Physical Education Teacher, Coach, and Former Pro Basketball Player Andrew DeClercq

0c84ac3There are many stellar examples of talented athletes who have also distinguished themselves as educators. One such athlete is Andrew DeClercq, a physical education teacher and boys basketball coach who has also had a notable career as a professional basketball player.

Andrew was born on February 1, 1973, in Detroit, Michigan. As a youngster, he attended Countryside High School in Clearwater, Florida. After his high school graduation in 1991, Andrew attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, on a scholarship, earning his bachelor’s degree in history in 1995. While there, the 6’10”, 255 pound athlete played center on his college basketball team.

Following his college graduation, Andrew was drafted by the National Basketball Association. During his ten-year pro basketball career, he played for a number of teams, including the Golden State Warriors (1995-1997), the Boston Celtics, (1997-1999), the Cleveland Cavaliers (1999-2000), and the Orlando Magic (2000-2005). He played the positions of center and power forward.

Once he retired from pro basketball, Andrew accepted a position as a physical education teacher for the Montverde Academy, a private college-prep school located in Montverde, Florida. He also served the school as an assistant basketball coach for the school’s nationally ranked team. He was employed there from 2009 to 2010. He then accepted a position as the Head Varsity and Head Junior Varsity Basketball Coach for the Foundation Academy, simultaneously coaching their middle school junior varsity and varsity teams. The Foundation Academy is a private school located in Jacksonville, Florida.

Andrew currently lives in Clermont, Florida, where he owns and operates youth basketball day camps, training centers, and clinics in the Central Florida area. You can view Andrew at work as a teacher and coach in this YouTube video:


Roddy Lee: High school teacher, coach, and Olympic athlete

9621f166a4fe0cfccc89befff881d2a6In American history there are many examples of talented athletes who later became successful teachers and coaches. One such example is Roderick (Roddy) Lee, a retired high school business teacher and coach who represented the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the 1972 Munich Olympic games.

Roddy was born in the United States, but his family originally came from Taiwan. He grew up in Kensington, Contra Costa County, California, where he attended Kensington Hilltop Elementary, Portola Junior High, and nearby El Cerrito High School. This gifted athlete began running track while a student at El Cerrito. As a high school athlete, “I liked the hurdles best,” he once said. “It was a little more exciting and the races were a little faster.”

Following his high school graduation in 1967, Roddy enrolled in UC Berkeley, where he was a business major and member of the track team. In 1970, he was approached by a Taiwanese official who invited him to compete for Taiwan at the Asian Games in Bangkok. At the time, Roddy, whose Chinese name is Lee Chung-Ping, had dual citizenship with the United States and the Republic of China. Roddy agreed to represent Taiwan. “I hit a hurdle in the highs — I was the favorite there going in,” he said. “In the intermediates, I lost on a lean. But that’s how it goes. I can say that now.” Despite this setback, by the time the games were over, Roddy had won two silver medals.

Roddy also represented Taiwan in the 1972 Olympics, finishing 35th overall in the 110 hurdles. “There were only four guys on the track team,” Roddy said. “A long jumper, a triple jumper, a sprinter, and me. And that was our relay team.” The 1972 Olympics are best remembered for the Palestinian terrorist attack that left eleven Israeli athletes and coaches dead. The games were halted for one day for a memorial service. The rest of the Taiwanese team returned home on its scheduled flight. The one-day delay meant that Roddy was the last Taiwanese athlete left in Munich to carry the national flag for the closing ceremonies.

During his senior year of college, Roddy decided to become a track coach. He earned his degree and teaching credential, then coached track at Kennedy High School for ten years. Then Roddy transferred to his alma mater, El Cerrito High School, where he coached track and golf, taught computer science and physical education, and led his school’s IT team until his retirement.

In his retirement, Roddy is still very much a part of his school. He is actively working on the El Cerrito High School Archiving Project, an effort to preserve the school’s history. The effort is fitting and proper, because he is part of that history. Lee holds a spot in the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame.

Duane Pomeroy: High School Social Studies Teacher and Topeka Politician

Often talented educators also distinguish themselves as public servants. This is true of Duane  Pomeroy, a high school social studies teacher and tennis coach who served for a time as the acting mayor of his home town of Topeka in Shawnee County, Kansas. Duane is pictured here on the left, following a tennis match.

11236168Duane was born in Topeka on January 1, 1952, and was raised there. His father, Elwaine Pomeroy, served sixteen years as a Kansas state senator. Duane graduated from Topeka High School in 1970. After his high school graduation, Duane enrolled at Washburn University in Topeka. There he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1978 and his teaching certificate in 1979. Interestingly, while he was working on his degrees, he served on the Topeka Unified School District 501 Board of Education for four years, from 1977 to 1981. Interestingly, Duane also served as an alternate delegate to Republican National Convention from Kansas in 1972.

Long after his service on the Board of Education, Duane accepted a position at Topeka High School where he taught government and social studies. He also served as the head coach for both the school’s tennis team and the bowling team.

