Auburn University at Montgomery longtime basketball coach Larry Chapman will retire after spending 37 years with the university.
Larry Chapman came to Auburn Montgomery in 1977 after brief coaching stints at Auburn High School and Georgia Southern. It was at the latter where he met Jack Schweers, who is now the head coach at Trinity Presbyterian School in Montgomery.
"When we came to Auburn Montgomery, it had been in existence two years," he says. "As a matter of fact, when we were at Georgia Southern, one day at lunch he said come on Jack, I think I got a job for you. And I thought I knew probably every college in America. I was really into it and I said where is that Larry? He said Auburn Montgomery. I said Auburn Montgomery, what is that?"
Becoming just the second head basketball coach at the university, some say Chapman is responsible for making the program what it is today. Auburn Montgomery has made 11 appearances in the NAIA National Tournament and Chapman's teams have won several championships in multiple conferences.
"He built the whole legacy about basketball there and all the winning tradition," says Nigel Card.
Card played basketball under Chapman before becoming his assistant. He now coaches at St. James School in Montgomery and says his relationship with Chapman spans decades.
"He's a father figure. He's a friend. He's been my coach. He's been my mentor. He's been almost everything to me and my family."
Others who've played under Chapman say the longtime coach continues to impact their lives. Chauncey Shines, who coaches at Brewbaker Tech tells us he tries to mimic Chapman's style of coaching.
"Well he's firm but he's fair," Shines explains. "If you do right, you play right. If you do wrong, he's going to do what needs to do to get you back in order."
And after almost four decades of coaching at AUM, those who know Chapman say he'll be hard to replace.
"He's a fiery guy who always wants to win," says Schweers.
"It's going to be hard to replace a legend so they should go and get somebody that's good, I can tell you that," says Shines.