CHAPMAN – Chapman High School will have new faces to lead its basketball programs this summer in preparation for the 2021-2022 school year.
Second-year girls’ head coach Drew Gruver will become the Fighting Irish head basketball coach. Gruver is finishing his second year at Chapman after a stint at Clay Center.
Gruver will replace veteran boys’ coach James Bell who asked to make the transition to Chapman Middle School basketball so he can watch his young children develop in the next few years.
“Drew has a successful history as a men’s basketball coach,” said Chapman Athletics manager Clint Merritt. “More recently at the Clay Center but also in southwestern Kansas. Drew was also a head coach at the junior college level.
“We are happy that a veteran coach like James Bell is taking over our college basketball programs and developing our future Irish college players,” Merritt said.
As Gruver moves into the boys’ program, Merritt hired veteran women’s basketball coach Michael Wahlmeir to lead the Lady Irish program.
“When I took on the girls job here a few years ago, one thing I was concerned about was not being able to train my own son, who will be arriving soon,” said Gruver. “I kind of accepted that and I didn’t think the opportunity would be to coach boys here, but it did this spring. I feel a little guilty about leaving the young girls we have in the program, but I know Coach Wahlmeir will do a great job with them. I am delighted to have the chance and the opportunity to be on the boys’ side again. This is where my coaching experience took place. I’ve been a bit familiar with the NCKL boy side from my time at the Clay Center. I don’t know much about our boys team yet as I haven’t been able to see them play a lot this year working with the girls program. I know some of the guys and know a bit more about them. This summer will be great because we will be taking the guys to the gym this summer so I can get to know them more and see what kind of game they have and then develop the summer.
Wahlmeir comes to Chapman after spending 10 years at Concordia High School. At Concordia, the Lady Panthers won the Class 4A Substate Tournament in 2014-15 and finished fourth at the KSHSAA Class 4A State Tournament.
Prior to joining Concordia, Coach Wahlmeir spent five years as an assistant coach at Washburn Rural. He will teach mathematics in high school.
“We are pleased to welcome Coach Wahlmeir to Chapman and look forward to his successful leadership in our women’s basketball program,” said Merritt.