Former San Lorenzo football coach dies

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.







  • ManDown

    may he rest in peace!

  • Jeff Keppert


    May you find better quarterbacks in heaven then you had to deal with on earth 🙂 but thanks for bringing out the best of me and so many others. You were 1 of a kind.

    Rest in peace coach, well maybe not JC probably needs a coordinator up there.

  • Jeff Nedved

    Dick saw good in everyone around him. He believed in me as much as I did. I am very sad I did not get a chance to say good-bye.

  • Jackie Pareja

    I had Mr. Valois as a Social Studies teacher at San Lorenzo. He did impact a lot of young peoples lifes. He was a good person. May he rest in peace.

  • Mike Spears

    I played on the 1977 team and everything we achieved we owe to dick. After the season he got me into coaching and I’m still coaching today at Timberline HS in Lacey, WA. Dick was my mentor and a good friend. He taught me everything i know about offensive football. Rest in peace coach, you will be missed.

  • Andy Smith

    I was hoping to play for Coach Valois my junior but he was hired at CAL State Hayward. I coach football at Rocklin HS and have been coaching my girls in softball for 10 years and every time I give a kid a nickname I think of Coach….I remember him calling Gary Bass (Sam) and many others ETC. ETC.

    He sent me a letter from CAL STATE after the HAAL ALL-League vote that I still have 23 years later.


    Thanks COACH

  • Greg Yoder

    I played football at San Lorenzo High from 1967 to 1970. Coach Valois came on the field in my junior year and he was an instant icon as far as i was concerned. He was a driving force that ultimately set a high standard among all students as well as athletes. I’m very sorry to hear of his passing, however very blessed to have known him.

    Thanks Coach Valois

  • kathy totty/padeiro

    What sad sad news..I just found out from a friend on mr valois passing..I was in his s.s. class as well 88 89..may he rest in peace! He was one of the best teachers that I had..he taught ppl a lot! I loved loved going to his class first period! Such a great man !! R.I.P. mr valois! U aremissed and thought about !

  • april murphy-sharp

    One of my best memories at slz was Mr. Valois class. He could always put a smile on your face. Why I remember him so much is because my best friend Kathy and I had his history class together and we would run in drop our books and leave. After a few times of that he gave us a name, we were the “Tardy Twins”. He was a great teacher and man may he rest in peace, and prays to his family….

  • Richard Acquistapace

    Coach Valois was the best coach I ever had. When I attended California State University, Hayward the team had just come off a loss – I did not know that, as I just wanted to “throw the brick.” I asked Coach Valois if I could join the squad and utilize what skills I had at quarterback to help the team. He kindly allowed me. I worked with the team and helped them every game. I believe he found potential in me and began to work with me both on and off the field. He was rough on me but he knew I had much more in me as a quarterback. The only loss (when I was there) was against UC Davis. The Pioneers went 8-2 that year. I give no credit to head Coach Tim Tierney or defensive coach Don Sawyer. Coach Valois was light years ahead of them. He was a good man who would always tell you what was on his mind and would never lie to anyone. I greatly respected him for that. When he left Cal State, Hayward, I dropped out of the football program. I have great admiration for him and hope all is well with his family. He is greatly missed. GOD bless him.

  • Mark Lopez

    I was shocked to learn that Mr. Valois had passed… I Graduated from SLZ Class of 1993, therefore I never had the opportunity to call him COACH… Mr. Valois was my Social Studies teacher, and let me tell you, Mr Valois shined just as much in class as he did on the field….He was the quarterback of that classroom and we caught every pass of information he threw.. He was a mentor to me, a man of many talents, and he made us lil shits come in touch with reality… I can still remember Mr Valois saying his famous word ” C-YA .” after every class….. Mr. Valois will be missed…. RIP

  • Pandi Cutkomp

    Mr Valois touched more than just the jocks @ SLZ. He would bring in unusual foods and share them with his students and tell of us places off the beaten path in Nor Cal to visit and expand our horizons. He was passionate about us being good people and enriching our lives. I think of him often. I’m proud to have known him.

  • Rachel Mullens “Silveria”

    I was Mr. Valois teachers aid in my Senior Year, I am so sad to hear he passed away. He was a great friend and a wonderful coach and teacher. Truly a great loss. Prayer to his family and friends. Thank you Mr. Valois for showing me such kindness and friendship. Rachel Ann Silveria Class of 1985

  • Perry Lightfoot

    Dick was an “impact’ guy. He left an indelible mark on every person he met. He was a creative, high impact motivator who’s inspirational words would make you want to walk through a wall for him. He expected excellence and loved to teach.
    He left an impression on my heart and I will always remember him.
    Thanks Dick, for some of the best times of my life and for the opportunity to coach football on your staff.
    Well played, coach.
    Rest in Peace,