By Keith Peters
Palo Alto Online Sports
Doug Boyett was a football man and a family man. That was evident when he traveled to Pasadena earlier this month to watch his nephew, John, help the Oregon Ducks beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
John, a free safety, was the Ducks' leading tackler for the second time in three seasons and had been accorded second-team honors on the All-Pac-12 Conference team. His father, Dan, and family also was on hand for the big game.
"Doug traveled with us to a lot of games," said Dan. "There wasn't any conflict with Foothill football. He was at the national championship game last year (Oregon vs. Auburn) and the LSU (Oregon) game this year. He's made all the big bowl games with us."
If Doug wasn't watching one nephew at Oregon games, he was attending UC Davis contests to see his other nephew, Charles.
Those days of family trips to football games, however, have come to an end for Doug Boyett following his death this past weekend at age 52.
Boyett, the head football coach at Foothill College and a Palo Alto High graduate, passed away in his sleep on Friday night. Cause of death has not yet been determined.
"He was a typical Boyett," said Tony Brewer, who was on the Paly wrestling team with Boyett with Brewer was a senior and Boyett was a sophomore in 1975. "He was very tough, very competitive; a good athlete. I was really happy to see how well he was doing at Foothill."
Boyett was a former Foothill College student, athlete, instructor, and coach. He became a full-time faculty member in 1990 and assumed responsibility as head coach of the football team in 2007.
"He cared deeply for his students and took great pride in their academic accomplishments, which were numerous under his guidance," said Foothill president Judy C. Miner in a release to the faculty on Saturday. "He will be greatly missed by his Foothill family."
Miner said she expected to hear from the family sometime after Tuesday regarding memorial services and that Foothill will be organizing an on-campus celebration of Boyett's life.
A public viewing will be held Friday, Feb. 10, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Roller, Hapgood & Tinney, 980 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto.
A public memorial will be Saturday, Feb. 11, at 1 p.m. at the Foothill College Gymnasium, 12345 El Monte Road in Los Altos Hills. Parking Lot 2-A provides best access to the gym.
Boyett took over the Owls' football program in 2007 after 20-plus years as the defensive coordinator. In his five years as head coach, the Owls went 41-13 and won four bowl games and finished ranked fourth in the nation in 2007 -- the team's highest national ranking ever -- and seventh in 2010.
A full-time assistant coach and physical education instructor since '90, Boyett was the fifth coach to lead Foothill. He followed Bill Abbey (1958-1975); Jim Fairchild (1975-1985); Gene Scattini (1985-1994); and Marshall Sperbeck (1994-2006).
"I am saddened by the loss of such a good teacher,coach and friend," said Sperbeck, whose move to Sacramento State for the 2007 season opened the door for Boyett to take over at Foothill. "Doug and I worked together for 22 years. We shared a lot of good memories together, both on and off the field. He was a good-hearted person who enjoyed helping kids. He always saw the good in people. I wish his wife Lisa and all his brothers and sisters the best in this difficult time."
Success on the field also transferred into the classroom with some 90 percent of Boyett's student-athletes transferring to four-year universities. The Owls averaged 13 scholarships each season earning a reputation among four-year universities as a place to find exceptional young men. In recent years, student-athletes from Foothill's football program have transferred to USC, Cal, Oregon State, Arizona State, San Jose State, among others.
"I met him when I was kid," said Tony Kelly, who has been the receivers' coach at Palo Alto High. "I had the chance to play for him and coach with him. He loved kids . . . all his players and any child that crossed his path. His style was old school and the players loved him for it."
Boyett attended Foothill and played defensive back under Fairchild in 1978-1979. He played one year at Sonoma State, and earned his bachelor's degree in physical education at Chico State. He also held a master's degree in physical education from St. Mary's College in Moraga.
Boyett was a 1977 graduate of Palo Alto High and played football for Bob Pedersen. He missed his senior year due to a knee injury. Boyett also wrestled and played some baseball. He was in the same graduating class as Dave Schultz, who went on to win an Olympic gold medal in wrestling.
Boyett, the youngest of nine children, grew up in Palo Alto and played Little League baseball among other things.
Boyett is survived by his wife, Lisa. His mother passed away late last year.