Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local Sports

December 21, 2012

Chappelle determined to make the most of his opportunity at Mississippi State

(Continued)

TYLER — Other positive influences

It was several coaches along the way that molded what is turning into a great success story in a time of wrong decisions and turnarounds.

Chappelle insisted on making mention of the coaches that got him to where he is at this moment.

“Randy Copeland was my first high school coach at Jacksonville,: Chappelle said. “He wanted the best for me (and) we were close, and I had a special relationship with his son Clint Copeland.

“Coach Copeland was a good coach but a great man.”

Coach Roynell Bridgeforth was his first basketball coach at Jacksonville.

“He was very close to me, and he understood me,” the former all-star in youth Jacksonville leagues. “I grew up around him and I’m still good friends with his son. He was more than a coach to us.”

Then, two more great mentors came along when he moved to Brook Hill in Head Football Coach Terry Pirtle, and Athletic Director and basketball coach, Wally Dawkins.

“Coach Pirtle is a very smart coach but the funniest man I know,” Chappelle said with that big grin again. “He came in my senior year and we have had a great relationship every since.”

“Coach Wally Dawkins is one of the best coaches I’ve ever played for period, “Chappelle said about one of East Texas all-time leading basketball coaches. “I love the way he coaches, and he is a great man, a family first type of guy, and we are all gonna have a relationship for life.”

At TJC, Chappelle was quick to point out his growth under the tutelage of Offensive Coordinator,  Ryan Mahon.

In Chappelle’s words, “Coach Mahon is a do-it all type of coach, and we developed a special relationship, and he'll do whatever he can for me.

“Besides, we made him the best OC (offensive coordinator) in the nation,” Chappelle said in a laughing and joking manner, with Mahon laughing right along as well.

And the relationship with head coach Danny Palmer, of the Apaches was little different story at first.

“We had a rocky start, and I had to earn his respect and it wasn’t easy,” Chappelle said.

“But when I did, I never lost it.Coach (Palmer) is hard as a rock on the outside, but soft as rose on the inside.

“He's a great person I got a lot of respect for him,” Chappelle continued about Palmer. “Two things he taught us I'll take with me for life were "Be on time…. and (do) what's right."

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