David Caplin was a really good guy. The Huntington High School Class of 1974 member achieved success in business and later seized upon an opportunity to coach cross country and track and field. He passed away after a 13 year battle with cancer, but never forgot his alma mater.
A nine-time letter winner at Robert L. Simpson Junior High School and Huntington High School, Mr. Caplin was a National Honor Society member and Regents scholarship recipient as a senior. He went on to graduate from SUNY Binghamton.
Mr. Caplin passed away at home surrounded by his family and friends in September 2014. A group of his Huntington classmates presented two memorial scholarships in his honor at the 51st annual Blue Devil senior athletic awards banquet in Louis D. Giani Gymnasium.
Huntington track and field stars Hadley Clayton and Johnathan Smith are the recipients of the fourth David Caplin Memorial Scholarships for Leadership and Mentorship in Sports. Class of 1974 member Tim Seymour was on hand for the presentation of the $500 awards, which was made before a crowd of about 225.
Ms. Clayton has been a running star for Huntington, competing with and serving as captain of the cross country, indoor and outdoor track team and repeatedly turning in outstanding performances. She has earned All-League, All-Division and Academic All-County honors as well as winning New York State Scholar Athlete Award recognition during every season throughout high school.
“Commitment and dedication to all three programs is why her coaches feel she will be sorely missed as she moves on to college,” Mr. Seymour told a crowd of about 225 attending last week’s banquet. “Her desire to do her very best while helping her teammates made her an important member of these programs.”
Valedictorian of the Class of 2019, Ms. Clayton is headed to Princeton University in the fall.
One of the top high school track and field athletes in the state, Mr. Smith is an exceptional competitor and performer, excelling in multiple events from long jump to hurdles and dashes to various relays. A team captain he has captured All-League, All-Division, All-County, All-Long Island and All-State honors along the way. He was named one of the top five winter track athletes in all of Suffolk this year.
Described by his coaches as hardworking and a leader, his teammates listen to him and follow him and the coaches are very grateful that he has been an integral part of the track and field program,” Mr. Seymour said.
Mr. Smith is in the process of finalizing his college plans. He intends to compete in track and field on the college level.
David Caplin loved to run
David Caplin once described himself as an “intellectual athlete.” He loved to run, but when advancing illness prevented him from doing so, the Huntington alum found solace in coaching cross country and track in Hudson, Ohio, passing along his wisdom and experience to receptive teenagers.
Scholarship organizers established the following criteria for the award:
- While recipients do not need to be at the top of their class, they should have a grade point average of 3.0 or above and be grounded and thoughtful, on and off the playing field.
- The scholarship committee prefers to honor students who have excelled in cross country and track and field running events.
- Dedication to the sport of running as evidenced by multiple years of activity.
- Recipients should be kind and compassionate in their nature, especially toward teammates of lesser talents and generous with their time.
- Recipients should exhibit leadership by always working for the advancement of the team rather than individual glory.
- A sense that persistence always means personal satisfaction. Mr. Caplin’s favorite encouraging phrase with his team was “never, ever give up.”
Those behind the Caplin scholarship thought it might cease to exist, but a call that went out to Class of 1974 members for contributions resulted in the collection of twice as much as the $1,000 that was sought.
Mr. Caplin was the owner of DJC Associates, a consulting firm. He enjoyed discussing history and current events, movies, traveling and playing golf. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Marcy, children Sarahbeth and Greg and brother, Noah Caplin.
One of Mr. Caplin’s last messages to his classmates went like this: “So my friends, does life get difficult? Sure. Is it always fair Heck no! In the end, I think what matters most is what we do with all of that and the lasting impact we leave on those close to us. May you all find peace and contentment in life. I think that’s about the best we can do.”
David Caplin Memorial Scholarship Recipients
2016 Latoya Shand and Kyle O’Brien
2017 Alexis Pastorelli and Shane McGuire
2018 Alexandra McKenzie and Michael Drake
2019 Hadley Clayton and Johnathan Smith