Eric Chappell will take the Head Coaching role for the Vacaville Bulldogs Girls Flag Football team for their first season this fall.
Vacaville High School announced Eric Chappell as the school’s first girls flag football head coach ahead of the 2024-2025 season.
Chappell, a 1999 graduate and two sport athlete at Vacaville High, played as a defensive back at Shasta College and the University of New Mexico, Highlands, as well as Southern Oregon University.
Girls flag football will be a new addition to the Monticello Empire League for for the upcoming season, the league announced in November, as will boys volleyball.
Chappell, who returned to Vacaville High School as a coach in 2004, coached lower-level football and baseball at the school, and will step away from his role as JV football coach to take over this one. Chappell’s latest season coaching the JV saw the team earn a perfect 10-0 record.
“I’m just very excited for the opportunity,” Chappell said.
“This is a unique chance to start a new program that provides talented young female athletes another chance to showcase their skills, represent their city, and create great memories,” he said.
Chappell said the sport is a fast paced, seven-on-seven contest with 20-minute halves. High speed passing attacks are a large part of the sport, he said, which unfolds across a 26-game season.
“That’s one thing that’s a little different than normal football,” he said.
And although the sport is new, Chappell said his approach to coaching it won’t vary much from his work in more traditional sports.
“For me, I just think that who I am, I have to be able to coach just like any other sport,” he said.
Chappell said he holds a high ceiling for his players, but makes sure to give them the support they need to achieve lofty goals. He said the sport is already a part of the Olympics, is supported by the NFL, and is likely to become a collegiate sport in the next few years.
“I push really hard but at the same make I give them tools to succeed,” said Chappell.
Practices for the team may start as early as this spring, said Chappell, who hopes to host a tournament over the summer to get the team up to speed. As other teams on the Bulldogs’ schedule will have played in previous years, he said, it’s important for them to be prepared for the season to start.
With a new sport coming to the school, Chappell hopes the community will get excited about the team and support them across their season.
The school will have an informational meeting Thursday to gauge interest and allow prospective players to ask questions, Chappell said. As a two-sport athlete himself at the high school level, he said, both he and the school as a whole are supportive of that process, which will help the new sport grow.
“Overall we’re providing a place for them to be student athletes,” he said.
Chappell thanked several of his coaching mentors, including Tom Zunino, Mike Papadopolous, Trini Ruiz, Chris Santopadre, Bert Brown, Adam Wight, and Fred Jones. Chappell also thanked his mother, a longtime supporter of Vacaville athletics.