Tony Chapman ’71 honored at Coaches vs. Cancer Legends Dinner
Holy Ghost Prep head coach Tony Chapman ’71 was honored at the inaugural Coaches vs. Cancer High School Legends Dinner April 5 at the Great American Pub in Conshohocken.
Chapman, who enjoys being in the spotlight approximately as much as Holy Ghost Prep turnovers, was one of five legendary high school coaches honored that night—the others being Steve Chadwin (Abington Friends), Jim Fenerty (Germantown Academy), William “Speedy” Morris (St. Joseph’s Prep) and the retired Dan Dougherty, who coached for over 35 years between Malvern Prep and Episcopal Academy.
The quintet has won a mind-boggling 3,676 games and 68 titles in their respective leagues and districts combined.
Chapman’s squads have won over 828 games, 20 Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) titles, seven District One titles, and two Eastern State titles over the past 39 years. Chapman is a legend at Holy Ghost as evidenced by the fact that he coaches in a court that bears his name.
Each honoree was introduced by someone close to him—in Chapman’s case, his wife Jane impeccably did the honors—and then he humbly accepted the well-deserved accolade.
“I am fully aware that my success is the result of the support I receive from many of the people here tonight sharing this celebration with me,” Chapman told the assembled guests.
“As any coach knows, games and practices are only part of the commitment. Scouting, film reviews and practice planning take up hours of time. My family not only accepts this commitment, but shares and supports this journey with my through their love and support. There is no bigger cheerleader for me, my family or my basketball players than my wife Jane. Whether it is cheering on the sidelines, taking care of everything during the season or reminding me to remain grounded when the emotion of the season begins to build, my wife Jane is the is the foundation of my success.”
The event, hosted by ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, was attended by five tables full of Holy Ghost guests, including family, friends, classmates, HGP assistant coaches both past and present, and a number of Chapman’s former players. It also attracted a who’s who of local hoops coaches, including Temple’s Fran Dunphy (who introduced Dougherty), Saint Joseph’s Phil Martelli, La Salle’s John’s Giannini, and Philadelphia University’s Herb Magee.
“I have been blessed with committed and hard-working players that saw basketball as more than just a path to college or their names in the newspaper,” said Chapman. “They accepted our style of play; our commitment to defense; our demands that good character is as important as the number of points you score. Along the way we celebrated some amazing nights together … and we supported each other when the season ended before we were ready.
“What is consistent throughout my coaching career is the spirit that is unique to Holy Ghost Prep, a school where the sharing of your gifts to make others better is always valued higher than your own achievements. It is a place where the leading scorer and the team manager have lunch together, a place with the Division One recruit shoots fouls with the last guy on the bench, a place where fans cheer just as loud when the team is up big as they do when the seniors walk off the court on the last game.”