Players and current coaches aren’t the only Seahawks impacting the Pacific Northwest.
My News Tribune colleague Todd Milles has a great profile of Dana LeDuc. He is a former strength and conditioning coach for the Seahawks.
He is the current Helper of Grays Harbor.
Last weekend LeDuc got one of his former bosses in the NFL -- his Super Bowl-winning one -- to come to Ocean Shores on Washington’s Pacific coast. Ex-coach Dick Vermeil teed off as a guest of his former strength coach, for LeDuc’s sixth annual charity golf tournament. It benefits one of LeDuc’s causes in Grays Harbor County, Grays Harbor Youth Athletics.
It’s a indicator of how good a guy LeDuc is that he formed such a bond with Vermeil to have him come out to Grays Harbor to help up his charity -- even though LeDuc worked for Vermeil for only one season. That happened to the be St. Louis Rams’ Super Bowl-winning season of 1999, the year after LeDuc’s last one working for the Seahawks.
“Dana is a special guy,” Vermeil, 80, told Milles. “And the older you get, the more you realize how many obligations you have to the people who have helped you become successful. Dana was instrumental in us turning that whole (Rams) program around.
“And this is my way of saying, ‘Thank you!’”
LeDuc is now 64 and retired. He was born in Tacoma and graduated from Washington High School in Parkland. He was a champion shot-putter for the University of Texas in the mid-1970s. He then became the Longhorns’ first strength and conditioning coach in 1978, focused primarily on Texas’ football program.
Midway through Dennis Erickson’s tenure of winning national championships at the University of Miami, he hired his fellow Western Washington native away from Texas to be Miami’s head strength and conditioning coach. That was in 1992. Erickson took LeDuc with him from the Hurricanes to Seahawks when Erickson moved to the NFL as Seattle’s new head coach in 1995. LeDuc was the Seahawks strength coach until the team fired Erickson in 1998 following Seattle’s 8-8 season.
Milles details that during LeDuc’s time with the Seahawks the coach had a vacation cabin in Grays Harbor County. He found the area west of Olympia on the coast relaxing, but also noticed the region’s tough economic times in the 1990s. That’s when he decided to help -- and has been helping ever since. He’s “adopted,” as Milles writes, the Hoquiam football team among youth sports programs in the county.
You can read all of LeDuc’s story of helping Grays Harbor County here.