All-state high school player, and honorable mention college conference player are just some of the accolades Kevin Schappell has earned in his lifetime. Schappell is in his second year as an assistant coach for the NKU men’s basketball program. A 2001 graduate of Loveland High School, Schappell chose to stay close to home and enroll as a student at Northern Kentucky University. He never regretted that choice.
“NKU holds a special place in my heart,” Schappell said. “This is home for me. Everyone was great to me while I was a student here, and I think it’s the best place in the world to be.”
Schappell was a five-year player at NKU. In that time, Schappell said he played behind a group of talented players, which prevented him from seeing significant playing time during his freshman and sophomore years.
“I redshirted my first year, my second year I wasn’t good enough and my third year I still wasn’t good enough,” Schappell admitted. “But I overcame that by outworking everyone here my junior year. It was hard work and a lot of dedication, but that’s how I overcame it.”
Schappell eventually saw success as a player during his junior year. He was named honorable mention All-Great Lakes Valley Conference player during the 2005-2006 season. He then carried that success over into his senior year, and helped the team reach the Great Lakes Region championship game during the 2006-2007 season.
While playing under head coach David Bezold, Schappell formed a special bond with him.
“Coach Beez is like my second dad,” Schappell said. “He’s every player’s second dad, and is the ultimate player’s coach. He is a big part as to why I wanted to come back.”
After his playing career at NKU, Schappell went on to work as a graduate assistant for the West Virginia University men’s basketball team and worked under head coach Bob Huggins. Schappell was a part of the team that went to the 2010 NCAA Division I Final Four. Schappell said that during his time working under Huggins, his knowledge for the game of basketball increased.
“He’s one of the smartest and the hardest working coaches I’ve ever seen,” Schappell said. “I thought I really knew the game of basketball, until I went over and worked with that guy.”
After three years as a graduate assistant and earning his master’s degree from West Virginia, Schappell got the opportunity to return to his home roots to work as an NKU assistant coach. Bezold knew how much Schappell admired NKU, and saw it as the perfect opportunity for him.
“Kevin invested everything he had in the university and the team,” Bezold said. “He loves NKU. He’s a tremendous worker, and we saw this as the perfect starting point for a young coach such as himself with the amount of care and enthusiasm he has for this program.”
Bezold said that a large part in making the decision to hire Schappell was his history with NKU.
“We like to take care of our own,” Bezold said. “At the time, we saw it as the perfect fit for Kevin to come back over here and work with us.”
The quality that impressed Bezold the most about Schappell was his work ethic and the way he works with the players.
“Kevin brings an enthusiasm for basketball every day he comes in,” Bezold said. “He loves challenging the players. He still speaks the players’ language, and he has credibility to them in their eyes because he’s done it so recently.”
While Schappell loves working for Bezold as an assistant coach, he still holds one ultimate goal in mind for his future
“I want to be a head coach for the collegiate level,” Schappell said. “That’s my ultimate dream. My two mentors … have really helped me learn a lot about the game of basketball, and I think they’ve been preparing me for that next step. I learned how to recruit from Coach Huggs, and how to be patient from Coach Beez, and I just try to be like a sponge and absorb everything they’ve taught me and learn from everyone that I’ve worked with.”
For now though, Schappell is focused on this upcoming season.
“We have a new group of talented kids this season, and we got to build our chemistry up around each other,” Schappell said. “Once we do that, the sky’s the limit for this team.”