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Jon Dupuis welcomes challenge of running Beloit Memorial athletics
BELOIT—Jon Dupuis spent part of his afternoon at Riverside Golf Course in Janesville, watching Edgerton’s golf team compete in the Rock Valley Conference Championships.
As athletic director for the Crimson Tide for the past six years, Dupuis said he makes it his mission to spread his attention to every sport at the school.
“One of the reasons I am at so many events is because that is where I evaluate my coaches, in real time,” he said. “They’re in game situations and I want to see how they respond. How are they being positive mentors for our kids? I think that is very important.
“I also like to go to everything because every sport is important, not just football or basketball. These kids are putting in the time and effort and need support. I will impress on my coaches that they need to urge their teams to show support for other teams and try get to their events when they can. That’s how you change the culture in a school.”
Dupuis will soon face a new challenge. The School District of Beloit Board of Education approved his hiring as Beloit’s next athletic director Tuesday night.
Dupuis said it wasn’t an easy decision, not just because he enjoyed his tenure in Edgerton.
“I also wanted to make sure Beloit was ready to make some changes over time to give kids the positive high school experience and opportunities like I had growing up,” he said. “Edgerton was great, but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to go back to my hometown. I have always bled purple so I’m excited about getting started.”
While he won’t officially start his new position until July 1, Dupuis plans on researching what is happening at Beloit Memorial, both good and bad.
“Ultimately there are a ton of positive things going on at Beloit,” he said. “This will mean trying to build on those positive things and assessing things we need to improve on. Being supportive and giving the coaches and the kids the tools they need to be successful.
“This will be about being patient and putting strategic plans in place the first year to improve over time. It’s going to mean having coaches understand expectations. Systems need to be in place. Kids need to have buses. They need to have matching uniforms and officials at games.”
Dupuis has personal knowledge of one of the school’s longest suffering programs. He was head football coach at Beloit Memorial from 2011-2014, becoming one of a long list of coaches who weren’t able to revive a program which hasn’t had a winning record since 1999.
While Dupuis was disappointed then he wasn’t given a longer tenure to turn around the football team, more disappointment came his way when he was passed over for the Beloit AD job in 2018.
He’s put that behind him and said being Edgerton AD has better prepared him for his next post.
“Being an AD has allowed me to learn the position, learn the systems, learn the technology and learn about the everyday things that happen day to day in this role,” he said. “People don’t know all the boxes an AD checks. This is not a one-man show, either. For us to make the changes that we need to happen over time all stakeholders need to be involved.”
Dupuis takes over an athletic department with many sports spinning their wheels and about to transition from the Big Eight to the Southern Lakes Conference.
“Not everything will get fixed overnight, but historically Beloit has had athletes and I think they’re still there,” he said. “It’s about finding those people who will dedicate the time and the commitment to putting these kids in the best positions possible. I hope some of them step forward. I would love to have conversations with people at school and in the community and see how they can help support these kids, whether it’s one day, one week, one month, head coach, assistant, whatever it is.”
Dupuis was a throwback as a football player—a hard-nosed, pile-driver sort of running back both as a Purple Knight and a Beloit College Buccaneer. He doesn’t mind focusing on some of the old blue-collar values that served his teams so well.
“I wish we could go back to when you had your best athletes interested in playing two or three sports,” he said. “When we were at our best in the 1980s and 1990s, we had a lot of multiple-sport athletes. Now that we have the training facility I’d like to see us get back to that.”
Dupuis said his coaches can count on his support, but they also need to understand that he expects them to promote their sport.
“Whether we win or lose, there’s always positive things going on and I expect my coaches to get that information out,” Dupuis said.
Dupuis replaces Joel Beard, who has accepted the same position at McHenry High School in Illinois.
As for the magnitude of the task ahead, Dupuis is typically unfazed.
“I have a lot of expectations about what we can accomplish,” he said. “There will be high standards, but not everything is about wins and losses. I’m concerned with doing things the right way and giving our coaches and our athletes the tools they need to have a good experience. I’m also expecting to improve our fundraising and our volunteering. I want to see both ramped up. I want to get the kids out in the community and I want the community to fill our stands. We will promote the positive things we will be doing and we want kids and fans to come along for the ride.”
As for being the face of Beloit athletics, Dupuis has no problem with that.
“This is my hometown,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to be here. I have tried to set myself up so I can make an impact and this is a position that will allow me to do that and hopefully for a long time.”