Today, our Four Questions feature is answered by retired coach Bill Chappell, 83, who was head coach of Dalton from 1964 to 1996. His teams won 16 region titles and one state championship. He had 33 winning seasons in 33 years. His record is 317-74-9. Chappell will be at Dalton’s game tonight against Valdosta at the stadium that bears his name.
1. What is the most memorable game you’ve been a part of as a player or coach?“Of course you always remember when you win a state championship, and that happened in 1967. I became head coach in 1964, and my first year we played for the state. In ’65 we missed out, but in ’66 we played for the state again, and in ’67 we won it. We lost the first game that year to West Rome, and I had a practice on Saturday because there was no reason for losing that game. After that practice, I think it woke everybody up. From that point on, we didn’t have too many problems. We beat West Rome 33-0 in the region playoff. We beat Carver out of Atlanta for the championship. They had some tremendous players.” [Dalton won 14-12 at Grady Stadium.]
2. Which high school coach would you want your son to play for, and why?“I always had lot of respect for Bobby Gruhn at Gainesville. We played them in the playoffs quite often. I was impressed with him. We first met each other at Peabody [College in Nashville] getting our master’s degrees. I nicknamed him Teddy Bear because he was a big fellow but easy to get along with. We just became close friends. Another would be Nick Hyder at Valdosta. Nick was an assistant at West Rome [in the 1960s, and later head coach there], and I offered him a job at Dalton. He would’ve come, but he was coaching for his uncle Paul Kennedy. His loyalty to Paul kept him from coming. Then he left to go to Valdosta, and of course you know the story there. Nick was a good man, not just a good coach. I’ve also had some of my assistants here that became head coaches – Ronnie McClurg, Bill McManus. Now the head coach is Matt Land, who played for us here. They’re all good coaches.”
3. What is your pet peeve as a coach or favorite saying/motto?“I always told them you can give out, but you can’t give up. I was old school. I was at a bible study yesterday morning that a bunch of my old players have started, and before we began, they were talking about football practice. I didn’t know I was that bad. They’re like a bunch of old Marines. Now that it’s over, they like to brag about it. Some of my former players tell me they didn’t like me then but they love me now.”
4. Which GHSA policy or high school football rule would you most like to see changed?“One thing is that 15 games is too many. Colleges don’t play 15. I also think they need to look at private schools a little stronger. In Tennessee, they play in separate state championships, like Georgia does in Class A. They have two divisions, one and two, and break them in size. The public and private schools can play in the regular season, but they play for their own state championships.”
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