- By Zach Weiss (Staff Writer)
I had the pleasure last week of sitting down with Endicott Men's Volleyball Coach, George Chapell Jr. who graduated from Endicott as a student in 2008, returned as a coach in 2009, and also joined the broadcasting ranks doing Women's Volleyball this past spring.
Coach Chapell was familiar with the Beverly area from a very young age, his family having a sailboat at the Salem Willows, so he grew up knowing about Endicott. When it was time to make the college choice, he saw Endicott as his number one choice because of the availability of his desired Physical Education major, the solid volleyball program, and the best marriage of location and proximity to home. He came in 2003, and he's still here today, in 2016.
Chapell played for Coach Tim Byram (who now coaches only Women's Volleyball), a man that he learned a couple of important lessons from. "Being coachable, and blocking. I learned to take advice from coaches, but also elder players. I realized how much he cared about his programs, and he put a ton of time into making it work," he said. As a player, he ranks #4 all time in solo blocks (46), #7 in service aces (90), #8 in total blocks (209) and #10 in service attempts (1,286).
After his playing career ended in 2007, Chapell knew he wanted to go into coaching, so he helped at the high-school/club level for a year to get started. But, there was somewhere specific he wanted to be. "I knew college was where I wanted to be. I have the ties to Endicott, personally and emotionally, and I enjoyed everything about my experience here. I wanted to see the program succeed and get to a new level," he said. He spent four years as an assistant under Coach Byram, and in 2013, took over as the head coach, while Byram shifted his focus to coaching solely the women's team.
As a head coach, Chapell has lead Endicott to the NCAA's every year, citing the readiness and willingness of his players as a major key to the success. He also talked about depth and how it was the "secret" to the success. "We've had talented student-athletes come through the pipeline. Depth has been huge for us, in the sense that if somebody gets hurt, we have somebody who can come fill the void quickly. Dan Toth, his first year here, he stepped in for us when we had our starter, Travis Netherton go down with mono, two days before the conference tournament. We were able to put in Toth, and he went in, and tore it up. We don't lock in to a lineup or play favorites," he said. A freshman who had barely played, taking the place of a star senior, and helping to lead the team to a conference championship.
The Chapell effect.
Outside of sports, Chapell is a rather simple man. He enjoys spending time with his wife (Samantha) and kids (3-year old daughter Emmi, and 1-year old son George III). He likes to be by the ocean, so Endicott is very fitting for him. As far as favorite actors go, he's very fond of the classics: Anthony Hopkins, Clint Eastwood, and Robert Redford. He's not a big fan of listening to music on game day, but loves listening to Journey. He also likes Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, as well as Bruce Springsteen, who he got to see live in Florida as his graduation gift back in 2008.
Chapell loves many things about his time at Endicott.
"Seeing so many guys come from all over the country, and really, the closeknit team that we have. We have 16-18 guys on a given year that they are so close, even if the social interests don't align off the court. I want them to remember the stories, and the memories from college. Not the wins, but the trips, and the bus rides. I want them to have as great an experience as I did," he said. It's more about the player relationships than anything else at the end of the day. The three words he used to describe his experience at Endicott were: Rewarding, engaging, and exciting.
Catch Chapell and the Men's Volleyball team this year, as they seek to win their fifth consecutive NECC title. They begin their campaign in January, and their first home match will be played in March.