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McKenzie Middle School Football Welcomes Third ‘Coach Chappell’


With football season just around the corner, McKenzie Middle School announced a change in its football coaching staff. Coach Paul Carroll recently announced he will step down from his position as head football coach, making room for the third generation of Coach Chappells to step in.

McKenzie native Nick Chappell said it was always his dream to coach football or baseball. He played both sports in high school, and he was on the Rebel football team that won District 1A Region 7 state runner-up in 2007. He graduated McKenzie High School in 2009 and attended Bethel University, where he continued his baseball career.

Chappell graduated from Bethel in 2014 with a physical education degree, hoping to become a coach or physical education teacher. Out of college, he accepted a job as a bulk merchandiser for Coca Cola in Jackson, where he worked for seven years.

In 2020, he accepted a position at McKenzie Middle School as an eighth grade science teacher. From there, he watched as his coaching dream played out. In his first year, he began as McKenzie Middle School’s head baseball coach and assistant football coach alongside Coach Zach Renfro.

Now, with his third year coming up, Chappell has added head football coach to his list of titles.

“It’s going to be tough,” he said about juggling football and baseball. Because the two sports are during different seasons, he said he will be able to focus on football from June through October and on baseball from October until the end of the season.

For Chappell, his time as a football coach was a long-time coming. His grandpa, Richard Chappell (the original “Coach Chappell”), and his dad, Brad Chappell, have made names for themselves as McKenzie football coaches.

Though retired from teaching and coaching, Richard Chappell has remained active in supporting McKenzie’s sports teams. In the 2021 football homecoming parade, Richard Chappell served as the parade’s grand marshal, donned as the school’s Rebel Man mascot.

Brad Chappell also taught at McKenzie Middle School and was the head coach of the school’s football and soccer teams. He also assistant coached for the high school football team. He left the McKenzie Special School District in 2011 after nine years and has since become Bethel University’s Director of Athletics.

Because of his dad and grandpa, Chappell learned to coach from a young age.

“When I was little, we watched film,” he said. “That’s what we did…I think that’s what kind of inspired me to be a coach.”

Though Chappell’s promotion presents a change in roles among the coaching staff, he assures everything with the team will move as normal.

“I’m just excited to get to work,” he said. “I know that there’s a lot that we need to get done this summer, but I have high expectations for our team this year. I’m looking forward to seeing what we do.”

The football team began summer workouts at the end of May, and games begin in August.