The low point in Jason Chapman’s career as the Bulldog’s tennis coach was five years ago, when his team lost the Northwest Athletic Association of Community College’s tournament to Green River. Despite being firm favorites to win the tournament, Chapman’s girls maintaining a 9-0 record compared to Green River’s 5-5, Green River emerged as the tournament victors. However, one year later, the Bulldogs fulfilled their potential and won the tournament for the first time. Since then, they haven’t looked back.
Chapman went on to coach the BC team to four consecutive championships, two less then Green River’s record. BC go into this year’s tournament in first position with a record of 9-0 compared to Green River’s 8-2, hoping to break Green River’s record. The team is confident that their talent, and Chapman’s coaching, will make this happen.
When asked what makes Chapman different from other coaches, Rika Matsumoto, one of the BC tennis players, said “He does not send off this weird vibe like ‘I’m the coach, obey me.’”
Matsumoto went on to say Chapman coaches each player according to what they need, “he knows exactly when to say what.”
Lauren Heino, the team captain, said, “[Chapman] is very good at turning teams into small families.” One way he does this, according to Heino, is that when the team is at a match, the coach has all of the players cheer each other on.
It was clear at the girl’s last practice this season that Chapman has built the Bulldogs into a family. Before the practice, the players were chatting about hanging out later and where they would be staying for the tournament.
As well as building a team, Matsumoto said that “[Chapman] teaches us that there is more to tennis than just a yellow ball, a racket, and to win.” She said that Chapman teaches the players the value of hard work, self-discipline and patience. “I like to end the point quick … stay calm, be patient, [and] when the perfect ball comes, kill it,” said Matsumoto.
Chapman has not always loved tennis, though. “I started playing tennis because I’d played basketball all my life and I felt I was too small,” the coach said. He went on to say that he decided to try tennis for a season because many of his friends in his freshman year at high school were trying out for the team. The tennis coach put Chapman on the Shadle Park High
School varsity tennis team.
“Tough losses stand out the most,” said Chapman, when remembering all his games through high school, college and recently.
After playing for four years at Eastern Washington University, Chapman was offered the job of assistant coach. His favorite part of being a coach is to see the people he teaches improve.
Chapman has been the tennis coach at BC for the last seven years. He is also a tennis professional at Robinswood Tennis Center.