VIDEO: Richard Chapman Has Coached In More Than 900 Games For D&D Paint and Body Shop A’s
By Alan Zlotorzynski, Assistant Editor // June 28, 2017
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: In 1977, Richard Chapman headed to sign up his son Heath for tee ball, and when he got there was asked if he’d manage a team. Since then, Chapman has been there for 40 straight years, more than 900 games, and for nearly 600 kids along the way.
2017 AMATEUR INDUCTEE
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Every dad wants to coach his son in little league baseball and Richard Chapman was no different. So in 1977, Chapman headed to sign up his son Heath for tee ball and when he got there was asked if he’d manage a team. Chapman agreed to do it and he’s never left.
Forty years later, at age 74, Chapman is still coaching games and holding practice five days a week for the Rockledge Little League Majors, ages 9-12.
Since coaching Heath’s team, he has coached Heath’s son Zander’s team while Heath served as his assistant coach. In fact, many of his former players have been or are assistant coaches for the D&D Paint and Body Shop A’s.
Richard Chapman has been there for more than 900 games – and for nearly 600 kids along the way. You’ll be able to spot Chapman quite easily. He’s the guy sitting on the bucket at the end of the dugout fence.
The even more amazing thing about Chapman is that he remembers all of his players and loves to talk about their accomplishments while on his team and in their current life.
When talking about the honor of his induction, Chapman mentioned several. There was Jennifer Seppe, who back in the early 1980s was the first girl to ever play in the Rockledge Little League Majors.
Coach spoke of Louis Jones, who struck out 17 of the 18 batters he faced in throwing a perfect game more than 20 years ago. Chapman still has that score sheet framed in his office at D&D Paint and Body Shop where he’s been in the same spot repairing people’s cars for over 43 years.
How good is Chapman’s memory? He was able to name every kid from his 1995 team, the last team in Rockledge Little League Majors to post a record of 20-0.
“Git R Done” is on the hat Richard Chapman likes to wear and it’s an expression he lives his life by. His work ethic and commitment to his family and players and the things he does in his life is everlasting.
This includes his marriage to Carol, where back on April 7 the couple celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary. Mrs. Chapman also lives her life with a devout commitment to family and Richard.
She has attended every game and was sitting by his side for this interview leaving no doubt she is the “Rock” in Chapman’s life. For Chapman’s 900th game Carol knew just what to get Richard, a new bucket to sit on, but this one was cushioned.
“It’s for the kids,” Chapman said without hesitation when asked why he’s done it for as long as he has. “I love baseball but the kids are more important. The game is the reason, the kids are the purpose.”
[STORY CONTINUED BELOW]
LITTLE LEAGUE HALL OF FAME
When asked what he’s proudest of during his career coaching, Chapman says without thinking about it, “I’ve never lost a kid in all my years.”
That’s nearly 600 kids in 40 years that stayed with Richard Chapman for four years each and never asked to play on another team for any reason.
Chapman’s teams have won eight championships, and both at home and at the shop, the memories of his coaching years are everywhere.
They are also in the Little League Hall of Fame in Williamsport, Pennsylvania where the ball from his 800th game coaching resides with his story.
One entire side of Chapman’s shop has enough baseball equipment to start a 10 team league. When asked what he does with it, Chapman explained it was free to the kids who want to play baseball but can’t afford to buy the necessary equipment.
Throughout the course of any given day, former players stop by and check in with and on Coach Chapman, as Tommy Strain did when we were there interviewing Richard.
Coach’s eyes lit up and he hugged Tommy as the two immediately began to talk about the days when Tommy played – Richard remembering better than Tommy did.
Commitment and work ethic is something Chapman has lived his life by. He is the proud father of David, Randy, Heath and Stormy – his only girl, who surprise-surprise – loves the game of baseball. He also has eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
When asked when he would decide to retire from both the shop and the field, Chapman shrugged and replied, “Retire, why would I do that, what else would I be doing besides sitting home doing nothing.”
