Outstanding two-way Thunderbird football player; '83 All-Canadian and holder of several UBC kick return records. Played five years in the CFL, was CFL All-Canadian his rookie year in '84. Has played on both a Vanier Cup and Grey Cup champion. Named UBC football head coach in 2002.
A four-year starter with the UBC Thunderbirds under coach Frank Smith, Laurent DesLauriers demonstrated outstanding athletic ability, the finest in school football history according to some, in a UBC career in which he starred at several positions.
As a freshman in 1980, then again in 1981, DesLauriers was a starter at the defensive halfback position. In 1982 he moved to the offensive side of the ball to play as a receiver, utilizing his speed and good hands.
In 1982, DesLauriers was a key component in UBC's fabulous Canadian football (Vanier Cup) championship season. As the slotback on offense, his first season on offense, he was named to the Canada West first All-Star team. He also set four UBC records this '82 season, records that still stand. As the UBC Thunderbirds ace punt and kick-off returner, he returned punts that year for 719 yards, a school record, returned punts for 170 yards in one game, a record, and returned kickoffs for 215 yards in one game, also a Blue and Gold record. In addition, he set the record for UBC's longest-ever kickoff return picking up the ball at his own 3 and going all the way - 107 yards - for a touchdown against the University of Calgary.
In 1983 he returned to the defense as a cornerback, where he was again named to the Canada West first All-star team. It was this year his outstanding and versatile play was nationally recognized as he was selected to the CIAU All-Canadian Team. Not only was DesLauriers one of the country's finest players on both offense and defense but he also excelled on special teams as a kick return specialist. The fifth and sixth school records he set at UBC and held for 24 years are career records, most career punt return yards at 1538 and most kick-off return yards at 1143.
DesLauriers graduated from UBC in 1984 to pursue a career in high school teaching and coaching but not before he carved out a rather distinguished professional football career in the CFL. He played four years with the Edmonton Eskimos and one with the Toronto Argos before injuries finally caused him to retire. In 1984, his rookie year in the CFL, he was named a CFL All- Canadian, a CFL Western All-Star and Edmonton's nominee as the league's outstanding Canadian player. He continued this high level of play through to 1987 when he was a key member of the Eskimos Grey Cup champion team. DesLauriers has the distinction of being a UBC Thunderbird who played on both a Vanier Cup and Grey Cup winning team.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s DesLauriers, who was a high school basketball and football star, taught and coached at his high school alma mater, St. Thomas More Collegiate in Burnaby, BC. In 1992, he returned to UBC football serving as an assistant coach to Frank Smith. In 1995 and 1996, when he was UBC's defensive coordinator, Laurent served with UBC head coach Casey Smith. In 2002, he was hired as the new head football coach of the UBC Thunderbirds and in 2003 joined his teammates from the 1982 UBC football team to be inducted as a team in the UBC Sports Hall of Fame. In 2014 Laurent was inducted into the BC Football Hall of Fame as an Athlete.
Researched and written by Fred Hume, UBC Athletics Historian