In Memory

Al Kaplan (Tennis Coach)

Al Kaplan, who taught and coached many of us while we attended Highland passed away April 6, 2021 at age 93 following a fall about a week earlier where he broke a collarbone and two ribs.


He taught 45 years for the Albuquerque public schools teaching economics, history, sociology, physical education, driver education, biology, and general science.


He coached tennis, sophomore football, and soccer teams at Highland and was active in football scouting of upcoming opponents and as timer at home basketball games.  Former Highland and UNM track coach Hugh Hackett said Al Kaplan had the best winning percentage of any coach at Highland as his sophomore football, tennis and soccer teams lost few games with many undefeated seasons.  He met with team members almost daily all year long and was a great motivator who encouraged many young athletes to make all state by convincing them they could do it when they were just beginning a sport.  He also was a sponsor of the Highland ski club. He always was thrilled hearing from former students.


He helped several students get into the NM Air National Guard and military academies.  He retired a Lt. Colonel from the NM Air National Guard after severing active duty serving in the Army occupational force in Japan following World War II, and two tours in Vietnam and Korea when his  NM Air  National Guard unit was called to active duty.


In 2007 we held a tennis team reunion in honor of Coach Kaplan and we ended up with former football, soccer, and even many female students speaking on how much they appreciated how Al took a personal interest in them in their sports and school activities encouraging them to succeed in school and future endeavors.


Al drove his car till he fell about a week before his passing and was mentally sharp till his death.  His nurses at the  VA hospital in his final days were amazed how active he was on the phone negotiating the sell of a property he owned in Colorado and asking them how the U. of Connecticut women’s basketball team was doing in the NCAA tournament as he was an avid fan having grown up in Connecticut and earning a master’s degree from the school. He also was a huge fan of Lobo sports having season tickets for football and basketball while not missing a game or leaving early regardless of weather or the score.


He is survived by 3 children and 6 grandkids.  Condolences can be sent to Max Kaplan, 7515 Jackrabbit St., Albuquerque,    NM 87113.