Bob Ladouceur is a high school coaching legend. A 34-year veteran of the sidelines at Concord (Cal.) De La Salle High, the recently-retired Ladouceur is among the nation’s winningest and most revered coaches. By his career’s end, Ladouceur racked up a 399-25-3 record, including a remarkable 151-game win streak that spanned 11 seasons.
Ladouceur was such a significant figure in the prep coaching scene that one California prep sports writer was moved to pen a full book based on Ladouceur’s life and legacy. That writer, former Contra Costa Times turned Chicago Sun Times columnist Neil Hayes, completed “When the Game Stands Tall” in 2003, with the book receiving significant critical acclaim and a 2005 re-issue since.
Now filming has begun on a cinematic version of “When the Game Stands Tall,” in New Orleans, with a figure no less than Jesus Christ himself taking on the role of Ladouceur. Well, not literally Jesus Christ, just the man who played him most recently, with Jim Caveizel leading a cast that also include The Shield’s Michael Chiklis and Academy Award nominee Laura Dern.
There is a unique sports entertainment B-celebrity tie in the directorial credits, too: The movie’s director is Thomas Carter. If that names sounds familiar, it may be from his director turn with “Coach Carter,” or it could be from his more distant past, when Carter was the character “Hayward” on the basketball drama “The White Shadow.”
Yup, Hayward from The White Shadow is a major feature director now. Who knew?
While the cast and investment in the film is sure to generate plenty of interest before its expected debut date in fall 2014, the underlying story of the film, focusing on the school’s 151-game winning streak, is also sure to earn attention. As one of the film’s producers made clear to the San Francisco Chronicle, the movie will thrive on the universal life truths that were spread by Ladouceur’s leadership.
“On the surface, it appears that these players just won a lot of football games, but what makes this story so special is that this is a coach who placed little value on winning, instead focusing his players on giving a ‘perfect effort’ in life,” said producer David Zelon. “Underneath it is a resounding testimonial about how much more kids can achieve when they are challenged with responsibility and commitment.”