Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Les Chapman, February 11, 2016

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


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00:00:00 - Introduction / recruitment

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Partial Transcript: I'm here with Les Chapman, who's sort of a unique figure in UK tennis.

Segment Synopsis: Les Chapman is introduced, and many of his accomplishments are listed. They talk about recruitment and what made him wanted by recruiters. He explains how the recruitment was done as well.

Keywords: Foreign; Michigan State University; Scholarships

Subjects: Canada.; Kentucky; Tennis; University of Kentucky

00:05:43 - 1967-1968

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Partial Transcript: Now, you know, kind of moving into the, to the tennis aspects of this, um, you, you came in the fall of 1967.

Segment Synopsis: Chapman discusses the recruits in 1967. He explains that all of them were on full scholarship. They also discuss the team and the individual players. He explains how the new tennis courts were built during this time. He explains what it was like to play tennis here.

Keywords: Ratings; Scholarships; Sports; Teams

Subjects: Kentucky; Tennis.; University of Kentucky

00:13:13 - 1968-1969

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Partial Transcript: So now we move into your second year, which ends up being a red shirt year for you.

Segment Synopsis: Chapman tells about how he had broken bones and became ill during the '68-'69 season. He didn't play that year, but he explains that he was a lot like an assistant coach because he still went to the games and was on the team. Florida was the dominating presence the first two years he was there. They discuss the games and various other teams.

Keywords: Coaching; Mono; Mononucleosis; Sickness; Surgery; Teams; Wins

Subjects: Kentucky; Tennis.; University of Kentucky

00:21:04 - 1969-1970 / championships

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Partial Transcript: Well, now, the next year comes around, and now it's 1970.

Segment Synopsis: Chapman discusses the team, games, and the accomplishments of the '69-'70 year. He talks about various players, how they played, and what they did for the team. They also discuss the types of rackets used during these times. They discuss the championships in this year.

Keywords: Championships; Games; Leaders; Rackets; Rankings; Teams

Subjects: Kentucky; Tennis.; University of Kentucky

00:42:52 - Coach Vimont

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Partial Transcript: You know, I want to come back to something here, real quick.

Segment Synopsis: Chapman explains what Coach Vimont's coaching style was like. He says the coach focused on reminding the players to stay calm. He describes many ways the coach taught him strategy. He explains that the coaches were positive and their relationships were strong.

Keywords: Coaching; Strategy; Styles

Subjects: Tennis.; University of Kentucky

00:50:03 - 1970-1971

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Partial Transcript: The next year now is, is '71, which is your, you know, your--now going to be your se--

Segment Synopsis: Chapman discusses the team and the various players in '70-'71. They discuss other teams that the team played against that year. He tells a story of getting in trouble when recruiting because he did not know some of the rules. They also discuss the tennis program, games, and tournaments at the time.

Keywords: Doubles; Recruiting; Recruits; Tournaments; Wins

Subjects: Kentucky; Tennis.; University of Kentucky

01:05:03 - University of Kentucky--Riots

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Partial Transcript: That was kind of a funny year too because we were going back to the motel room after it was over and we're watching University of Kentucky on fire.

Segment Synopsis: Chapman explains that it was a bad year. During the SEC tournament the campus had riots and protests. The ROTC building was on fire, and students were protesting the war. The team still hadn't taken their finals, so they had to be escorted through the riots in order to do so. They could not leave their dorms without being escorted because campus was so dangerous. Some boys on the team were anti-war. The draft had everyone on edge.

Keywords: Finals; Fires; National Guard; ROTC; SEC Tournament

Subjects: Kentucky; Tennis.; United States. Army. Reserve Officers' Training Corps; University of Kentucky; Vietnam War, 1961-1975

01:13:25 - 1971-1972

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Partial Transcript: Well, now we go to your senior year.

Segment Synopsis: Chapman explains that they switched coaches during the middle of the year. He tries to explain the transition and his difficulty with it. He explains that it was very difficult and a little bit frustrating. He felt a little cheated because he was not able to practice his doubles or play them at certain times. He does explain that he was distracted that year because of personal issues. He was not able to play doubles in the SEC tournament because the coaches thought that they protested. He felt cheated because he didn't get a chance to win a third title for doubles. They also discuss the team and various stories about games and tournaments.

Keywords: Coaches; Protests; Teams; Tournaments; Upsets; Wins

Subjects: Kentucky; Tennis.; University of Kentucky

01:23:27 - University of Kentucky--Changes

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Partial Transcript: What differences did you see in the University of Kentucky, not as a tennis program, but the University of Kentucky as a school...

Segment Synopsis: Chapman explains that he saw the academic rigor get better. He says that by his senior year the academic qualifications to get in the school were harder than they were when he started. The school had nationally ranked programs. They discuss how the school became more selective. He also explains that the school physically grew. The construction was almost non-stop. He thought that the school was easy on athletes because they had full scholarships. He noticed that the athletic program grew in staff.

Keywords: Academics; Athletic program; Construction; Scholarships

Subjects: Kentucky; Tennis.; University of Kentucky

01:29:03 - Changes in athletic rules and sanctions

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Partial Transcript: Well good, Les, any, any stories that, you know, kind of come to mind from your, your playing days?

Segment Synopsis: Chapman explains stories of illegal activities done by athletes, and how they could be swept under the rug. He says that they could get away with a lot more than students could now. He explains that coaches were completely autocratic. He explains that the women's team was just a club sport back then, and he explains that he is happy to see that the women have much more funding and attention. He also explains that now there is not as much room for error when recruiting.

Keywords: Athletics; Differences; Illegal activities; Punishments; Recruiting; Rules; Scholarships

Subjects: Kentucky; Tennis.; University of Kentucky