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Meet Lou Reynaud

Catholic Charities San Francisco’s impact and imprint on the Bay Area is profound. We are celebrating our 170th anniversary of serving one person, one family, and one community at a time with a new series introducing the people who make up our story—and whose efforts built (and rebuilt) San Francisco along the way. 

Today, meet one of those people, Lou Reynaud: Legendary CCCYO and San Francisco community leader, Catholic Charities SF board member, veteran Bay Area high school D1 basketball coach (UC Berkeley, University of Houston, Rice University, UC Santa Barbara); former Oakland PD Officer, and current UCSB administrator and Santa Barbara Fire & Police Commissioner. 

Born and raised in San Francisco and educated at St. Emydius, Louis Reynaud, aka “Lou MacAdoo” is an icon in Bay Area and national coaching and Catholic philanthropy circles—including CYO. As a CYO Camp alumni, Advisory Council Board member—and epic fundraiser—Lou’s eponymous CCCYO Camp golf tournament has sent over 2,000 mostly kids to camp, changing lives and San Francisco for the better. 

Young Lou: St. Emydius SF student, parishioner, athlete and budding coach

Q1: Lou, let’s start at the beginning— share your upbringing, family background, and how you got your start in CCCYO athletics. What was your favorite sport back then?

A1: “I was born and raised in San Francisco. My parents, Alfred and Grace, were devout Catholics, and we attended church every Sunday (St. Emydius). I have three brothers, John, Drew, and Dan.  We were all baptized and confirmed at St. Emydius; it was our life. Everything we did was tied to the school, church, and parish. My classmates are still friends to this day.

My brothers and I played every sport CYO offered at St. Emydius: Basketball, baseball, track, and soccer. I excelled at all sports, as did my brothers. I had nuns as teachers; like my parents, they were very strict disciplinarians. My favorite sport was basketball. I later played in high school (Archbishop Riordan High School, San Francisco) and college (Skyline College, San Bruno). I also became a high school and college coach.”

With Los Angeles Lakers’ Gabe Vincent, whom Lou coached at UCSB

Q2: Your life reads like a masterclass in service, leadership, and community impact: basketball coach and administrator positions at top universities (UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley, University of Houston, Rice University); City of Santa Barbara Fire & Police Commissioner; Oakland Police Officer; Member of Board of Trustees, Archbishop Riordan; Member of BoD, Catholic Charities of SF. How did CCCYO help create your sense of purpose to accomplish all of these things? Please share any CCCYO “magic moments,” coaches, etc., that helped make Lou Reynaud.

A2: While at St. Emydius, besides my parents and the nuns, the biggest influence in my life was the athletic director and my coach (and CCCYO-SF Hall of Fame Member) Wilbur “Bud” Swell. (Bud was inducted into the CYO Hall of Fame in 2013 and passed in 2020.) My 8th-grade team he coached had the most wins by any CYO team in any season: 97-1!

No other coach or administrator has influenced youth in any parish more than Bud. From Bud, I learned work ethic, teamwork, humility, sportsmanship, fair play, fun, technical & tactical coaching, and how to win and lose with grace and class. Our one loss that year was to Sacred Heart. Bud called time out late in the game with about 15 seconds left; the outcome was already decided.  My teammates and I were very emotional. Bud made us all put our arms around each other and told us that he loved each of us, and as soon as the buzzer went off, to shake  our opponents’ hands, look them in the eye, and said, “Good game.” 

I have never forgotten this. Bud and CYO fostered a “no excuses” culture. For the last three decades, every team I have coached has had this and other core values that I learned from Bud. Because of Bud, I ended up at CYO Camp, became a teacher and coach, and decided on a life focused on “service.”

Q3: Along with all your other responsibilities—you’ve also found time to give back to where it all started for you, CYO. (President and Advisory Board Member of Caritas Creek at CCCYO Camp; Advisory Board-Occidental). What keeps you connected to CCCYO?

A3: “I believe in the vision and mission of CCCYO-SF. The people I have worked with have inspired me to remain involved and continue serving. I have been blessed in my life and  have always felt a need to ‘give back.’” Feeling intense optimism motivates me and those around me about lifelong friendships and bonds. It inspires me to think I can promote and help institute positive change in our community and society.”   

Lou at CYO Camp, 1985; at the CYO Camp Alumni Golf Day

Q4: Tell us about your early days at CCCYO. And how can people best help today’s CCCYO in San Francisco?

A4: I went to CYO Camp Occidental (in Sonoma County) when I was 16 as a counselor in training, or ‘CIT.’  I eventually did pretty much everything, from a head counselor to a bus driver. I have felt God’s presence at the many masses and celebrations I have attended at CYO Camp then and over the past four decades. The beautiful amphitheater nestled amongst the towering redwood trees, hearing the Lord’s word while seeing the sunshine and clouds above. Singing, praying, and celebrating. It motivates me to think I can promote and help institute positive change in our community and society.  

CYO Occidental recently celebrated its 75th anniversary and is doing well. But a lot has evolved; CYO today is going through many changes. In the late 1960s or ’70s, anyone could afford CYO; now, it’s more expensive. Plus, a lot more risk management. There’s much more competition today from all types of other camps. But CYO’s mission and role in the San Francisco community today to serve inner city kids is more needed than ever.

A great way to help, of course, is by giving! (via CCCYO’s Alumni page’s giving link here). We are doing all we can to help CCCYO camp compete, including through our annual golf tournament. Another way to help is by participating in our annual alumni golf tournament. 

Lou with daughter Lauren Reynaud) at Catholic Charities San Francisco’s 2022 Loaves and Fishes Gala

Q5: Lou, what do you want people to know about Catholic Charities San Francisco and its connection to CYO?

A6: “Longevity is one of the tests of greatness. CCSF has served hundreds of thousands for 170 years. The 30-plus social service programs continue to do amazing work to serve the most needy, vulnerable, and forgotten. One of my favorite statements is: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I have not lived a perfect life and have made many mistakes. I want people to know I have cared, served, and given back. I believe in social justice, the underdog, and the “have-nots.” I am blessed, thankful, and hopefully humble. Catholic Charities San Francisco shares those values and puts them into practice, serving tens of thousands of the most vulnerable in our community daily.”

*Before becoming a Division 1 college basketball coach, Lou compiled an 84-31 record as head coach at De La Salle High. He led De La Salle to 1994 and 1996  league titles and was twice named the Bay Valley Athletic League Coach of the Year. Lou’s 1995 squad captured the Division NorCal championship and finished second in California, earning a No. 1 ranking in the Bay Area for the first time in school history. His 1995 squad captured the Division NorCal championship and finished second in the state, earning a No. 1 ranking in the Bay Area for the first time in school history.

Do you have a CCSF-CYO story to share? Contact Tom Bowen, Chief Philanthropy Officer, at tombowen@catholiccharitiessf.org