CHAMPAIGN-- Gill Athletics and USA Track & Field (USATF) announced the 2012 Gill Athletics National High School Track & Field Coaches of the Year today. This inaugural honor recognizes one high school girls’ program coach and one high school boys’ program coach that exemplifies excellence in his/her coaching record and team’s performances, while also exhibiting positive service to his/her team, school and community.
This year, Claney Duplechin from Episcopal High School (La.) took home the boys’ accolade while Bob Leetch from Redondo Union High School (Calif.) earned the girls’ award.
In 34 years at Episcopal High School, Duplechin’s teams have won 30 district championships, 27 regional championships and 10 Louisiana State Championships. His athletes have made 334 state championship appearances, including 63 state champions. In 1999 he was named the Louisiana Track Coach of the Year.
“I have been truly blessed to have had wonderful kids and assistant coaches to work with,” said Duplechin. “This award is for them as much as it is for me.”
Leetch, who took over the Redondo Union program in 2005, finished the 2012 regular season ranked No. 1 in the nation’s girls distance program by ESPN High School Track & Field in association with DyeStat with 28 elite performances. Also in 2012, Leetch’s team ranked No. 20 in the nation in girls track & field programs with 37 elite performances across all events.
“To be acknowledged on such a national scale is very exciting and, in my opinion, more of a reflection of the hard work put in by our student athletes and fine staff,” commented Leetch.
The high schools of each winning coach will receive Gill Athletics track & field equipment valued at $5,000. In addition, the respective Coach of the Year will be honored at an awards presentation at an event hosted at their hometown.
“Bob and Claney epitomize what it means to be a high school coach in America,” commented Mike Cunningham, Gill Athletics Track & Field Specialist. “Like our past winners, they have affected so many young people in a positive manner and it is our privilege to honor them and their programs with $5000 in Gill Athletics equipment.”
Regional finalists on the Boys’ side included Chris Cohen, Minnetonka High School (Minn.); Stephen Carson, Chandler High School (Ariz.) and Kevin McEvoy, East Brunswick High School (N.J.). Regional finalists for the girls’ honor included Barry Haworth, Assumption High School (Ky.); Keith Woods, Hickory High School (Penn.) and Joe Carpenter, Cedar Bluff High School (Ala.).
Gill Athletics National High School Track & Field Coach of the Year nomination and selection details follow:
The Gill Athletics National High School Track & Field Coach of the Year nomination forms can be found at www.GillCoachoftheYear.com. Coaches, Athletic Directors, school administrators, athletes, booster clubs, parents, and anyone interested may nominate a coach next year for the 2013 honor.
About Gill Athletics
Gill Athletics, founded in 1918, is the world’s oldest and largest manufacturer of Track & Field equipment. Gill implements and equipment are in use on most of America’s collegiate, high school, and junior high school tracks & fields. For more information about Gill Athletics, visit www.gillathletics.com.
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