Mark Loureiro just concluded what can only be described as a spectacular career. Only one other coach in the entire history of California High School football has won more games at a public school. Including private schools, which have competitive advantages over public schools, only the famed Bob Ladouceur from De La Salle High School has more and they made a movie about him. Mark’s 281 wins ranks third all time.
It wasn’t just a matter of longevity either. Mark won 82 percent of his games. Think about that. At a public school you have to play with who shows up. In all those 30 years Mark had only one athlete who received a Division 1 football scholarship. At times he was playing against teams that had as many as four or five on a team. Combine that with the fact that you cannot make the same demands of a public school athlete that you can at private schools like mandatory weightlifting sessions and eschewing family summer vacations and you can in perspective see what he accomplished.
Most in Escalon may not realize Mark did not play football after high school. He had no college football career to draw from when he started coaching. He played baseball at Stanislaus State and then professionally in the Giants chain. He was self-taught in football. What he did do was recruit assistants who did have college careers. He let them coach too. He didn’t act like a control freak who treats his assistants as slightly upgraded kids. He kept that staff together for almost 20 years. That is unheard of too. I always felt they didn’t get enough credit so a big tip of the hat to Al Caton (Hayward State), Ray Scott (Utah State), Max Goldstein (Stanford) and Mike Backovich (Sacramento State) who were the core of this program. There was stability at the lower levels too with Randy Northcutt logging in 20-plus years as the JV head coach and Roger Beeman about the same as freshman coach. You don’t keep people together for 20 years unless you make it pleasant to do so, especially when they are mostly all unpaid volunteers.
Mark had great assistants but what he brought to the table was a combination of passion, charisma and a competitive spirit that spilled over to his players and assistants. It even spilled over to his game night sideline crew which, like Mark, (Captain Lou) sported some colorful names like Snake, Bullwinkle, Bird Dog and MelonMan.
Three State Titles, eight Section Titles, a bucketful of TVL titles, 281 wins, 82 percent win percentage … it just doesn’t get much better than that. He made history; now he walks off in to it. Enjoy your retirement, Captain Lou.