David Caplin made his presence felt in this world. The Huntington High School Class of 1974 member was successful in business and later found time to coach cross country and track and field. He passed away after a 13 year battle with cancer, but he 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 Regent’s 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 a pair of memorial scholarships in his honor at the 48th annual Blue Devil senior athletic awards banquet in Louis D. Giani Gymnasium in June.
Huntington track stars Latoya Shand and Kyle O’Brien were the recipients of the first David Caplin Memorial Scholarships for Leadership and Mentorship in Sports. Class of 1974 members Eline Maxwell, Bill Walsh and Jim Logan were on hand for the presentation of the $500 awards, which was made before a crowd of 330.
Mr. 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.
Latoya Shand and Kyle O'Brien
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. Caplan’s favorite encouragement to his team was “never, ever give up.”
Ms. Shand is headed to Binghamton University, where she plans to run on the Bearcats track and field team. She said her “supportive parents” handed to her “the keys to success.” A member of several academic honor societies, the teenager earned All-County and All-State honors with the Blue Devil track squad.
Responsible, independent and driven, Ms. Shand enjoyed many close friendships at Huntington High School and thoroughly enjoyed participating in such activities as float night, the K-Factor talent show and Relay For Life. A track team captain and Academic All-County honoree, she enjoys “branching out and meeting new people.” She ran on the Blue Devil winter and spring track teams.
Ms. O’Brien will be attending SUNY Maritime College, where he intends to run on the cross country team. A Natural Helper, he also participated in a trip to China, broadening his horizons. The teenager compiled a sensational academic record over the past four years and surrounded himself with supportive teachers and friends.
Vice president of the orchestra committee and a member of the National Honor Society, Mr. O’Brien advanced to the Long Island regional finals in the National History Day competition as a sophomore.
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.”