Hometown Hero: Derek Duran pays it forward to next generation of Craig athletes
After enjoying a successful high school career under the Friday night lights, Derek Duran took some time away from Craig, but he always knew he’d come back.
Duran is here now, trying to give back to athletes the high level of support he received from the community when he was a high school athlete.
Duran, a 2006 graduate from Moffat County High School, was a three-year starter at quarterback for the Bulldogs, leading them to the playoffs in each of those years.
“He just did a phenomenal job, helped get three of our teams to the playoffs,” said Moffat County head coach Kip Hafey, who coached Duran in those years. “Derek was one of those, when he was playing, you loved to have on your team. He wanted to learn, he had an extreme work ethic and he wanted to be coached up.”
Duran spent a year playing football at Colorado Mesa University (then Mesa State) before transferring to Colorado State University to finish his college studies. Since graduating in 2010, he came back to Craig and immediately got involved with the football program.
“Then he came back and he really wanted to get back into it and coach,” Hafey said. “What a great person to have on our staff. He volunteered one year and we were able to get him on staff the next year.”
It was an easy choice to get involved with football because Duran remembered appreciating how much he had received as an athlete.
“I grew up here and played football here and enjoyed the small town atmosphere,” he said. “I wanted to give back to the kids and athletes what I received when I was in high school.”
Duran also has taken on bigger responsibilities with work at Duran & Pearce Contractors, which this season has kept him away from football practice more than he would like. But he still brings a different perspective to the table that Hafey says is invaluable.
“The rapport he has with our kids, even this year when he hasn’t been able to make it quite as much, he can still talk with kids,” he said. “It’s great because he’s a younger guy and he can relate to the kids.
“Derek would be successful wherever he went, but he chose to come back here.”
Duran’s desire to give back does not stop with football, though. When parents started talking about forming a booster club last year, Duran was chosen as a board member. The club’s goal is to promote a better extracurricular experience for all middle school and high school students in Moffat County, so it was right up his alley.
“It’s important because when I was growing up, I was so involved with sports and extracurricular stuff,” Duran said. “It seemed like I always had great support, not only from my family but from people in Craig.”
So Duran makes himself available as much as he can for the student athletes in the community, something he sees as a major benefit to living in a small town.
“Living in Craig, a lot of people think you’re held back because it’s a small town,” he said. “But I think with the support here, it’s the other way around. There’s so many people here willing to help you, that I think it’s an advantage.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or email@example.com.
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