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Rich Conkiln Rich Conkiln
Inducted: 2003 - Graduated: 1967

Successful high school athletic programs are built uponmany

pillars. Chief among themis continuity in the coaching staff.

Without a dedicated coach to anchor a program through

its growing pains, long-termprosperity is difficult to come by.

At Nanuet, that anchor is Rich Conklin. For 33 seasons—

the past 28 as head coach—Conklin has molded young

football players and wrestlers into fine athletes and finer

people. In the land of the Golden Knights, Rich continues

to be the weathervane: he sets the direction of his program

and follows through with a winning formula patented over

more than three decades of sustained excellence.

A homegrown product and 1967 Nanuet graduate, Rich

bleeds Black & Gold. The pride of the Nanuet uniform

that he instills in his athletes is evident on the gridiron every

autumn Saturday and was apparent in wrestling arenas/

school gyms in the winter.

Rich is Rockland County’s all-time winningest coach in wrestling dual meets, having accrued 200 victories in 24

years, while losing just 74 with 3 ties. His teams won the

1981 Rockland Public School Athletic League and the

1995 Rockland County championships, as well as nine

league titles. Individually he mentored 25 Sectional champions

and 15 New York State place-winners (finishers in

the top six), including state champion Paul Georgeades

and state runners-up Paul Pietropaolo and Matt Roth.

Rich has also had the good fortune of coaching his four

sons, each of whom made a mark in their sports, primarily

wrestling. The oldest, Chris, once held the county record

for career wrestling victories with 137. Brother Sean is

right behind with 136, while the youngest Conklin sibling,

Ryan, is a three-time Sectional champ.

The wrestling resume alone would have been enough to

ensconce Rich into the Nanuet Hall of Fame. But his football

dossier is just as impressive. His 177 career coaching

victories on the gridiron rank him second in Rockland County annals; his overall mark is a stellar 177-67-2.Under

Rich, the Golden Knights have won 12 league titles and

five Sectional crowns, earned seven bowl victories and captured

one regional. In 1994 he was named Coach of the

Year by the state football association.

But Rich’s ultimate coaching achievement—the feat that

put Nanuet athletics on the national scholastic map—was

guiding the 1989 Golden Knights football team to 10

straight shutouts in 10 games. Nanuet scored 239 points

and allowed zero.

Undefeated, untied, unscored upon—the only such prep

team in the country that year, according to USA Today.

The ’89 team also wound up ranked No. 1 in the seasonending

state Class C poll, in the era before state playoffs.

That shining season rates as one of the greatest in the history

of Rockland County team sports. More impressive is the

fact that, because of a major renovation project at its home

field that year, Nanuet played every game on the road and

practiced at the Don Bosco Marian Shrine in West


“It was a unique situation,” says Rich, who was inducted

into the Rockland County Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.

“We needed something to motivate us, to pull us together,

and traveling back and forth to practice each day did that.

The bonding that took place was something special.”

Rich, developed his passion for athletics during his school

years. He attended Albertus Magnus for two years, then

transferred to Nanuet for the last two. In 1966 he

was an All-County third baseman in baseball and a

New York Daily News All-Star end in football. At

Southern Connecticut State College he earned

Little All-America and All-East honors as a

strong safety in football in 1970.

Rich, who is 54, has taught at Nanuet High School since

1971 and currently teaches health. He and his wife,

Donna, have beenmarried30 years andhave four children,

all boys: Chris, 29, a physics teacher, varsity wrestling

coach and JV football coach at Nyack High School;

Sean, 26, a third-grade teacher in the East Ramapo

School District; Derek, 25, who works for a law firm

in Airmont; and Ryan, 21, a student at Rockland

Community College.