Photo: New Holly Springs High School boys’ basketball coach Luke Chapman (Courtesy photo)
A young Luke Chapman has already been a part of winning basketball as a player, manager and assistant coach. Now he’s ready to take charge of his own program.
The 28-year-old is the new head boys basketball coach at Holly Springs High School, where the “Mighty Bad Hawks” championship tradition runs deep.
Chapman comes to Holly High after two years as an assistant at Jones College in Ellisville.
“I really wanted to get a head-coaching job, and it was going to take a special job to get me away from Jones,” he said. “I looked around and had a few interviews, and Mr. (Cravin) Turnage (the principal at Holly High) took a chance on me, and I appreciate that so very much.
“The basketball support here is outstanding. I love all sports, but I really love the appeal of a basketball school. I know Holly Springs has talent year-in and year-out on the basketball court, and I look forward to playoff runs and going after that gold ball.”
Chapman played two years of high school basketball for coach Newton Mealer at Center Hill in neighboring DeSoto County. As a senior in 2013, he was named the District 1-5A most valuable player in helping lead the Mustangs to their first district championship.
He attended Northwest Mississippi Community College and then the University of Memphis. At Memphis, he worked as a manager for the basketball team led by head coach Josh Pastner.
“I loved it so much, and that’s when I knew that I wanted to be a basketball coach,” Chapman said.
After college graduation, he returned to his high school alma mater and worked as an assistant coach under Mealer. In four seasons, Center Hill went 100-31, including a Class 5A state championship, a state runner-up finish and three district titles. Among many other tasks, Chapman was responsible for team and individual skill development and scouting and developing game plans.
Mealer then took the head coaching job at Jones College, and Chapman followed as an assistant. At Jones, the 2021-2022 team started 10-0 and was ranked as high as number 10 in the country. In year two, the Bobcats lost to Meridian Community College in the conference championship game. The record at Jones was 34-19 in those two seasons combined.
“I am a process-driven guy.” Chapman said “We want to develop players’ basketball skills as well as personal skills. We will establish a culture of hard work. On the court, practices will be intense and demanding to ensure we are physically and mentally stronger than our opponents. In the classroom, we won’t settle for status quo, we will seek excellence. And in doing these things, day after day, success will follow.”
He said his teams will play a “fun, fan-friendly style.”
“We will play at a fast pace, pushing the basketball in transition,” Chapman said. “Defensively, we want to make the other team uncomfortable with a lot of pressure.”
He said he understands the rich tradition at Holly High, where basketball is king and post-season success is expected. Long playoff runs are common. The last state championship came in 2005. There have also been final eight, final four and runner-up finishes since then, in addition to claiming many district crowns.
“I know this is a very good 3A school,” Chapman said. “We played them (when at Center Hill) and had some great games against them. I’m looking forward to coaching at a place with consistent talent.
“We will strive to be selfless – with not one guy getting the credit. The goal is to create a brotherhood – built on discipline, togetherness, competitiveness and hard work. Acquiring these qualities, along with an intentional pursuit to get better every day, these young men will experience success on and off the basketball court.”