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  • Writer's picturePana Sports Foundation

Kevin Duez (Class of 1968) - 2023 Hall of Fame Inductee

A good coach is positive, enthusiastic, supportive, trusting, focused, knowledgeable, goal-oriented, observant, respectful, patient and a clear communicator. This perfectly describes Kevin Duez. Kevin is what we like to call a “coach’s coach,”: always learning, always prepared, and most of all dedicated.

Kevin is a Pana High School graduate who was both a good student and athlete. He graduated from Millikin University where he played football and was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Faithfully returning to his alma mater after college, Kevin coached and taught his whole career in Pana. Kevin retired from teaching in 2006. He taught sixth grade, junior/senior high school mathematics and physical education. Kevin coached junior high basketball, freshman football, and high school football. He coached football at various levels for 34 years, retiring as the high school defensive coordinator in 2007.

Knowing what football had done for him, Kevin used it to help other young people in the community. For more than half his years in coaching, he was at the freshman level. Working to establish a solid foundation, it was Kevin who taught these players the necessary skills needed to win. As a result, he was considered one of the mainstays of the staff. His most gratifying achievement was to watch young athletes grow and mature into varsity players. Because Kevin believed in his players, they enjoyed playing for him. Known for his loyalty and 110% work ethic, Kevin became the role model in the program. Coach Duez was inducted into the Illinois High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 2010.

Kevin also coached track & field for over 40 years – and he’s still coaching! He has worked mostly with pole vaulters and throwers. Retired Athletic Director and coach Carol Schramm had this to say about Kevin: “You cannot find a more dedicated and hardworking coach than Kevin Duez. Back in the day, we went to every track & field coaching clinic that was available. If Coach Duez didn’t know the best procedure to teach a skill, he would turn over every rock to find the answer. Whenever I had questions about teaching/coaching track & field, I talked to Coach Duez. That hasn’t changed!!! Coach Duez has also spent countless hours working with athletes, after practice and on weekends, donating his time and resources because he’s all about helping kids to get better.” Coach Ryan Lipe stated, “During my 10 years of coaching track with Coach Duez I not only learned a lot about coaching track and being a good role model for the athletes but also learned how much he cared for the kids and this town. The youth of the Pana community are lucky to have had Coach Duez as their coach. He is the epitome of discipline and intensity wrapped into one great coach. I am blessed and thankful for my time coaching with him and I know I would never have been as successful as a coach without his mentorship!”

Kevin has been devoted to his community for many years. He is a long-time member of the Pana Lions Club (former president), Vision Committee (chairman), and schedules Santa and his helpers at Christmastime. Kevin is also an active member of the Pana Sports Boosters and Quarterback Club.

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