Alumnus Joe Chapman attends graduate school at Ohio University.
When Joe Chapman ’15 was a senior at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, his heart was set on attending the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill for college. His mother was a graduate and he grew up watching Carolina basketball. Chapel Hill had other plans.
“I was dead set on UNC and I was just shattered when I didn’t get in,” Joe said. “And it was the only school of six where I applied but didn’t get in.”
But now, as a Clemson University graduate, he said, “Clemson was the best time of my life. If I had gone to UNC, I would not have had the experiences I had, including being part of two national championships. Stuff just works out. I know it’s stressful but it’s going to work out.”
His words ring as good advice for all who are displaced from their schools and regular routines at the moment, including Joe, whose graduate work at Ohio University also has been disrupted. He is on track to complete his program in May 2021 with a dual MBA and master’s in sports administration. He graduated from Clemson in December 2018 with a BA in sports communication and a minor in business administration and worked for the university’s football program for three years.
As a child, Joe played various sports; at HIES he focused on basketball while his brother Hugh ’17 played baseball and now plays at Georgia Tech.
“I enjoyed playing sports but it wasn’t going to be a career for me,” Joe said. “I wanted a career in the sports industry and started to develop a passion for sports business.”
His original thought was to work toward becoming a director of football operations at a large university but more recently has considered working with student athletes on mental health and wellness.
“Mental health is becoming less taboo to talk about in sports but there’s still a long way to go,” Joe said. “I want to see what I can do to help.”
Joe credits the strong family dynamic he experienced at HIES, at Clemson and at Ohio as an asset in good mental health.
“Playing basketball at HIES was a very family-based culture,” he said. “The winter break trips with my team were always a great time and a huge bonding experience. The guys I played with are still some of my closest friends today. I’ve been blessed because everywhere that I’ve been is super family-oriented. We even call it ‘The Ohio Family’ here.”
Joe’s relationships with his HIES teachers also had a great impact on him. He enjoyed football smack talk with Amanda Love, Upper School science teacher and a University of Georgia fan, and he appreciated that Meredith Many challenged her students in Upper School math.
“She was hard on us but very helpful and so caring toward her students,” he said.
Joe looks forward to returning to the Ohio campus in August but will be back to Atlanta to cheer on his brother at Tech and for a HIES campus drop-in.