Foothill College football coach Doug Boyett passes away


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.


Like this comment
Posted by mark meyers
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 30, 2012 at 1:20 pm

What a great man, what a great athlete, what a great coach... You will be missed by all of us. Rest in peace brother.

Like this comment
Posted by Joe Schmelzer
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Loved him as a coach, played for him at Foothill. He embodied the defensive mentality, and used to always say things like "We need ATHLETES on Defense!" I was proud to play for him. Good guy.

4 people like this
Posted by Jim Fairchild
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm

What a sad day it has been when I heard about Doug's passing. Doug was a dedicated football coach and player. He was from a family of football people which has been carried on the three generations I have known the Boyetts.

I remember the toughness and willingness to work hard to achieve his goals. We have lost a good one. God bless him and his family.

Like this comment
Posted by Karen Lillard
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 30, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Thoughts and prayers to Lisa and the rest of the Boyett family. Doug was a good man who gave his all to the young adults he coached, taught and helped find their way. Rest in peace Doug.

Like this comment
Posted by Brian K. Irvine
a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2012 at 5:53 pm


Had the opportunity to be a teammate (@Foothill) with Doug. Sent my oldest son (Brian) up there (fall 2011), to play for coach and experience the great community there. Was in shock when Brian gave me the news on Saturday. My prayers go out to his wife and family. I know my son and his teammates with the resolve of the community will get through all this.

Competitive Spirit

Like this comment
Posted by Jamie Gustafson
a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Thank you Boyett for caring for my son and his friends at Foothill! Thank you for the love you shared with my father too! You will be missed!! Our prayers and thoughts go to his family.....I pray for peace and some comfort for them and everyone.

Don't think of him as gone away his journey's just begun, life holds so many facets this earth is only one. Just think of him as resting from the sorrows and the tears in a place of warmth and comfort where there are no days and years. Think how he must be wishing that we could know today how nothing but our saddness can really pass away. AND THINK OF HIM AS LIVING IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE HE TOUCHED FOR NOTHING LOVES IS EVER LOST AND HE WAS LOVED SO MUCH.

Like this comment
Posted by Tailoni Tenisi
a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2012 at 11:01 pm

I had an opportunity to played for coach Boyett when he was a Defensive of Coordinator before became a Head coach. I was also an assistant coach under him in 2008-2009 seasons. He was always driven for excellent and also a great family man with a genuine and generous Huge heart. You will be missed from Foothill family.

Rest in Peace coach & best friend, lots of love from the Tenisis family in the South Bay......

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Posted by Shelly Boz
a resident of Los Altos
on Jan 31, 2012 at 10:04 am

I attended Foothill with Doug and worked with him at Foothill. Doug was one of those people that once you met him he was hard to forget. He loved his family, his players, and life. He loved what he did and impacted a lot of lives because he cared about his students and players. He will be terribly missed :(

Like this comment
Posted by Stuart Pendleton
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 31, 2012 at 10:18 am

Went K thru 12 with Doug.
A fiery, energetic competitor and very positive – always Team Captain during recess at Walter Hays Elementary School !
If he was in the room, you knew it.
God Bless him and the Boyett family.

Like this comment
Posted by Marc Wilkins
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm

I played for Coach Fairchild back in '82 & '83, when Doug and Dan were both defensive assistants for us...when I returned from playing @ Fullerton State, I had had the honor of helping Coach Fairchild, and specifically Doug, redesign and implement some of the Special Teams...when I heard that Doug had taken over the program, I had been meaning to get over there (I'm currently in Modesto) for the last couple of years and try to get in touch with him...very sorry to hear about his passing, I know he will be missed by many!!!...I had often wondered about "that Boyett kid" I kept seeing in the DUCKS defensive backfield...I just knew he had to be related!!!

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Posted by John Casaretto
a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Coach Boyett,
You'll be missed. Thanks for everything..

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Posted by James Clarke
a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2012 at 6:30 pm

I had the oppertunity to play against Doug when I was at Sequoia in the Mid 70's and later he became a teammate at Foothill when I returned from the Army in 79, We developed a friendship over the years, I caught some of Foothills games as well as send some of my athletes to Foothill as a HS Football Coach. He was a good friend and a good coach. He left all of us far to soon. May his family and friends take comfort that for the short time he spent here on earth. He lived his life unselfishly and was a true mentor to his players and a Friend to Us all.. RIP Doug! See ya when I see ya!

2 people like this
Posted by Ed Hart
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 31, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Having coached Doug for 4 years in wrestling and sharing is triumphs and his sorrows through those years I feel truly saddened to hear of his passing, especially so young. Doug always wrestled his heart out, even when his last match was with a destroyed knee for the good of the team. We will miss this warrior with a big heart.