Duane became a member of the Topeka City Council in January, 1993, when he was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Vic Miller when Miller was elected to the Shawnee County Commission. Duane also served as the Deputy Mayor under Mayor Butch Felker. From November, 2003, to January, 2004, he served as the acting mayor when the mayor became involved in a scandal and was forced to resign. His weeks as the interim mayor were eventful. Besides overseeing the application process for appointing a new mayor, he made approximately 40 appointments and reappointments to city boards and commissions. He also handled recommendations related to streamlining expenses related to the city’s fire department.

On a personal note, Duane married Deborah Briggs, and the couple have two grown sons, Shane and Troy.

Rich Franklin: The Multi-Talented Math Teacher

RichFranklinphotoIt’s no surprise that gifted and talented educators possess expertise in fields beyond the educational sphere. This is demonstrated very well by math teacher, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight Champion, mixed martial artist, businessman, and actor Richard Jay Franklin, Jr.

Rich was born on October 5, 1974, one of two sons of Richard Sr. and Valia Franklin. Although he was born in Kentucky, he was raised in Cincinati, Ohio. His parents divorced when he was only five years old, and through subsequent marriages he acquired five additional half-siblings. As a youngster, Rich attended William Henry Harrison High School. Following his graduation, he enrolled at the University of Cincinatti, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and his master’s degree in education. After college, Rich taught mathematics for four years at Oak Hills High School in Cincinatti.

lu25005-edit-199x300During his years as an educator, Rich launched a career as a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), with a goal of fighting professionally. He left the teaching profession to pursue his goal full-time. He quickly moved up the ranks, and in 2005 earned the UFC Middleweight World Title. Following this victory, Rich accepted a position as a coach on the second season of the television show The Ultimate Fighter.

In 2003, Rich launched a clothing company with several business partners. This enterprise was named American Fighter. “The American Fighter message was about finding the fighter in each of us,” Rich once explained, “Whether you are a person battling cancer, an athlete preparing for competition, or a soldier stepping into combat, we all have a fighter in us.” In 2012, Affliction Clothing expressed an interest in American Fighter. They acquired the majority of the company to take the brand to mainstream retailers where it continues to grow. “The American Fighter name had an obvious connection with military personnel and I have always felt it is my civic duty to give back to the troops,” Rich says. “I have visited military bases all over the country, both domestic and abroad. The most recent trip was to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. In 2006, I began working with the military extensively, particularly with disabled veterans.” Specifically, Rich is an avid supporter of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) organization.

Rich made his acting debut in a film called Cyborg Soldier,  where he portrayed an escaped super soldier. In 2010 he starred in Hamill, a story inspired by the life of Matt Hamill, a deaf UFC fighter. He can also be seen playing MMA Coach Billings in the 2014 comedy Mantervention.

The multi-talented Rich Franklin: a true chalkboard champion.

Former Middle School Teacher and Pro Basketball Player Anquell McCollum

5867323Many gifted athletes share their talent and expertise with young students when they become teachers and coaches. This is certainly the case with Anquell McCollum, a professional basketball player who also served as a former junior high school computer skills teacher and university assistant basketball coach.

Anquell was born in 1973 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He graduated from E.E. Smith High School in his home town. There he played basketball, where he distinguished himself with 24 three-point field goal attempts, of which 11 were successful. Although this milestone accomplishment was broken in 2004, Anquell established a state record at the time.

After his high school graduation, Anquell enrolled in Western Carolina University, where he played as a guard for the Catamounts during the 1992–1993 and 1995–1996 seasons. In his freshman year, the 6’1″, 180 pound Anquell earned a place on the Southern Conference (SoCon) All-Freshmen Team. Between his sophomore and senior years, Anquell was selected for the All-SoCon Tournament all three years, he was a First Team All-SoCon player two years, and in 1995–1996 he was named both the Conference Player of the Year as well as the Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player. That season, Anquell averaged 25 points per game and was ranked fifth in the nation. He led the Catamounts to one of the most historic seasons in the university’s history. That was the year the university won its only Southern Conference championship.

Following his college graduation, Anquell became a professional basketball player. He first played in  France for the 1996-1997 season. From 1997-1999 he played professionally in Venezuela. In 1998 he played in both Columbia and Hong Kong. Additionally, in 2000 he played in the Dominican Republic and in the United States Basketball League for the Treasure Island Tropics. At the end of that season, Anquell retired from the game.

In 2000, Anquell returned to Western Carolina University to complete his degree in Computer Information Systems. Between 2000 and 2004, Anquell accepted a position as a computer skills teacher at Spring Lake Middle School in Spring Lake, North Carolina. He then became the Assistant Director of Admissions for Western Carolina University. In 2004–2005, this gifted athlete became an official assistant coach for the men’s basketball team at the university.

This chalkboard champion was named to the Western Carolina University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010. Anguell and his wife, Marie, currently live in Cullowhee, North Carolina. They have two daughters.