This year at Thanksgiving Vespers, the entire Walker’s community had the chance to celebrate Coach Mimi Duran as she accepted the M.D. Nadal Award for Sportsmanship given annually by heads of school and athletics directors from the Founders League, an athletic league of eleven independent schools from Connecticut and eastern New York. Instead of quietly presenting the award to Coach Duran earlier this spring while the students were in distance learning, the whole community took the opportunity to celebrate Coach Duran’s accomplishments while all of the students were on campus and before they returned home for holiday break.
Coach Duran is a member of the Connecticut Field Hockey Hall of Fame and boasts a 304-155-40 record over the course of her coaching career. On November 2, 2019, she marked her 300th win in a 4-0 victory against Wilbraham and Monson Academy. In her 13 years coaching at Walker’s, Coach Duran always put her athletes first, whether on the field or off. She goes to great lengths to be sure her teams have adequate time and activities together, such as team dinners, pumpkin carving and outdoor adventures, to bond both on the field and off. Many of her field hockey players go on to play Division I, II and II at the college level with some also embarking on coaching careers of their own using the wisdom and mentorship of Coach Duran.
During her 35 years of coaching, Coach Duran has been named Coach of the Year by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CHSCA) and she was selected to the Northeast Women’s Hall of Fame. Under Coach Duran’s guidance, Walker’s has won the Connecticut Independent School Athletic Conference (CISAC) League and tournament titles every year from 2007-2014 as well as being named Class C champions n the Western New England Preparatory School Field Hockey Association for four years, including the three most recent seasons.She also has taken her team to the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) tournament in eight seasons, including every year since 2014. In addition to all of the work that Coach Duran does with her team here in Simsbury, she has taken them on national and international trips including taking three teams to play in Europe.
Coach Duran currently has six players competing at the collegiate level, including her daughter Keeley ’18 who plays for Hamilton College and Lexi King ’17 who plays at Brown University and was selected for the AAU Junior Olympics gold medal-winning team.