John Chaplin, USTFCCCA Class of 2004


A talented competitor and coach, John Chaplin coached at Washington State University from 1968-94.

While at Pasadena City College in 1959, Chaplin ran on PCC’s track & field team and managed to best world-class sprinter, James Bates, in the 100-yard dash by a nanosecond (9.6 seconds). He transferred to Washington State where, running under fellow Hall of Fame coach Jack Mooberry, Chaplin was an accomplished sprinter from 1960-63, setting world records in the indoor 220-yard and 330-yard dashes.

After graduation, he coached at Wapato High School in both track & field and cross country, where his teams were 50-4-1 in dual meet competition, including a perfect 20-0 in Chaplin’s final season in 1966. He spent the next two years as an assistant at Oregon State under fellow Hall of Famer Berny Wagner, before returning to Washington State as an assistant under Mooberry from 1968-73.

Upon Mooberry’s retirement, Chaplin took over the reins as head coach and continued Washington State’s record of success, leading the team to the 1977 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championship and four NCAA runner-up finishes. His teams also won four Pacific 10 (Pac-10) titles and compiled a .931 dual meet win percentage.

At Washington State, Chaplin was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year four times, District Coach of the Year seven times, and International Coach of the Year in 1978. He coached a number of outstanding individual athletes, including former world record holder Henry Rono.

Chaplin continues to serve the sport beyond his retirement from Washington State. He was the 2000 men’s Olympic Track & Field Head Coach, and he continues to serve as chair of the USATF men’s track & field committee. Chaplin served as a USATF referee from 2001-04, as a five-time Texas Relays referee, as a National High School Outdoor Track & Field Meet referee since 1999, and as Penn Relays referee since 1991. He has also served as a consultant to the Nike Corporation, as well as to the Olympic Trials at Sacramento.

Chaplin received Washington State’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1985 and is a member of the Washington State University Athletics and Pasadena City College Athletics Halls of Fame.

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