By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Marcus Chapman chuckled when asked how his life will change being both the principal and head football coach at Canton High School.
“A few things will change,’’ said Chapman, who has been Canton’s principal the last two years. “I’ve never done interviews with the paper before.’’
Chapman, the son of a retired coach and administrator (Terry Chapman) has a football resume.
He quarterbacked Timberlake to the Class C state championship game in 1999 where the Tigers lost to future Tulsa quarterback James Kilian and the Medford Cardinals.
Chapman was an assistant at Cherokee in 2010 when the Chiefs won the Class B state championship.
He had previously coached at Buffalo, Oklahoma Union and Lindsay before becoming principal at Aline-Cleo, which had a co-op with Cherokee.
He came to Canton as principal in the 2011-12 school year. Under his leadership, the school received an “A’’ from the state’s new grading system.
“We received an A because of our teachers,’’ Chapman said. “Having such good help in school has given me time to do this.’’
Chapman has coached all aspects of the game as an assistant. He said Cherokee’s Bryce Schanbacher was “a big help to me.’’
Chapman has been a head coach in baseball and served as the Tigers’ athletic director.
“I think that’s prepared me well to be a head coach,’’ Chapman said. “We don’t have the parent issues at Canton that you do at other schools. That’s why I think this will be a good fit.’’
He succeeds Robby Davis, who had a 48-39 record over eight seasons. Davis, who is entering the oil business, led the Tigers to state semifinals in 2008 and the state finals in 2009.
Davis brought Canton into eight-man football (as an independent in 2005).
“He did a great job of turning the program around,’’ Chapman said. “We wish him well.’’
Chapman said there will be some changes. While he likes the passing game, he said “we’ll run whatever fits our personnel best.’’
“I think it will be a bigger adjustment for our players than it will be for me,’’ Chapman said. “They know me as a principal and not as a coach. I do feel like I have a good rapport with them.’’
He acknowledges the rapport is different as the head football coach.
“One of the things that I missed as a principal was I didn’t get to know the kids as well as I did when I was coaching,’’ Chapman said. “You’re closer to the kids as a coach because you spend more time with them.’’
Chapman put the Tigers through a week of spring practice last week.
“We spent a lot of time learning a new system,’’ Chapman said. “The kids had a lot to learn. It was not as intense as I would have liked for it to be. It’s hard to be too intense when you’re learning.’’
Chapman said he’s still learning the Tigers’ strengths and weaknesses. Canton will go to some team camps, but with several players working, he probably won’t see everyone until preseason practices begin in August.
“We’ll have a lot better idea of what we’re going to do then,’’ Chapman said.
The Tigers graduated four seniors from last year’s 4-6 team. Chapman is familiar with District B-1 from his days at Cherokee.
“All of our seniors were pretty productive, but I think we have some young kids ready to take over those spots,’’ Chapman said. “I know most of the coaches in the district. That will be a big help to me.’’
Terry Chapman was a long-time girls basketball coach in the area. He retired as the Cherokee superintendent, but is working part-time at Timberlake.
“My dad was a big influence on me,’’ Chapman said. “He tried to talk me out of it, but I guess he failed. This is something I’ve always wanted to do and the opportunity presented itself.’’
Chapman and the Tigers lost to Medford 64-18 in the Class C finals in his final game as a player. He played baseball for two years at Northern Oklahoma College Enid and at Northwestern Oklahoma State. He received his masters from Southwestern Oklahoma State.
“I think we could have played that game (against Medford) several times and not won,’’ Chapman said. “I’m good friends with a lot of guys off that Medford team. They had an exceptional team. It’s something I’ll never forget.’’