It’s hard to imagine Richard Chapman doing nothing after 900-plus games and 44 years working at the same shop.
THE 2017 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 12.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT the 2017 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com
CLICK HERE to see all the members of the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame.
Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Announced, Induction Ceremony Set May 12
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame selection committee announced Thursday an impressive array of outstanding individuals to be inducted into the 2017 Class of the Hall of Fame.
Dozens of nominees were considered for the 2017 class in four categories including professional sports, college sports, high school sports and amateur sports.
Special honorary recognition will also be bestowed upon individuals and teams that have made significant contributions to sports on the Space Coast.
Space Coast Daily created the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame in 2012, and has so far inducted more than 100 of Brevard County’s most outstanding athletes, coaches and sports personalities.
Serving on the committee are Space Coast Daily President & Publisher Tom Palermo, Vice President Giles Malone, Editor-in-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo, Managing Editor Zach Clark, Assistant Editor Alan Zlotorzynski, local youth sports advocate and promoter Mike Cadore, Friday Night Locker Room Founders Steve Wilson and Orville Susong, former Health First COO Larry Garrison, Cocoa Beach City Manager Jim McKnight and AAU Vice President Rusty Buchanan.
“The list of inductees for 2017 induction include athletes and coaches everybody knows – and some that may have been forgotten with the passing of time,” said Tom Palermo.
INDUCTION GALA & SPORTS AWARDS SET FOR MAY 12
The 2017 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and Sports Awards will be held Friday, May 12 at the Cocoa Beach County Club.
The festivities include a meet and greet with the area’s sports royalty, dinner and the induction proceeding which includes compelling video tributes of each of the inductees.
The 2017 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame induction event, and the 2017 High School Breakfast of Champions recognition awards, are sponsored by Community Credit Union, First Choice Medical Group, SOAR, Clear Choice Health Care, BioCellular Therapies, Savings Safari, Spectrum Sports, Friday Night Locker Room, Dr. Sangiv Patel, Dr. Mark Pinsky and Rock Paper Simple..
FOR INFORMATION about the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame, or to make a reservation, e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com or call 321-615-8111.
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Tim Wakefield talks about his induction into the first class of the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame.
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2017
• PROFESSIONAL CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Joe Kohlbrand, Football; and Cory Philpot, Football
• COLLEGE CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Jason Arnold, Baseball; Michael Coffey, Bowling; Reggie Hannah, Basketball; Paige Kearns, Swimming; and Charles Wilson, Football.
• PREP CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Kristen Gordon, Softball; Ray Herring, Jr. Football; Katie Jackson, Soccer; and Hunter Pingston, Football.
• AMATEUR/REC CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Richard Chapman, Little League; Todd Erickson, Softball; Al Genchi, Youth Soccer; and David Kilgore, Running.
• COACHING CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Skip Arrich, Soccer; Tom Dooley, Baseball; Chuck Keener, Tennis; Steve Lamontagne, Golf; and Mike Soliven, Basketball.
• SPORTS DEVELOPMENT INDUCTEES: Jeff Carr, Eastern Florida State College; and Steve Englehart, Florida Tech.
• LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT INDUCTEES: Linda Anderson, Athletic Director; and Les Stafford, Volunteer
• SPORTS OFFICIALS INDUCTEES: Neely Dunn and Bob Walton.
• SPORTS JOURNALISM INDUCTEES: Hillard Grossman.
• SPORTS AMBASSADOR AWARD INDUCTEE : Gary Gregory, PAL Boxing.
• CHALLENGER AWARDS INDUCTEES: Brevard Special Olympics – Coach Cindy Dropeski, Athlete Chuck Conway and Volunteer Kathi Madden.
• TEAM OF THE YEAR: Cocoa High School 2016 Football State Champions.
• SPECIAL TRIBUTE: Jim Grimes, Basketball, Eastern Florida State College
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE MEMBERS OF THE SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME