University soccer field now bears Chapman’s name | Secondary school

Mike Chapman will forever be known as the man who made the University High School football program a state power.

When he died suddenly of a heart attack in January 2020 at the age of 58, it left a deep hole in the Central Texas football community.

But now every athlete who steps onto the Trojans’ soccer training ground will remember his legacy.

On Tuesday, the University dedicated the practice field to Chapman with an entrance bearing his name above a photo of the 2013 Class 4A boys team he coached.

“We had to do something more to make sure his legacy lasts forever,” said Dustin Sykora, WISD middle school athletics coordinator. “That’s one small thing we could do at this facility that athletes come to every day. Putting that together and having it for the Chapman family was something I was personally looking forward to.”

It was only fitting that the inauguration came after an early morning youth football camp. Chapman was heavily involved in the development of young football players through his camps.

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Kyle Chapman took over as head coach for the Trojans following the death of his brother and is happy the varsity still offers a place for young players to learn the game.

“He loved to win, but his big things were Soccer Buddies, this camp and the Make-a-Wish program,” said Kyle Chapman. “He always said they would be successful in the classroom, in the community and on the field. He just wanted to make sure those three areas were met.”

Mike Chapman died in January 2020 after leading the university to 21 playoff appearances and the Class 4A state title.

Rod Aydelotte, Tribune Herald

A 1979 graduate of Midway High School, Chapman earned a radio and television degree from Baylor in 1983 and returned in 1985 to earn a teaching degree. He coached at Midway Middle School in the late 1980s and then spent a few years at Granbury before coming to university as football coach for the Trojans at the start of the 1993/94 school year.

Chapman remained at the university for the rest of his life, at times directing both the boys’ and girls’ football programs.

“The South Waco community and football were his big thing,” said the university’s longtime head coach Jerry Williams. “He was a father figure to so many thousands of children. He was on the phone all day because people were calling him. Whenever someone needed something, he went. The list goes on with tragedies that have happened and he was right there to help. It was all kind of behind the scenes, just the way he wanted it.”

The Tribune-Herald named Chapman the 2020 Super Centex Football Coach of the Decade. He was named Super Centex Coach of the Year six times for winning more than 500 games, making the playoffs 21 times and amassing 12 district championships.

In January, he was posthumously inducted into the WISD Hall of Fame.

“To think of where he started when he didn’t even know if he could put 11 people on the field and build them up so they could have 200 kids is just amazing,” said Kyle Chapman. “This is just the culmination of one more thing to keep his legacy going.”

Sykora witnessed the many hours Chapman has worked with young football players and what it has meant for him to develop their life skills as well as their football skills.

“Whenever someone asks me about Mike, I always say two words: Selfless Servant,” Sykora said. “Few people can be like that. He gave to others before he could give to himself. What he taught the kids off the field was the most important thing. The victories took care of themselves after doing all those things off the field.”

Chapman had the picture of the national championship team taken shortly after the Trojans won the title in 2013. Williams believes Chapman would be humiliated to see his name on the university practice field, as he never liked drawing attention to himself.

“He had the shield built for the championship team and was very proud of it, not knowing that the new banner would be over it with the field named after him,” Williams said. “He never wanted any light on himself. It’s all about his children. But he would have really shone today.”

Mike Chapman football field

The university’s Mike Chapman Soccer Field now has a sign with his name above a photo of the 2013 Class 4A boys soccer team he coached.

Rod Aydelotte, Tribune Herald

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