The Vicksburg Daily News is recognizing local native and football coach Eric Chiplin by renaming the Junior High Football Coach of the Year Award in his honor.
Since elementary school, Chiplin loved the game of football and played for the Bowmar Bears at the Vicksburg YMCA. He stuck with football throughout his youth and was a person everyone enjoyed being around and brought joy to many.
“He was an extremely happy child and full of laughter, “ Dr. June Chiplin Thomas (Chiplin’s mother) said. There was never a dull moment with him and he was definitely a gentle giant.”
By the time Chiplin was in his teenage years, he found himself playing for Vicksburg High School on the offensive and defensive line.
“He was always an intelligent player, a hard worker, and a for sure team player,” Alonzo Stevens (Chiplin’s high school coach) said. He loved him some Gator football and he was someone anyone would love to coach and he knew that hard work pays off.”
Chiplin was a part of the Gator football team that made it to the North State Championship Game in 2001 with a 10-4 record including shutting out Madison Central 28-0 in the second round.
After graduating in 2002, Chiplin went on to further his education at Holmes Community College and finished at Alcorn State.
In 2018, Vicksburg Junior High School was without a lineman’s coach and Chiplin quickly stepped in to help.
“He started with us in 2018 and I will always value his dedication to seeing all our athletes succeed from 7th-12th grade on and off the field,” VJHS Head Coach Larry Carter, Jr. said.
In his second year with the team, Chiplin helped the Gators to an undefeated season and a 2019 Little Six Championship. He also got the chance to suit up with the boys one day at practice along with his fellow coaches.
“He loved those kids so much and they thought the world of him,” Dr. June Thomas said. He always loved working with kids and he pitched in with helping with the Fuzzy Johnson baseball league as well.”
VJHS football team was a complete family with Chiplin being on the staff. He always went the extra mile to show his love for his players.
The Vicksburg community had more than a coach in Chiplin, they also had someone who put others before himself. During the ice storm in 2021, Chiplin drove people around a brought them materials that they needed.
Chiplin was a man who lived life to the fullest in any situation. You can catch him on the sideline having fun with his team or on stage sharing his love for music.
On Nov. 29, 2021 the diehard Gator and San Francisco 49ers fan died at the young age of 37. Before his death, he was engaged to Jamilia Ellis.
Everyone was aware of Coach Chip’s love for VHS and he reached out to VDN’s sports reporter just 10 days before his death about how well the 2021 Gators were playing and how they could be better than his class.
The Vicksburg Daily News chose to honor Chiplin for his selflessness, dedication and love for all beyond football and his name will live on through this award and the players he coached over the years.
The VHS football team also honored Coach Chip by placing his name on their helmets and dedicating the 2022 season to him.
The award will be now named as the VDN’s Coach Chip Award which will represent the best Junior High football head coach each year.
In the upcoming weeks, VDN will honor Coach Chip again with a video that will feature some of the people who were the closest to him.
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