Scholarship fund created in memory of longtime athletic trainer, graduate

Daniel Chappell had a "huge heart" and a dedication to his athletic training profession that benefited high school athletes, Grand Valley students and beyond during his decades of service.

Those are just some of the attributes being remembered about Chappell, '85, who died recently. He had spent 35 years at East Kentwood High School, according to his obituary.

Chappell also was a crucial part of the Grand Valley athletic training program, working with students to mentor and supervise them as they learned about the profession in the field. His work as a preceptor was recognized by the university.

"Students who got to know him saw what a huge heart of a mentor he had," said Shari Bartz-Smith, associate professor and athletic training program director. "He had a passion for helping others. He was just so dedicated to these students and the student athletes." 

That legacy will live on in a scholarship fund established in Chappell's memory to assist students pursuing master's degrees in athletic training at GVSU.

Daniel Chappell at work.
"He had high expectations for the students and he always rose to those expectations," said Shari Bartz-Smith, associate professor and athletic training program director.
Image credit - University Communications

Bartz-Smith said she even worked under Chappell's tutelage when she was a Grand Valley student. She said Chappell was greatly influenced during his time at Grand Valley by Doug Woods, the former softball coach who was head athletic trainer for many years.

Chappell's backing of Grand Valley students included hiring graduates for his staff, Bartz-Smith said. Chappell was passionate about instilling in Grand Valley's budding athletic trainers the values of the profession and in the pride of getting to work early and staying until the job is done.

"He was so invested in seeing the students become successful," Bartz-Smith said. "He wanted students to understand what it took to be successful in the field and that you have to love what you do. And Dan loved what he did."


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