Coach, legislator, all around great person

Published 12:07 am Monday, June 25, 2018

There were many influences in our young lives from teachers, coaches, doctors and civic leaders. I have mentioned people like Ted Day, Carl Smith and Mickey and Steve Cochran, along with Coach Wagner. There is one that I have not mentioned, and he was special, and that is Coach Howard Chapin.

Coach Chapin had many outstanding qualities, but the one I remember most was his personality and caring attitude. It did not matter who you were, he always had a kind word and made you feel special. His big smile and handshake was a welcome sight to any person. He just enjoyed seeing others having more fun than he. Let me share with you two of the many times he was so kind to me.

During my coaching career when we had a “Night of Champions” in Williamston, he was always there. He would go by and pick up Coach Alligood, and the two represented my high school mentors. This was special! For a young coach having his high school coaches there was a treat. Yes, his smile and big hands were greeting people he did not know but never did he complain. He was there, and I appreciated it!

My second special moment with Coach was in 1999. He had called and wanted to take me and my wife out to dinner at the Holiday Inn. Naturally, he brought the love of his life, his wife Mrs. Mary Alice, and they met us in the lobby. When we got to our table there was Bobby, Bubba and Terry, three of my closest friends, along with their wives. He always asked in school to name three of my friends and never forgot. That for me was a moment I will never forget. Coach even took pictures of all of us together and placed them in an album that I still have to this day. That was the type of man Coach Chapin was to us all.

If you noticed, I have not even mentioned his outstanding coaching career or the fact that he represented our district in the House of Representatives. He will always be remembered by me as a caring person who could “walk the walk.” He loved our class and left us during our senior year and was missed by us all, even to this day. He made learning fun and many young female students have gone looking for the “ball holder” and to this day have not found it. He was a good practical joker!

A year before he passed away, I had given him a Shrine Bowl label pin that was given to me. When I walked by his casket, there it was on the left lapel of his coat. That was the Coach Howard Chapin that I remembered! He still has a place in my heart and always will.

The best of times, with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, NC.

— Harold Jr.

Harold Robinson Jr. is a native of Washington.