Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Joe's St. Louis: STL Handball Legend David Chapman Dies

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Joe's St. Louis: STL Handball Legend David Chapman Dies

Article excerpt

So few are the best at what they do. David Chapman was one of the few.

Chapman, a handball player of international renown who some call the best American player of all time, died Oct. 10 at Progress West Hospital in O'Fallon, Mo. Chapman, who lived in Weldon Spring, was 42. The cause of death wasn't disclosed.

"The best way to describe him is to say he was in handball like Tiger Woods was in golf simply unbeatable for 10 to 12 years," said Danny Maupin, a close friend and former handball teammate in college.

"To make it all more wild, he was this bald guy, always a little bit chubby, who would take these premier in-shape athletes out on the handball court and then just absolutely destroy them," Maupin said.

"You ask 100 elite handball players who's the best they ever saw," Maupin said, "and I bet 99 would say David."

Chapman dominated the sport in the United States starting 25 years ago. He was ranked No. 1 in the nation from 1993 to 2004, and then made a comeback rise to the top again from 2008 to 2011.

In all, Chapman won 12 national singles titles and 14 doubles titles. On the international scene, he won four world titles including a sweep of both the singles and doubles crowns in 2000.

In a 2004 interview with the Post-Dispatch, Chapman said his first recollection of playing handball was when he was 5. He remembered "bouncing a handball off the garage with Dad" in Long Beach, Calif.

Chapman began entering professional events as a teenager and won five national junior titles between 1985 and 1991.

Looking for a drastic change of scenery, Chapman decided to attend college at Missouri State University in Springfield and major in finance.

Although the NCAA did not recognize handball as a sanctioned sport, Chapman played on the club level and won four collegiate singles titles and three team titles.

Chris Suntrup, an avid handballer who helped Chapman get a job as a finance manager at the Suntrup family's car dealerships after he graduated, had another sports comparison. …

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