WACO, Texas – A University High School alumnus is looking for 5,000 signatures on an online petition to rename Waco ISD Stadium after late UHS soccer coach Mike Chapman, who died unexpectedly last Tuesday.
Waco ISD Stadium is home to the soccer and football teams for both Waco High and University. When Dustin Weins heard the news of Chapman’s death, he called on the Waco community for help.
“I just got to thinking, ‘What would be the best way to honor such a great man?’ And WISD Stadium just popped into my head. It seemed like the perfect idea – it’s kind of a blank slate, it hasn’t been named after anybody yet,” says Weins. “I think it was kind of just waiting for the perfect person.”
As of this afternoon, the petition had already been signed over 3,600 times. Once it reaches the 5,000 signature threshold, Weins plans on taking it to the Waco ISD board for approval.
“He’s such a big figure above sports. Beyond sports. I think we should put his name on anything we can, to be honest with you,” says Weins. “Since he is a coach, I thought the stadium would be the most appropriate.”
For Waco ISD, however, renaming the stadium may not be so easy.
The district’s policy for naming buildings after people says the namesake usually has to be dead for at least ten years and given at least 30 years of service to Waco schools. Chapman taught at University for 28 years.
“We’ll certainly take a look at that policy, but we’ll have a broader conversation about what’s the right way to celebrate coach Chapman’s legacy and to make sure that he remains a model for generations of students to come,” says Waco ISD Chief of Staff Kyle DeBeer.
Chapman’s students are behind the renaming, but they know his legacy is much more than that.
“He’s not going anywhere. He’s part of Waco. And even if the stadium doesn’t get to be renamed, everybody carries Mike Chapman in their little heart. And so, it’s not a big deal if it doesn’t get re-named,” says University alumna Stephany A-Chivara. “We’re all gonna be okay, and I’m pretty sure that as a society, as a community, we’re gonna find ways to keep on carrying his legacy.”
There will be a funeral service for Chapman at the stadium Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
You can sign the petition here.