TAMPA Amongst dozens of former players, fellow coaches, teachers, administrators, family members and friends, Doug Aplin gently tugged a rope to unveil new wording on the front of the Chamberlain High School gymnasium on Friday night.
Charles “Doug” Aplin Gymnasium, named in his honor.
“I will never forget this day,” Aplin told the crowd.
Aplin retired after 31 seasons as the school’s varsity boys basketball coach in 2009. He compiled a 516-276 record at Chamberlain and guided the program to three state final four appearances (1989, 1990 and 2006). The team finished 19-7 in his final season.
A former basketball standout himself at Chamberlain and the University of South Florida, Aplin continued to teach physical education at Chamberlain and was the flag football coach.
It was Aplin’s connection with students and their families in the community in which he grew up that so many admired.
“You are a part of the fabric of this school,” said Hillsborough County Schools superintendent MaryEllen Elia.
Six years on Halloween, inside the very gymnasium that now bears his name Aplin saved the life of Kenneth Brooks, then a 17-year-old junior basketball player at Chamberlain. Brooks collapsed on the court during practice. He had stopped breathing and Aplin could not find a pulse.
Aplin applied CPR and later used an automated external defibrillator, saving Brooks’ life. Aplin and three other school employees were later honored by the school district.
Among those in attendance Friday night were longtime Tampa Prep coach Joe Fenlon, former Chamberlain player Jesse Salters, who starred at South Florida, former Brandon High, Jefferson High and University of Tampa women’s basketball coach Tom Mosca, former Chamberlain football coach Billy Turner and current Chamberlain softball coach Bob Diez.
“There was never a day I’d say I didn’t want to go to work,” Aplin said.