The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

87° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    In a league of her own: Chappell represents thousands

    Arizona senior forward Anna Chappell has led the way on and off the court for the Arizona womens basketball team this season. Chappell is the lone Division I basketball representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, serving as vice chair this season before assuming the role of chair next year.
    Arizona senior forward Anna Chappell has led the way on and off the court for the Arizona women’s basketball team this season. Chappell is the lone Division I basketball representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, serving as vice chair this season before assuming the role of chair next year.

    Three-hundred-fifty-thousand.

    That’s how many student-athletes Arizona women’s basketball senior forward Anna Chappell represents in her role as vice chair of the national Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

    The SAAC is an organization comprised of 31 student-athletes representing 31 different conferences from across the country. The organization seeks to further develop student-athletes at the Division I level, both inside the realm of athletics and as away from it.

    Chappell is the lone representative from Division I-A basketball – both men’s and women’s – on a national level, rising to the position from the campus-level Student-Athlete Advisory Board quite rapidly.

    As one of two Wildcat athletes (one male and one female) who attended the Pacific 10 Conference meetings, Chappell received some words of support from Becky Bell, the Director of CATS Life Skills, who encouraged her to pursue the conference position.

    Chappell became Arizona’s first athlete ever selected to the national SAAC, as well as the Pacific 10 Conference’s first female representative, attending four national meetings a year.

    “”Then when I was (at the national meeting) the vice chair position became available, and I was like, ‘Might as well just try and see what happens,'”” Chappell said.

    When the time came for the national SAAC to choose the vice chair in early January, the native of Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, Canada, was in Los Angeles with her teammates to take on the Bruins. Chappell applied anyway and was selected.

    “”Before I spoke on behalf of every athlete in the Pac-10, and now when I go to events I’m speaking on behalf of every Division-I athlete across the nation,”” she said.

    “”It’s really good for her,”” added teammate ChǸ Oh, a sophomore forward. “”I think not only our team, not only our school, but the whole Pac-10 should be proud of what she’s doing.””

    The position of vice chair will evolve into a chair position for Chappell in 2007-08 when she’ll automatically replace the current chair, Michael Piscetelli, who is the Atlantic Coast Conference’s representative from Wake Forest. She’ll hold the position until January 2008, almost a year after she is scheduled to graduate with a degree in secondary education.

    For Chappell, who also has two minors, the position would be hard enough if she weren’t a D-I athlete, as she said it requires an extra six to eight hours of work every week.

    “”We, of course, are mesmerized by her,”” said Rocky LaRose, Arizona’s senior associate athletic director. “”She’s bright, intelligent. She’s talented in many ways, and for her to take this step – that takes initiative.””

    That initiative will most likely help her in landing a job after college. Chappell’s sights are set squarely on athletic administration, with the ultimate goal of becoming an athletic director.

    “”It’s an amazing steppingstone,”” Chappell said. “”Being a student-athlete period is a good experience to go into athletic administration, never mind dealing with student-athlete issues.””

    Added LaRose: “”There is no better networking than being on the NCAA SAAC because she will get to meet other athletic directors, other athletic administrators, presidents of universities – that’s who she’ll be networking with, so that alone has great value for her future career potential.

    “”Then, take it a step further. She’s learning the insides of how intercollegiate athletics works, and she’s learning the basic principles and gets to look at legislation from a really head-on view.

    “”She’s already doing what we do (as administrators), so that’s a great learning ground for her.””

    The impression Chappell has made on her teammates, coaches and athletic administrators seems to invoke the same response: “”Wow.””

    “”I’ve said it wouldn’t surprise me if down the road, she’s a boss of mine,”” Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini said with a smile. “”As an administrator you want someone who can help solve problems or assist you in whatever you need, and I see that (in her) because I see her as someone who listens and wants to get things done.””

    As far as Anna Chappell the basketball player goes, she’s gradually seen her playing time increase as the season wears on.

    “”She has grown into the leadership role more than any player since I’ve been coaching,”” Bonvicini said. “”She’s just grown immensely, I think, in her own self-esteem as a person and as a player.””

    Though Chappell doesn’t like to use the word “”capitalize”” when describing her extra playing time – “”It’s not my style,”” she said – she is doing just that, improving upon every career mark she set in previous seasons in the process, from points and rebounds to steals and assists.

    “”Whatever opportunity I get, I’m going to go play as hard as I can. Whether I score 20 points or usually two,”” Chappell said, laughing. “”It’s OK, as long as I’m doing my job.

    “”I definitely feel like I’m improving. You get out there, and you get more confidence.””

    Chappell said she’s faced a range of emotions because this is her final season in uniform.

    “”Initially, I was kind of excited,”” she said. “”It’s like, ‘I made it. Your final year, your senior year.’ But now it’s that next step in your life, kinda like, ‘Where do I go next?'””

    More to Discover
    Activate Search