feted at the school’s Hofmann Student Center. As part of the Hall of Fame’s nomination process, each honoree is recognized not only for their athletic achievements, but also for academic and professional accolades, as well as their community involvement.

2023 Athletic Hall of Fame inductees

Bob Ladouceur (Football coach) “The De La Salle name rose to prominence in the athletic world precisely because of what Bob Ladouceur was able to achieve,” said Leo Lopoz, Vice President for Athletics. “Yet he gave our school so much more than a national record-winning streak. He was able to connect with our students in a deep way that harnessed their inner strength and fearlessness and turned it into a brotherhood that lives on at our school to this day. De La Salle’s continued dominance in high school sports is attributable to the foundation that he laid.” During his 34 years at the school Ladouceur established himself as one of America’s most successful high school coaches in any sport. He holds the state record for football victories (399-25-3). That mark included 28 North Coast Section championships, 19 state championships and the longest consecutive game-winning streak (151) in the history of high school football. USA Today voted his De La Salle teams No. 1 in the nation five times and he was national Coach of the Year three times. He was the subject of three books and a Sony Pictures movie. He became the NFL’s first Don Shula High School Coach of the Year in 1995, was inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations Hall of Fame in 2001 and was part of the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2014. More than 80 of his athletes received college scholarhips, nine of those players going on to play in the National Football League.

Kristian Ipsen (left) was honored by his alma mater when he was inducted to the De La Salle High School Athletic Hall of Fame last month along with a distinguished group of fellow inductees. The Clayton native won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics with his synchronized 3-meter springboard partner Troy Dumais. Ipsen was a record-breaking high school and collegiate champion during a career that included a decade of frequent international travel for the United States National Diving team. He was also fifth at the Rio Olympics in the 3-meter springboard. (Photo courtesy USA Diving)

Kristian Ipsen (Class of 2011) was a child diving prodigy who may have had the most significant international athletic career for a De La Salle alumnus. He was a four-time NCS individual diving champion for the Spartans and still holds the Section record for points. As a junior he was named De La Salle Athlete of the Year. At Stanford he won three NCAA championships and was an eight-time Pac-12 champion and remains the diving record holder. Ipsen eventually won 16 junior national championships, 15 senior nationals, two junior world championships and two senior world silver medals. As a member of the US national team the Clayton native competed around the world for a decade, capped by a bronze medal with partner Troy Dumais at the 2012 London Olympics. He also medaled at the world championships and competed for America at the Rio Olympics in 2016, taking fifth in the 3-meter springboard. Today, Ipsen remains in his sport volunteering his time coaching diving at Southern Methodist University. He resides in Texas with his wife and is the director of business development at Medallion.

Lincoln Gunn (2006) was a two-year varsity basketball letterman and team captain in 2006. Known for his attention to detail and work ethic, Gunn broke the all-time school scoring record and also holds the school record in free throw percentage in a season. As a senior he earned all-league, Contra Costa Times, and first team all-state honors. He led the Spartans to a 2006 state championship victory 43-40 in Sacramento over Clovis West and was named De La Salle Athlete of the Year. After De La Salle, Gunn continued his academic and athletic career at Princeton University, where he was a two-year starter for the Tigers. He’s been a long-time supporter of De La Salle’s athletics programs and a resource for the school’s basketball staff. He is Vice President of Partnerships at Fandom, Inc.

Johnny De Los Reyes (2011) was a three-year varsity golfer, earning first team all-East Bay Athletic League honors each year. In 2009, he was named Contra Costa Times Golfer of the Year. Following high school, De Los Reyes went on to play golf for Saint Mary’s College, finishing his collegiate career with the lowest scoring average in school history. He led the Gaels to the 2016 West Coast Conference Championship. He was WCC Player of the Year and team MVP in 2015 and a three-time all-WCC selection. He continues to compete around the country and internationally. De Los Reyes holds the course record at Oakdale Country Club (62) and teaches and coaches golfers at Spring Creek Country Club in Ripon.

Mawuko Tugbegnyoh (1996) was a three-year varsity football player and all-East Bay first team selection in 1995. Known as one the most dominant defensive players in school history, he also was on track team relays. During his time at De La Salle Mawuko led both his football and track teams to two NCS championships each. He earned a scholarship to UC Berkeley and played four years for the Bears. After Cal, he played professionally in NFL Europe and Canadian Football League. Tugbegnyoh returned to De La Salle to coach football from 2010-20. The Concord resident is now the program director at Community Youth Center.

Veteran De La Salle High School football coach Terry Eidson (left) traveled to New Orelans after the end of the 2013 school year to observe filming of “When The Game Stands Tall,” a movie that chronicles the story of the record-breaking Spartans football team. Golden Globe® winner Michael Chiklis (right), played Eidson in the film. (Photo courtesy TriStar Pictures)

Terry Eidson (Football, Baseball and Golf Coach) has worn many hats at De La Salle since he began teaching Religious Studies 42 years ago. He has been the Director of Student Activities, the face of Campus Ministry, Assistant Dean of Students, head of the Religious Studies Department and Athletic Director. While the Concord resident is mostly known for his football coaching (he’s returned to help coach the 2023 Spartans), Eidson has also coached Spartans baseball and golf. Eidson’s impact on high school athletics is so prolific he has amassed awards like Aflac Assistant Coach of the Year (2002), NCS Athletic Director of the Year (2003), De La Salle Coach of the Year (1984, 1992), NCS Honor Golf Coach (2019) and CIF Coach of the Year (2020). Eidson might just feel his greatest honor was being named Distinguished Lasallian Educator of the Year in 2022 by the District of New Orleans San Francisco. Over four decades, he has spearheaded several philanthropy initiatives at the school.

1996 Football Team was one of the most dominant teams in school history. Going undefeated and winning the NCS title doesn’t demonstrate their overall dominance. This Spartan team shut out seven of its 12 opponents, allowing less than five points a game. The defense actually outscored opposing offenses. One of the many highlights was defeating highly-ranked Rancho Buena Vista on De La Salle’s first football trip to Southern California. The Spartans then defeated Pittsburg 35-7 in the NCS 4A championship game to cap off a perfect 12-0 season.

1998 Volleyball Team only had five players returning from the previous year’s roster, yet under the tutelage of new head coach Tea Hieta the team went on to win the first of five straight NCS championships, tied for the longest ever streak in NCS boys volleyball. The team ended the season with a 27-3 record and was characterized by its camaraderie, competitiveness and willingness to sacrifice for the greater good. Captains Dom Uchikura and Sly Yeoman pushed their teammates and helped set a positive culture. The Spartans won three NCS playoff matches in straight sets capping with a victory over local rival Northgate for the championship.

Jay Bedecarré
Jay Bedecarré
Sports and Schools Editor at The Concord Clayton Pioneer | | Website

Jay Bedecarré is a long-time resident and writer in Concord and Clayton. He began his newspaper writing career while still a senior at Mt. Diablo High School and he has been part of The Pioneer since its inception in 2003. Jay also operates Bay Area Festivals, presenting events around the San Francisco Bay Area including Bay Area KidFest annually in Downtown Concord.