Like this comment
Posted by Mary Luke
a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Doug was our Deep Water Running instructor for the past several years at Foothill College. We are going to really miss his wonderful sense of humor. Rest in peace coach.

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Posted by Robin Soderblom
a resident of Woodside
on Jan 31, 2012 at 9:54 pm

I had the pleasure to play for Coach Boyett during the 2008 season. He was a great man and coach. I'm sad I didn't get to know you earlier in life. You will be missed! RIP

Like this comment
Posted by Sally (Wookey) & Mike Smith
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 1, 2012 at 4:42 pm

We are so shocked and sad to read that Doug unexpectly passed away. He was a wonderful guy and from a family known to everyone...especially in the athletic community. Doug was so humble and genuine and that is rare these days. We were privileged to have grown up with the Boyetts in the "good old days". Doug you will always have a special place in our hearts. Our deepest condolences to the entire Boyett family.

Like this comment
Posted by Matt Kelly
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 2, 2012 at 11:21 am

My thoughts and prayers go out to Lisa and the Boyett family!!!
I met Doug when I was 14 years old. My brother and I use to play hoops with Doug and Marshall and the crew on Wednesday nights up at Foothill. I can't explain in words how Doug treated and Taught my brother and I how to be young men!! He took us in and it's been a long lasting friendship ever since.
I will never forget the nickname that stuck with him that Sperbeck gave him , Dougie Fresh you will be missed BY ALL

Like this comment
Posted by James McKeever
a resident of another community
on Feb 2, 2012 at 9:38 pm

R.I.P. Coach Boyett,
I had the pleasure to play for coach Boyett during 86-88. Coach Boyett pushed me to excel at everything that I did.I'm so grateful for that defensive mentality that he instilled in me.Thank you for believing and helping me play at the next level. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Boyett family.

Like this comment
Posted by John Newman
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Feb 3, 2012 at 11:04 am

I'm still in a state of shock. I met Doug while playing FB at Sonoma state. We were teammates & roommates, what i rememember most about Doug was his mental toughness and how much of a nice guy he was. I also was coached by his older brother while attending Foothill jc and know what an awesome family he had. My prayers go out to his family, very sad day.

Like this comment
Posted by Matt Miley
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 3, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I'm deeply saddens by the loss is "dougie fresh". I came to foothill as the smallest and youngest freshman in 91-92 and I immediately become a fan of his, because he believed I would be good. Old school football and the love for his players and fellow coaches sticks with me to this very day! U you will b missed!

Like this comment
Posted by Gail Slocum
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 15, 2012 at 10:22 pm

I went through K - 12 with Doug, back in the pre-Prop 13 Palo Alto Schools: first Walter Hays, then Jordan Jr. High (back when it was 7 - 9th grade and still "the Dolphins"), and then Paly class of '77. It was a great time to be growing up in Palo Alto!

I lived around the corner from Doug from 8th grade through Senior year, so we saw each other "arounnd," even though I was in the studious student government/choir/musicals (nerd) caste, while he was one of the biggest jocks and cool dudes (part of that much vaunted"Michelob gang," partying with the pom pom girls, I think.)

Even though Doug and his Dad and whole family were all really talented atheletes, Doug was a really down to earth guy who wasn't one of those jocks who wouldn't give a nerd like me the time of day

It's such a shock to unexpectedly lose such a vibrant person so suddenly at such a young age (yes, 52 seems young to me now that I'm that age too!). May his wife Lisa and his whole family find peace and comfort in each others arms during this difficult time.

May those whose lives he touched carry on his best qualities -- and make a difference to a young person just as Doug did for so many students he coached.

Via con Dios, Doug!

Gail Slocum
Former Mayor, Menlo Park, CA

Like this comment
Posted by Team_player
a resident of Los Altos
on Mar 31, 2012 at 9:12 am

I was on the team with him in 2007. he was a great coach.
This is sad.

Like this comment
Posted by Ralph Garcia, Jr.
a resident of another community
on Dec 14, 2012 at 6:35 pm

My brother Pat and I played football with Doug under coach Fairchild. He was a heck of a competitor and was one of the first to really embrace strength training. When he was playing he was already like a coach out on the field.

So sorry to hear this news.

Like this comment
Posted by Mark Pepin
a resident of Woodside
on Dec 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Thank you Coach Boyett for everything you did for me. I had the pleasure of playing for you in 85. The world is a lesser place with out you. God bless you and your family.

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