WACO, Texas (KWTX) – A local high school soccer field on Tuesday was dedicated and officially named in honor of Mike Chapman, a beloved and longtime soccer coach at University High School who died suddenly from a heart attack in January 2020.
The middle school soccer field and high school practice field, which is a central point of athletics for all of University High School, is now known as the “Mike Chapman Soccer Field.”
Friends, family and student-athletes gathered Tuesday morning for the official unveiling of the metal sign which was made by students at the Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy through Waco ISD.
“It was well deserved,” said Dustin Sykora, District Coordinator of Middle School Athletics. “We wanted to allow his legacy to endure, and this is just one more step we could provide for our student-athletes to see who laid the foundation, and who set the standard that will continue forever here with the University High School soccer program. ”
Mike Chapman coached soccer at University High School for 28 years before his death in 2020 when the 58-year-old collapsed outside the school’s fieldhouse following a game against La Vega.
Chapman’s success as a coach is indisputable.
He had 443 wins at the helm of the soccer program and, at the time of his death, he ranked 20th on the list for all-time victories for Texas high school soccer coaches.
Chapman, as head boys’ soccer coach since 1992, led his teams to 21 playoff appearances, eight district championships, eight bi-district championships, nine area championships, appearances in regional quarterfinals, and a state championship in 2013.
Over the past decade, he also served as head girls’ soccer coach, and his teams made seven playoff appearances, won four district championships, five bi-district championships, three area championships and were twice sectional finalists.
For his outstanding success, Chapman was inducted posthumously into the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches Hall of Honor in Galveston last year.
He was also inducted into the Waco ISD Athletics Hall of Fame. But Mike is just as known for his wins on the field as he is for his service to others off it.
The Trojan soccer team paid visits to hospitalized children and nursing home residents, helped with Meals on Wheels, participated in the annual Food for Families drive, Toys for Tots, the HEB feast of Sharing, and Jump Rope for Heart, and spoke to students in local elementary schools about “What it Takes to be a Student Athlete.”
For more than a decade, Chapman and his teams made Christmas dreams come true for hundreds of local elementary school students through his Make a Wish Come True program, which continues to thrive today.
Mike’s brother, Kyle, took over the soccer program his brother built as head coach.
Mike also inspired his nephew, Dylan, to become a coach at University over the last year.
Dylan said the dedication today is an honor for his entire family.
“For us, it’s very special,” Dylan said. “Mike dedicated a lot of his life to working at University and being here for the kids and he always had a running joke with us that he was going to die at University, and he did.”
The new metal sign hangs above a picture of the 2013 state championship team which Mike coached and on the back of that sign, will be other highlights from Mike’s career.
Dylan said after all Mike did for University High school and the community, he’s thankful to have a permanent marker that will honor Coach Chapman for generations to come.
“I don’t think there’s anything better than being able to come out here and see his name out here every day when the kids come out to practice, and it’ll always be here for everybody to see when they drive through this athletic parking lot. ”
“After everything he did building this program, I just think it’s very fitting.”
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