Back in the early 1970s when Broncos Head Coach John Fox attended Castle Park High School in Chula Vista, Calif., he was coached by Jan Chapman.
Today, Chapman had a chance to watch Fox do some coaching of his own at Dove Valley.
Chapman, who has coached football for nearly 40 years, said that he saw qualities in Fox as a player that made him think that Fox would make a good coach down the line.
“He really studied what we were doing,” Chapman said while watching Fox lead the Broncos practice on Wednesday. “He understood everything we were doing. I just thought, if that’s what he wants to do, he will do it.”
Fox played tight end and safety for his high school team during his sophomore and junior seasons while Chapman was an assistant coach.
The two reconnected when Fox worked as the San Diego Chargers secondary coach from 1992-93. Chapman served as the statistician for the Chargers during those years and said the pair talked daily during their time in San Diego together. They stayed in touch when Fox continued on his coaching path.
“It’s very refreshing because he is such a great guy,” Chapman said. “He’s so easy to talk to and I just love the guy.”
Chapman said that Fox’s leadership qualities made him a well-respected player among his peers and coaches.
“He was a quiet leader,” Chapman recalled. “He wasn’t a loud, boisterous guy at all. But he was a leader.”
Chapman remembers Fox as an extremely undersized player who excelled thanks to his toughness and effort on the field.
“He was only 150 or 155 pounds in high school, and that may have been giving him some,” Chapman laughed. “Then he went to junior college, did well in junior college, walked on at San Diego State and started for them. He played hard. As little as he was, I couldn’t believe it. He was tough. He was super.”