UHEF & Uni News


May, 2017

Coach and teacher Duane LaRue passes at 81

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[Posted May 15, 2017] Longtime Uni teacher, coach and legend Duane LaRue passed away on May 8, based on information gathered today.

Pictured above: Duane LaRue on the right, congratulating Uni coach Dick Kampmann on the City track & field title in 1970.

Born in Los Angeles in 1935, he graduated from Washington High School and went to Pepperdine College – as it was known then – on a football scholarship. He came to Uni for the 1962-63 school year as a physical education teacher and the co-coach for football and coach for gymnastics.

He had a long and successful career at Uni, which included making the gymnastics program one of the best in the City, winning the 1970 All-City team championship. He continued at Uni for 32 academic years and finally retired as Physical Education department chairman and Athletic Director at the close of the 1993-94 academic year.

Did you know that during his early years of teaching he was also a part-time scout for the Los Angeles Rams?

LaRue was a popular figure on campus despite an outwardly gruff demeanor. He demanded effort and excellence at all levels and from everyone he worked with, but with a sense of humor – if you weren’t too scared to let it come out over time – that endeared him to many. In 1987, he was presented with an Apple Award for teaching excellence by Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.

Coach LaRue retired to his home in Saugus, but suffered a serious fall from the roof of his house in 2003 and suffered lasting injuries to his memory.


9 thoughts on “Coach and teacher Duane LaRue passes at 81

  1. Wayman Ricks

    I am of.the class of 82 and will always remember his enthusiasm when I played football. When we played away games you would always here his call for the “Rooter Bus!” I am so sorry to hear about his passing. Thank you coach La Rue for being a part of my high school experience. My condolences to your family.


    • bill teweles

      THANK you for your excellent tribute to Coach LaRue and for remembering other members of the University High family. Watching gymnastics out of Tokyo this week (on NBC), I’m reminded how incredibly popular gymnastics became at UniHi in the late 60s and early 70s and Duane LaRue deserves much of the credit. Can’t remember ever attending a dull gymnastics meet in the old gym on Westgate thanks largely to him. Take good care, then!


  2. Art Maeda

    Coach La Rue was a patient coach even if you weren’t that good of an athlete. We used to call him the machine. I was on his gymnastic team from 1964-1967. Coach LaRue was the only teacher I could remember. R.I.P. Coach we will remember you.

    Art Maeda class of 67


  3. Gary Lynch, Winter '68

    I played football for Coach LaRue from ’65 – ’67. I wasn’t the best player for sure and I can remember several times when he yelled at me, really to encourage me to do better. I always respected him and he remains one of my favorite memories of my time at Uni.


  4. Dave Dutra '71

    Coach LaRue was an athletic driver and a coaching machine. He coached me in ’69, ’70, ’71 right into the “Optimist Bowl” the East West All star game at the LA Coliseum in ’71. I still hear his whistle driving us headlong into the blocking sled and his voice yelling “NOSE ON THE NUMBERS”. He loved it when I came to practice with a missing tooth from a bicycle accident over the week end. Then when I came in with a Mohawk hair cut he sat me down in his office and cleaned it up a bit so I could be a respectable Warrior athlete. From a paddle to the stomach for wearing a grey instead of a white t-shirt, to a triumphant yell and multiple play backs of a smashing pass protection block on a charging line backer in Monday’s films of Friday’s game, Coach LaRue along with Coach Sedia shaped me into a blocking / tackling machine. So Long Coach.


  5. Greg White '65

    He was my coach on the gym team from 63-65. We called him “Lash Larue” after the popular western motion picture star of the time that was famous for using a bull whip. Coach LaRue will always have a warm spot in my memories of Uni Hi.


  6. Héctor F. Lerma

    ¡Mr. La Rue, Superman!
    Yo lo conocí a mi llegada a la Uní, como la conocemos. Gracias a Arturo Aguayo quien ya pasó a mejor vida y quien me lo presentó al campeón de gimnasia.
    La fuerza de convicción que tenía este profesor pasaba la norma. Su carisma, su personalidad nos daba el empuje para superarnos. Para alcanzar lo mejor de nosotros mismos. Recuerdo que tomé el periodo “0” y después de cuatro día de trabajo físico-atlético a todo tren, disfrutábamos de un sabroso desayuno en el restaurant enfrente del Friars donde yo trabajaba como ayudante de cocinero.
    Un verdadero modelo al cual sólo puedo decir que yo como profesor de cultura física soy un aprendiz.


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