Washington State University, Oregon State University, Wapato High School, Head Coach of the U.S. Men’s Team at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games
Hall of Fame Class of 2017
John Chaplin is one of the most accomplished track and field coaches in the history of Washington State. During his twenty-seven year NCAA college coaching career, his teams won a top four NCAA trophy nineteen times. The athletes he coached earned 218 NCAA All-American Certificates with twenty-nine earned in cross country, seventy-five earned in indoor track and field and one hundred fourteen earned in outdoor track and field. He coached ninety individual conference champions with sixty-five of those earning Pacific 10 outdoor track and field titles. He coached seventeen individual NCAA Champions and his athletes won thirty-seven gold medals. Some of the great Cougar track and field athletes that Coach Chaplin mentored and helped develop were Gerry Lindgren, Phil English, John Ngeno, Joshus Kimeto, Samson Kimombwa, Henry Rono, Ian Campbell, Richard Tuwei, Peter Koech, Julius Korir, Tore Gustafsson, Gabriel Tiacoh, Stefen Jonsson, Tony Li, Augustine Olobia, Samuel Kibiri, George Ogbeide, Josephat Kapkory.
Six of his athletes achieved ten different world records:
Boyd Gittins 1975 400m Hurdles (49.1)
John van Reenen 1975 Discus (224’ 8”)
Joshua Kimeto 1975 4000m (10:11.6)
Samson Kimombwa 1977 10,000m (27:30.47)
Henry Rono 1978 3000m Steeplechase (8:05.4), 5000m 13:08.4), & 10,000m (27:22.5)
1981 3000m (7:32.1), 5000m (13:06.2)
Peter Koech 1990 3000m Steeplechase (8:05.35)
During his college coaching career, his teams enjoyed great success! His dual meet record as the head coach at Washington State was 202-15-0, with nine of those teams finishing with undefeated dual meet seasons and six of the teams earning national dual meet titles in 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1991, & 1992. He coached four Pacific 10 Championship Teams in 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1991. His teams finished eleven times in the top ten at the NCAA Indoor National Championship Meet and twelve times in the top ten at the NCAA Outdoor National Championship Meet. In 1977, his Cougar team won the team title at the NCAA Indoor National Championship Meet.
Coach Chaplin graduated in 1955 from Woodrow Wilson High School in Los Angeles, California. He attended Pasadena City College in 1959 and 1960. He attended Washington State University from 1960 to 1963 where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree. He began his teaching and coaching career at Wapato High School where he was hired as the head coach for the track and field team. While at Wapato, he organized the first high school women’s track and field program in the State of Washington in 1964. He was asked to submit recommendations to the Washington High School Association for the governing of women’s interscholastic track and field. The recommendations he submitted were adopted by the Board and many are still in use today. Coach Chaplin left Wapato and went to Oregon State University where he became an assistant coach and earned his Master’s degree. In 1968, he became the head cross country coach at Washington State University, a position he held until 1993. He also served as an assistant track and field coach until being hired as the head coach in 1973. He held that position until 1994. Coach Chaplin’s accomplishments in the sport of Track and Field are many! He has served as a coach, an official, a clinician, an advocate, and a leader in numerous positions.
Organized the first high school women’s track and field program in the State of Washington in 1964.
Served as the editor of the Pacific 10 Track and Field Rule Book from 1969 to 1994.
Served as the meet director of the NCAA Cross Country Championships held in Spokane, Washington in 1973 & 1977.
Served as the meet director of the Pacific 10 Track & Field Championships in 1976, 1984, and 1994.
Served as the Chair of the Operations Committee for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1988, 1992, 1996, 2004, & 2008
Currently serving as the Chair of the Jury of Appeals for USATF
Voted the Pacific 10 Coach of the Year in 1975, 1983, 1985, and 1991
Selected as the NCAA District VIII Coach of the Year in 1975, 1978, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1991
Selected as the International Coach of the Year in 1978
Served as the head coach for the U.S. Team competing in the 1984 Eight Nations Meet held in Tokyo, Japan
Received the 1985 Washington State University Distinguished Alumnus Award
Served as an International Technical Official for the IAAF from 1986 to 2001 serving in fifteen different nations
United States Men’s Head Track and Field Coach for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games
Inducted into the Inland Empire Hall of Fame in 2001
Inducted into the Washington State University Hall of Fame in 2002
Inducted into the Pasadena City College Hall of Fame in 2003
Inducted into the United States Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2004
Inducted into the Washington State High School Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame in 2005
Named USA Track & Field Men’s Chair Emeritus in 2012
It is with the greatest honor that the Washington State Track and Field Coaches Association recognizes John Chaplin as an outstanding coach and one of the most accomplished coaches in state history. His contributions to the sport of track and field are incredibly significant. His legacy is carried on today by the numerous coaches in the state who are Cougar alumni and members of the WSTFCA. It is with great honor that we recognize his important achievements as a coach and his numerous contributions to the sport and welcome John into the Washington State Track and Field Coaches Association Hall of Fame.