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Vernon C. Eppinette

Inducted 2004

Vernon Eppinette’s coaching career spanned 26 years, three high schools and six state titles, built on the foundations of discipline and sportsmanship. Port St. Joe High School won six consecutive FHSAA Fred E. Rozelle Sportsmanship Awards during his time as head boys basketball coach.

Eppinette competed in basketball, swimming, football and track & field as a high school student in Illinois. He attended Eastern Illinois University and served as a US Marine in the Vietnam War.

Eppinette began coaching as an assistant in football, boys basketball and track & field at Clermont High School in 1974, and within a few years was the head basketball, track & field and cross country coach, as well as the athletic director. His teams won five district basketball and nine district track titles, and his second-year cross country program finished sixth in the state in 1988. Eppinette served a short stint at Mount Dora High School as the boys basketball and track & field coach before moving to Port St. Joe in 1990. He enjoyed great success at Port St. Joe, coaching the Sharks to five state championships in boys basketball and one state title in boys track & field from 1990 to 2001.

A five-time Florida Basketball Coach of the Year, Eppinette has been a National High School Coaches Association National Coach of the Year finalist twice. He is a member of the Florida Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Although retired from coaching, Eppinette continues to teach in the social studies department at Port St. Joe.