Holy Cross football coach Bob DeJulius in 2007 with the Pepsi Bowl trophy his Surrey-based team won that year in a victory over St. Thomas More. “That was a career highlight for sure, and we won the AAA B.C. championship that year, too, which was great,” he said. (Photo: submitted)

Pioneer at Surrey’s Holy Cross school gets call from BC Football Hall of Fame

At age 77, Bob DeJulius is still as assistant coach with junior team at Fleetwood-area school

Bob DeJulius retired from work as principal of Surrey’s Holy Cross Regional High School back in 2010, but he never quite retired from coaching football there.

At age 77, he’s still helping to guide the school’s current junior team, as an assistant coach.

“I still help with them, and that’s about my level now,” DeJulius told the Now-Leader. “They’re having a tough time now, and I can still do it, so I might as well do it.”

DeJulius will be on another football field in Vancouver this Saturday night (Nov. 3), when he’ll be among BC Football Hall of Fame inductees honoured during the B.C. Lions’ game against Calgary.

The hall’s 2018 class includes DeJulius in the builder’s category, along with Don Berger, Dave Ritchie and Wayne Steele.

In 1982, DeJulius became the founding principal at Holy Cross, and also got the school’s football program off the ground.

Years earlier, His football resumé also includes a 10-year stint at Simon Fraser University in the 1970s, a “golden period” when the Clan roster included future CFLers such as Lui Passaglia, Glen Jackson and Nick Hebeler.

“Bob not only oversaw the development of many great players who would make their mark on professional football,” says a BC Football Hall of Fame bio, “but also developed many individuals who would go on to give back to football in the province at the high school level, many of whom have become legends and hall-of-famers in their own right including the likes of Denis Kelly, George Oswald, Tom Kudaba, Frank Roberto, Shawn Olson and Jay Prepchuk.”

On the athletes side, this year’s hall inductees include Hebeler, Rick Klassen, Akbal Singh, John Beaton, Mike Beaton and J.R. Davies.

• RELATED STORY: Tributes aside, retiring BC Lions’ coach focused on ‘winning the next game’

Other 2018 inductees are Mike Beamish (media), the 1968 Notre Dame Jugglers (team), the Vancouver Island Raiders Junior Football Club (special award) and Wally Buono (CFL Bob Ackles Award).

“For anything, it’s nice to be recognized,” DeJulius said. “I put a lot of years into football and it was a big part of my life, and my family’s life, too. The grandkids are more excited about it than I am, really,” he added with a laugh. “In that sense it’s nice, too, because with coaching, I was away from my family a lot of time, too.”

Today, DeJulius lives in the Willoughby area of Langley.

“For a long time we lived in Surrey, in Fleetwood,” he said. “We moved there in 1987 and lived there until around four years ago. We moved here (to Langley) to live on one level, that’s all.”

He has fond memories of his work to build Holy Cross into a football power, including a provincial championship in 2007.

“I’ve helped scout there, coach, a bit of everything, and I’ll always be there in one way or another,” DeJulius said.

“I put my life and blood into that place to get it going, and those first few years were pretty interesting.”

On Saturday at BC Place Stadium, DeJulius will be in attendance for the hall of fame ceremonies and also for the annual Faith & Family Night the Lions host in partnership with Trinity Western University.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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