Sports in The Dominion Post

This article appeared in the Dominion Post Newspaper on March 25, 2003.
'He touched so many lives'

Ex-coach Chaplin taught character and many young men


Dave Chaplin

Friends of David Chaplin may call at Hastings Funeral Home from 3-5 and 7-9 p.m. today, with a scriptural wake service there at 8:30 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church at 11 a.m. Wednesday, with the Rev. Paul Hudock as celebrant. Burial will follow at Beverly Hills Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Donations may be made in his memory to the Morgantown High School Athletic Department, 109 Wilson Ave., Morgantown, WV 26505.


The Dominion Post

While David Chaplin was most notably Morgantown High's baseball coach for 23 years and the football team's defensive coordinator for 20, his greatest gift was as a teacher of the games people play and the life they were about to live.

Chaplin, 59, died Sunday, at his home, following a heart attack.

"He never over-coached," former MHS baseball standout Dana Berry said. "He was a guy that made you constantly think about the game and let you make your own decisions.

"To him, it wasn't just about teaching you the game of baseball. He was more about teaching character and building young men."

Former MHS head football coach Glen McNew, who coached with Chaplin for seven years, said, "He was a man who truly loved Morgantown High and Morgantown High athletics. He loved the kids. He was there for all the games, supporting the team whether they wo* or lost."

True to that statement, Chaplin was in Charleston for the boys' state basketball tournament, supporting the Mohigans as they advanced to the state semifinals.

Chaplin, a U.S. history and sociology teacher at Morgantown High, had returned home from the tournament before his death.

"He was having a good time supporting those boys," Chaplin's wife, Patricia Ann Chaplin, said. "That makes things a little easier."

Chaplin graduated from Morgantown High in 1961 and received both his bachelor's and master's degrees from WVU.

MHS athletic director Dan Erenrich, who was Chaplin's baseball assistant for eight years, said Chaplin's best lessons came away from the field.

"He touched so many lives," Erenrich said. "His life certainly extended beyond the field and into the classroom. He was very big on motivational thinking.

"Also, he always stood up for the kids. If a policy was made that he felt was unfair to the kids, he would be the first to speak up."

In 1976, Chaplin guided the Mohigans' baseball team to the state championship game, their only appearance there in school history. The Mohigans finished as the state's runner-up, to Huntington.

"He made it a pleasure to go to practice," said Berry, who was a member of the 1976 team. "He would run us and make us work hard, but he also kept you smiling or laughing at the same time.

"He was a great coach and an absolute gentleman. I'll surely miss him."

"He probably appeared tough on the outside, but he was a big teddy bear on the inside," Patricia Chaplin said. "He certainly loved baseball, but he loved all of the other sports, too. You're not going to find too many people that didn't like him."

That was the sentiment carried Monday at the school.

"It's going to be rough going to school (Monday)," McNew said. "Dave just sort of brightened up everyone's day at the school. He would stop by my classroom and tell me a story or I would go to his to hear one. He made a lot of my days easier to get through."

"He was a great friend of mine," said MHS principal John George, who coached football with Chaplin from 1974-79. "He was always reminding kids of the tradition of Morgantown High. He was always so very positive with the way he carried himself. He'll be greatly missed here."

In addition to his wife, Patricia, Chaplin is survived by his mother, Isabel Chaplin; a son, Phillip Ross Chaplin, of Morgantown; a daughter, Suzanne Lee Chaplin, of Columbus, Ohio; and a sister and spouse, Kathleen and William Hall, of Denver, Colo.

He was preceded in death by his father, Ross Chaplin.

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