Dick Valois, who guided the San Lorenzo High football team to its only North Coast Section title in 1977, died of cancer at his home in Ashland, Oregon on Monday. He was 75.
Valois was the head coach at San Lorenzo from 1976-1983 and was considered an offensive mastermind by his peers, drawing comparisons to former San Francisco 49ers coach and West Coast Offense innovator Bill Walsh.
In 1977, under Valois’ leadership, the Rebels became the first Hayward Area Athletic League team to win an NCS title.
“(Valois) was the type of coach that every time you sit down for lunch he was writing plays on a napkin,” said Jerry Dore, who coached the Rebels prior to Valois and hired him as an offensive coordinator in 1969. “We had about 50 different backfield formations. He was very innovative on offense and we were very successful. They called Bill Walsh a football genius and I hate to call anyone a genius, even Bill Walsh, but Dick was certainly a brilliant mind.”
Paul Petros, who played quarterback for the Rebels’ 1977 NCS title team, recalled the most exciting game under Valois and arguably in HAAL history. It was in 1977 against Hayward at Sunset Field in front of a full house. The Farmers took a two-point lead with around 11 seconds to go.
“I thought we were done,” Petros said. “People were starting to leave the game.”
But Valois planned the perfect play on the ensuing kickoff – a fake reverse.
Hayward’s first kick went out of bounds and the Rebels made the Farmers kick again. This time the ball landed in the hands of Ben Maldanado. He faked a handoff to Andre Bynum and raced up the sideline 95 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
“That game was nuts,” Petros said. “I still get excited just talking about it.”
Valois did more for the community than coach football. He was also an english and social studies teacher at San Lorenzo. He left San Lorenzo in 1984 to become the offensive coordinator for Cal State Hayward (now Cal State East Bay). He remained there until 1986 when he decided to return to San Lorenzo as a teacher only.
“Dick had an impact on a lot of young people both in the classroom and on the athletic field,” said former San Lorenzo athletic director Bill Versino, who coached against Valois while at Marina. “Dick was a very positive force and a real good motivator.”
Valois is expected to be inducted into the San Lorenzo Hall of Fame in May.
“We would still like to do it,” San Lorenzo athletic director Tom Longaker said. “We have inducted people that have passed away before so it is something we would like to still do.”
There are currently no plans to hold funeral or memorial services.