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Westchester Track Coach Named To NYSPHSAA Hall Of Fame

Andy "Coach Cap" Capellan.
Andy "Coach Cap" Capellan. Photo Credit: Contributed

One of Westchester’s most accomplished and popular track coaches is running his way right into the Hall of Fame.

Andy Capellan, who has coached the New Rochelle High School girls cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field teams has been named one of six who will be inducted into the New York State Public High School Association’s Hall of Fame in the summer.

Capellan will be enshrined in the Hall at the association's annual summer meeting on July 25 in Lake Placid, along with another coach, an administrator and three athletes.

"There are literally generations of women who can attribute their success to Coach Cap," New Rochelle High School Principal Reggie Richardson said about the longtime coach.

Coach Cap took over as the girls indoor track team 38 years ago. Since then, he’s claimed 28 league titles, 24 Westchester County titles and 20 Section One Class A titles, including 17 'triple crowns', in which the team won the league, county and section championships in the same season.

“The success of the outdoor team is as impressive,” New Rochelle High School Athletic Director Steve Young noted.

The outdoor team's achievements include 26 league titles, 24 Westchester County titles, 19 Section One Class A championships and 16 'triple crowns.' Capellan's outdoor teams won consecutive league titles from 1996 through 2017 - there was no league champion in 2011 - and county championships consecutively from 1997 through 2010, and again began another five-year streak in 2013. In total, he has led these teams to a combined 54 league, 48 county and 39 Section One championships. He has also coached 43 individual state champions in 49 events as well as nine relay teams.

Capellan described his approach to coaching as “inclusive,” as he refuses to cut any athlete who makes the commitment to his teams.

"I find a place for everybody," he said. "I make them do things they don't think they can.”

"He always pushes us to do our best in everything we do, not just sports," said New Rochelle High School junior Jhenne Joseph, who runs in the 400- and 800-meter events, added.

This won’t be Capellan’s first trip to the Hall of Fame, after being inducted into New Rochelle’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 and the New Balance Track and Field Center Hall of Fame two years ago.

"Andy embodies the term 'teacher-coach'," Young wrote to NYSPHSAA in nominating Capellan. "He does not view his success just in terms of wins and losses, but rather on the success of his girls, both on and off the track.  He has been influential in many of the lives of his athletes.  He guides them on their academics, counsels them on the college application and recruiting process, and will communicate any problems or concerns with an athlete's parents or guardians."

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