My daughter recently informed me that her favorite teacher from San Ramon Valley High School is saying goodbye to teaching after 40 years.
Coach Hans de Lannoy was her yoga instructor nearly two decades ago, yet she still remembers him for "inspiring the uninspired."
I have a feeling those were words he used often in her class, along with "intensity," "a paragon of physical efficiency" and "you just earned 100 Mr. de Lannoy-likes-me points."
Just check his Facebook page, where he has over 1,000 followers, and you can read words of appreciation from his students, like this:
Facebook: "I had a dream last night that you were giving the most epic speech of all time! All the baby wolves coming in are definitely missing out on the most magical experience ever!" -- Alyssa.
I sat down with this epic teacher over coffee to ask him some questions before he officially retires. It wasn't an easy task. We were interrupted constantly by his friends and former students who wanted to stop by and say hello. When I managed to get a word in, I asked him why he chose teaching as a career -- and why yoga?
"After playing basketball at Cubberly High School in Palo Alto," de Lannoy said, "I got a job there coaching. When the school closed a few years later, I was hired at San Ramon High School. Then, when an opening for a yoga teacher became available, I reluctantly took it, even though I didn't know much about yoga. But I learned over time and came to love teaching it."
Then why retire? I asked.
"Education has changed," he said, after sipping his caramel mocha frappaccino. "Plus, I'm getting double knee replacement surgery from playing basketball all those years."
Facebook: "Coach, you're the man. Congrats on your official retirement. You have already accomplished so much and had such an impact in my life." — Curt.
So what's next for a man who's already done so much for kids?
"I'd like to run some events for charity," said de Lannoy, "teach at the gym, and I'm having a retirement party in August and invited everyone on my Facebook page."
Coach de Lannoy is known for his motivational speeches. He seems to have a natural knack for it, whether it's preparing his team for a game, or just inspiring students to give their all.
"I gave my first speech at a rally when I was a senior in high school," he said. "Since then I've given over 40 speeches at rallies, and 10 commencement speeches. I'll do anything to promote the best in people."
Facebook: "Sending my deepest respect, gratitude and appreciation to coach Hans de Lannoy, retiring after educating, encouraging and nurturing students and athletes over five decades. Thanks for the life lessons, coach." -- Paul.
So what will he miss the most?
The coach smiled. "The day-to-day contact with the students. I enjoyed making their day a little better, and hopefully changing their lives. I only wish I'd gotten to know the entire student body. I used to know everyone on campus."
"You can't possibly know how much it means to all past students that you know our names from years past!!" -- Kelly.
We're saying farewell, but not goodbye. Coach de Lannoy will still be around -- at the coffee shop, in the gym, and on Facebook, inspiring everyone he meets.