By Meade Spotts
Lower School Physical Education teacher and coach Page Chapman has been a staple of the Collegiate School for 17 years. He is looked up to and often revered by every child he comes in contact with. I was so immensely intimidated by Coach Chapman during my Lower School days. He would say, “What’s up?” every time he saw me in the halls, and at the time I had no idea how to respond, other than “The sky.”
Since reaching 9th grade and trying out for the junior varsity boys soccer team, I have come to know and respect this man more than perhaps any teacher or coach I have been influenced by during my time at Collegiate. Chapman has always allowed players to speak their mind, and he has treated me like an equal during my time as a captain on the JV soccer team in 10th grade and as a senior captain on the varsity indoor soccer team.
Born August 26, 1969 in Morristown, New Jersey, Chapman grew up there with his parents and two sisters. Chapman played four years of soccer in high school and attended Lynchburg College, graduating in 1992 with degrees in Health and Movement Science and Recreation. Chapman has always worked in physical education, coming to Collegiate from Stony Point School in Keswick, Virginia, and formerly from Morristown Beard School in New Jersey.
His inspiration for PE and coaching came from his father, Page Chapman III, and the influence his teachers had on him as a child. “I became a teacher because I wanted to make a difference in young people’s lives. When I was a young, I had several teachers that I had a great deal of respect for and admired. I watched them and saw the impact that they had and said I want to do that.” While Chapman enjoys leading the varsity indoor soccer team, his heart lies with his junior varsity boys: “I enjoy coaching JV soccer because we can compete and practice at a high level and prepare the next group of players for the varsity team. I strive to create an environment in which each student will improve as a player and as a person.”
Chapman has influenced the lives of thousands of kids during his time at Collegiate, and he will continue to do so as his children Page (‘28) and Mary Ellen (‘27) make their way through the Lower School and the soccer teams of the Upper School.
Two teammates of mine speak fondly of Coach Chapman. Carson Groce-Wright (’18) said, “I’ve know Chapman for a really long time. In Lower School, I did the soccer camp that he coached, so he’s coached me basically since I started playing soccer. Since 8th grade, Chapman has coached me for six seasons, and all of them have been a pleasure. Chapman is a big goofball as a man who knows how to have a laugh. But as a coach, he knows how to take what he has and make the best of it. It’s been a pleasure to know him for all these years.”
“When I️ first played JV soccer in 9th grade I️ was not sure if I️ would like it,” says Tucker Surgner (’19). “After the first week with Coach Chapman, I️ knew I️ loved the sport and that I️ would play it for the rest on my high school career. Not only is he a good coach, he is also a friend who I️ could talk to for hours about anything. I️ have really enjoyed his influence on me and am glad to have him as a coach for another year.”
These testimonies to Chapman’s character and leadership indicative of his coaching style. The most important thing for myself and other players is having the privilege to be coached by someone who you can truly connect to, someone who values your opinion on and off the field, and someone who truly cares about you. Chapman will remain a staple of the Collegiate physical education and athletic programs, as well as a friend to myself and the students he has helped.