DANVILLE -- Bob Ladouceur can breathe a big sigh of relief.

The red carpet events and Hollywood interviews are over.

As someone who shies away from the spotlight, the former head football coach at De La Salle High School and the main character of the major motion picture, "When the Game Stands Tall," has been a little out of his element the past few months.

He's pleased with the film, which is based on the Spartans' football program and the end of their historic 151-game winning streak in 2004. But Ladouceur, portrayed by actor Jim Caviezel in the movie, is relieved to get back to what he enjoys most -- teaching and assistant coaching.

Former De La Salle head football coach Bob Ladouceur talks about the film at a benefit screening of "When the Game Stands Tall" at the Century
Former De La Salle head football coach Bob Ladouceur talks about the film at a benefit screening of "When the Game Stands Tall" at the Century Blackhawk Plaza theater on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014 in Danville, Calif. (Jim Stevens/Bay Area News Group)

"That's the irony of the whole thing," said Terry Eidson, Ladouceur's best friend and longtime coaching partner. "The last guy on earth who wants any attention diverted to himself is Bob Ladouceur."

"Literally the last guy that would want a movie made about him," added Justin Alumbaugh, who took over as the Spartans' head coach when Ladouceur stepped down in January 2013. "It's pretty funny. That's definitely a joking point among the coaching staff."

The film will be released nationwide Friday, but a local benefit premiere Sunday at the Century Blackhawk Plaza movie theater marked the end of Ladouceur's major involvement with the film.


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The whole thing -- a trip to New Orleans to see some of the filming, several promotional trips in different cities and even an interview on "Entertainment Tonight" -- has been a little strange for a guy who doesn't like to attract attention.

"It kind of runs a little bit counter to our philosophy of keeping a low profile, but it was pitched to us in a way that they thought this story should be told," Ladouceur said of the movie at a recent De La Salle practice. "We try not to call any attention to ourselves. We try not to think of ourselves as any more important than the next extracurricular activity, and all of a sudden -- boom -- a movie has been made."

"When the Game Stands Tall" producer David Zelon talks about the film at a benefit screening at the Century Blackhawk Plaza theater on Sunday,
"When the Game Stands Tall" producer David Zelon talks about the film at a benefit screening at the Century Blackhawk Plaza theater on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, in Danville, Calif. (Jim Stevens/Bay Area News Group)

Sunday's local premiere was a scaled-down version of what Ladouceur and Eidson (portrayed by Michael Chiklis) experienced in Hollywood earlier this month.

About 1,100 people, many of them wearing De La Salle attire, attended and a significant portion of the proceeds went to the Terrance Kelly '04 Endowed Memorial Fund for Financial Aid at De La Salle. Kelly was a two-way standout for the Spartans whose tragic shooting death is a storyline in "When the Game Stands Tall."

Kelly's father, Landrin, walked the mini red carpet in Blackhawk with Ladouceur and David Zelon, the film's producer, who said the true-life version of Caviezel's character has been like a celebrity to those involved with the film.

De La Salle  football players gather outside a benefit screening of "When The Game Stands Tall," at the Century Blackhawk Plaza theater on
De La Salle football players gather outside a benefit screening of "When The Game Stands Tall," at the Century Blackhawk Plaza theater on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, in Danville, Calif. (Jim Stevens/Bay Area News Group)

"Coach has been very inspirational; when he came to the set everyone wanted to be around him," Zelon said. "The players, the actors, all the football players we had come on. He was really a very powerful influence for us during the making of the movie."

While Ladouceur would rather spend his time helping out with the football team (he'll mostly focus on the defensive line and running backs this year), he is OK with stepping out of his comfort zone and being part of the film because he thinks it captures the true spirit of De La Salle's football program. His focus has always been about developing young men, not winning streaks or breaking records.

"If (people) are really curious about the coaching aspect of it and how we approach it, I'm comfortable with it because I think what we do is good," Ladouceur said. "It's positive, and I think we have our priorities about sports in the proper order."

Ladouceur has backed up that talk with his real-life action. In his final season as head coach at De La Salle, the Spartans went 15-0, and he had no reservations about retiring one win shy of a major milestone.

"How many guys retire with 399 wins?" said Chris Crespi, Ladouceur's longtime friend and a player on the coach's first team at De La Salle in 1979. "That says it all. It really does."