Destrehan has long boasting one of the deepest and most accomplished athletic programs in the state. Its chief architect recently received some major recognition for that fact.
DHS’ Clarence Dupepe was recently named Louisiana’s Athletic Director of the Year for 2015, a year that saw the Wildcats earn success across the board.
Destrehan’s football team finished as state runner-up after an undefeated regular season, finishing with a 14-1 mark. The girls basketball team finished as a state semifinalist. The boys track and field team won their regional. The Destrehan boys and girls swimming teams each placed top 10 in state, both boys and girls soccer teams reached the postseason as did the baseball and softball teams.
The award is voted on by Dupepe’s peers in the Louisiana High School Athletic Directors Association, the executive committee of which he will serve as second vice president over the next two school years. Dupepe was honored at a ceremony in Baton Rouge where he officially received the honor.
Dupepe said he was proud to be recognized, but quickly gave much credit to the school’s coaching fraternity.
“Destrehan is very fortunate to have an excellent coaching staff,” Dupepe said. “We do our best to hire dedicated, knowledgeable and qualified coaches at each level of competition in order to teach our student athletes the correct techniques in order to be competitive and successful. Our coaches also take advantage of attending as many coaching workshops as possible in order to learn new techniques and schemes in order to keep our teams on that high level.”
He said the school looks to bring in coaches who can relate to student-athletes as people and not just competitors.
“Our coaches take the time to teach and about our student athletes. The athletes recognize this and respond to our coaches in a positive manner.”
But, Dupepe said, just as importantly, the Wildcats athletic program is blessed with a consistently strong base of athletes.
“We’re also very fortunate to have students with a wide variety of athletic talents in many different sports,” Dupepe said. “These talents are spread across our athletic program on all levels of competition, be it freshman, junior varsity or varsity.”
Dupepe began his run as Destrehan athletic director in 1992, succeeding his mentor, Chipper Simon. The 25-year veteran of the profession said he had always held an interest in the business and management side of an athletic department.
Prior to accepting his current position, he began what became a 27-year run as a football coach at the school, overseeing a wide array of positions: wide receivers, right ends, running backs, offensive and defensive lines and special teams. He also coached girls and boys basketball, boys soccer and boys track and field during his time with Destrehan. In the classroom, he taught algebra and geometry. He has taught for 27 years at DHS and 30 years total.
A Norco resident, Dupepe is an alumnus of St. Charles Catholic High School and Southeastern University.
He said his overall goal for the department is that it be known for strong organization, dedication and professionalism.
Dupepe also stressed the importance of the program being unified and holding these values across all sports.
“I want Destrehan high school athletics to always be a respected program in which our administration, coaches, faculty, student Athletes and the fans of the ‘Fighting Wildcat Nation’ can be proud to be a part of,” he said.
Last but not least, he credited his wife, Julie, and daughter, Chelsae, for standing with him over the years.
They sacrifice a lot of family time in order for me to follow my dream job of coaching and handling my Athletic Director responsibilities over the years,” he said. “It takes special people to be a part of a coach’s family and I would like to take this opportunity to let my family, as well as the families of the entire Destrehan coaching staff, know how much they are appreciated for their love and support.”