Episcopal’s Claney Duplechin has earned the 2012 Gill Athletics National High School Coach of the Year for boys track and field.
The award, given by Gill Athletics and USA Track & Field, is based an evaluation process that includes breaking down a large list of nominees on regional levels before national winners are selected.
“I’m thrilled to be in the presence of past winners and the other coaches nominated for this award,” Duplechin said. “It’s a great honor for me, but this isn’t about just me. I’ve had so many great athletes and assistant coaches who share part of this.”
Duplechin is the second local winner of the national award, joining Catholic High coach Pete Boudreaux, who won the boys award in 2010. Bob Leetch, of Redondo (Calif.) Union High, is the 2012 girls winner.
“Claney Duplechin has lived and breathed athletics since he was a boy in Mamou,” Episcopal Head of School Hugh McIntosh said in a school news release. “Early on, he developed high standards in an enviable competitive spirit. He is a great coach, but more than that, I don’t know a better man.”
Duplechin will receive his award from Gill and USA Track & Field at halftime of a football game this fall at Episcopal. His program also will receive a $5,000 award to purchase equipment.
“Claney is a coach who has given a lot to the track and field sport,” said Mike Cunningham, of Gill Athletics, in a USA Track & Field news release. “In partnership with the USA Track & Field association, it is great for us to be able to honor him and give back to his program. Claney is well-deserving of this honor.”
In 34 years as head track coach at Class 2A Episcopal, Duplechin’s boys teams have won 30 district titles, 27 regional titles and 10 state championships. His teams also have four runner-up finishers at the district level, five regional runners-up honors and have been the state runners-up nine times.
Dupechin’s athletes have made 334 appearances at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s state outdoor championships. He has coached 63 state champions, including 11 pole vaulters, nine 1,600 meters runners and eight champions each in the 800 and 3,200.
In addition, Duplechin has been voted the East Baton Rouge Parish Coach of the Year 19 times. Since the LHSAA went to two divisions for indoor track and field, Duplechin’s teams have won three Division II titles (for Classes 3A and below) and posted three runner-up finishes.
In 2003, Duplechin was honored as the National Cross Country Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations. His Episcopal cross country teams have won 22 state titles, including the last 16 in a row in Class 2A, which ranks second on the NFHS’ all-time list.
“This really is something special,” Duplechin said. “And to be associated with an award that Pete (Boudreaux) also won means a lot, too.”