MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Long-time Auburn University at Montgomery men’s basketball head coach Larry Chapman of Ludowici recently announced that he will retire at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season. As a player at Ludowici High School, he was a two-time all-state selection and twice led his team to the state championship tournament.
“My life has been blessed for many years due to my love of God, family, basketball and the hundreds of players that I have coached,” Chapman said. “In most every way, I have fallen short of my expectations of self.
“What I have not fallen short on has been my desire to give others a second chance in life,” Chapman continued. “I have witnessed it all. I know their pain. I also know their sense of victory when achievements come. To share another’s success is the gift of a lifetime. In this way, I am the most successful person I ever hoped to be, as I witnessed and participated in the real victories of life with my family, players and friends.
“This year is the end of one phase in my life. One lesson I have learned over my years in the Auburn University system coaching basketball is that it is a great place to begin and end a career.”
Only the second head coach in the program’s history, Chapman currently is in his 37th season with the Warhawks’ men’s basketball team. To date, Chapman, who was inducted into the inaugural AUM Athletic Hall of Fame class in 2005, has amassed a record of 671-434 at the institution. Entering the season, Chapman’s record is 705-477, ranking him fifth in career victories among NAIA coaches and among the top 40 for all collegiate coaches.
Chapman came to AUM prior to the 1977-78 season to lead a men’s program that had won 26 combined games in the first two seasons. In just his second season, he led the team to a 20-win season, his first of 15 at AUM during his illustrious career.
From the 1981-82 season through the 1988-89 season, AUM averaged more than 25 wins a season and became the first school in 17 years to win three consecutive championships in the highly competitive NAIA District 27.
Chapman’s 1987-88 team posted a record of 32-3 and reached the national championship game. After the season, he was named the NAIA’s Coach of the Year. He also has coached two teams to the tournament quarterfinals and three into the second round. In total, Chapman-coached teams qualified for 11 NAIA National Tournaments.
With Chapman at the helm, AUM has won championships in the Southern States Athletic Conference, the Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference, the Southeast Independent Region and NAIA District 27.
In addition to team success, 17 players have earned All-America honors under Chapman’s leadership, and two have gone on to play in the National Basketball Association.
Along with his success on the court, Chapman doubled as the athletic director at AUM from 1977-99. From the athletic director position, Chapman was instrumental in AUM’s move from the Independent Region to the Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference, now known as the Southern States Athletic Conference.
When Chapman came to AUM, only men’s basketball and men’s tennis were sponsored. Through his efforts, five additional varsity sports were offered on campus.
“Larry has been the face of AUM basketball for the past four decades,” AUM Athletics Director Steve Crotz said. “I want to thank Larry for all he has done on and off the court for AUM Athletics and the men’s basketball program. Larry has made such a positive impact on the lives of countless men over his tenure. Larry Chapman is, and always will be, the name associated with Auburn University at Montgomery men’s basketball.”