The Arthur L. Bruce Person of the Week:
Joey Chism, Head Coach for the Mount Pleasant High School Boys Basketball Team
After leading his team to the regional tournament in March and making school history in the process, Mount Pleasant native Joey Chism is this week’s Person of the Week chosen by TriCountyPress.com
A natural on the hardwood from a very young age, Chism ironically didn’t consider his talents to be all that exceptional until he was much older.
“I’ve always played basketball, but it wasn’t until my 8th grade year that it really hit me.”
And boy, did it hit him–hard. Chism entered as a freshman starter the following season on the varsity team. A shooting guard and small forward, Chism dominated on the court all four years as a Mount Pleasant Tiger varsity player where he was voted MVP, selected for the All Region Team and nominated to the McDonald’s All-American Team.
Graduating from Mount Pleasant High School in 1997, Chism continued to play the game he loved at the collegiate level. Enrolling at Jacksonville Baptist College on a basketball scholarship, he later took his talents to Western Illinois University.
“Transferring out of state was a big transition for me,” Chism said. “It took a lot of adjusting, but I hung in there and really learned a lot more about the game.”
Coached by his father Melvin Chism since he was a toddler, Joey Chism had never really considered coaching basketball as a career. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2001 from Western Illinois, he attended St. Edward’s University in Austin to complete post-secondary certification requirements. He decided he now wanted to teach others about the game he has always loved.
Landing his first coaching job in 2003, Chism began his career at Marshall High School. Two years later, he got the chance to return to his alma mater as an assistant basketball coach. For nine years, Chism dedicated himself to helping build the Tigers’ basketball program. In the spring of 2014, Chism’s devotion was finally rewarded when he was named head basketball coach taking over the reins after the departure of Jonathan Hopkins.
“Being able to come back home (in 2005) really meant a lot to me,” Chism said. “Being named head coach was even more exciting. Over the years, I have a lot of people who have encouraged me. Of course, my entire family has always been right there to support me. Coach Hopkins was also really great to work under because I learned so much about the the Xs and Os of the game from him. And to this day, I talk basketball with Coach Willie Williams every time we see each other.”
Chism has also been influenced by coaches like Brad Underwood who is now the head basketball coach at the University of Illinois. Underwood served as assistant coach at Western Illinois while Chism was a player. Professionally, Chism also likes the coaching systems of powerhouses such as Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors and Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs. And speaking of San Antonio, Chism predicted the Kansas Jayhawks would take it all in the Alamo City this year, but unfortunately Villanova had something else in mind. The championship is now set for the Wildcats to take on the Michigan Wolverines.
While others may be focused on the scoreboard during the game, Chism focuses on coaching styles whenever he’s watching a game of basketball. In fact, when it comes to individual players, he’s not very picky.
“I just like the game of basketball; it doesn’t really matter who is playing,” Chism said. “I’ll just about watch any team, college or NBA, if it’s basketball.”
Mount Pleasant Tigers fans watched this season as Chism, who has 91 career wins under his belt, led his team to a 29-7 record finishing 10-2 in district. For the first time ever in school history, the team, led by six talented seniors, advanced to the UIL 16-5A regional tournament before falling to Lancaster in a 65-57 nailbiter.
“It was a difficult loss because we were so close,” Chism said. “The team set the bar high going into the season because they had a goal in mind from the very beginning.”
In fact, Chism created a four-year goal sheet precisely four years ago that included the following milestones to accomplish: implement a whole new system, make the playoffs, win district and make it to the regional tournament—check, check, check and check. The list, still prominently displayed on the wall near his office desk, is a constant reminder of what can happen once a team is truly committed.
“I told the team last year that I didn’t enjoy the season because I was constantly watching video after each game to see what mistakes we were making,” Chism said. “I told them this year I wanted to really enjoy the season. I still worried about the videos, but I am so proud of them for really stepping up.”
Indeed, the team stepped up big time with several players receiving district and all region honors this year. Chism, with eight career playoff appearances, has also received his share of accolades. He has been selected the District 16-5A Coach of the Year for the past two years and was named the Don Coleman Outstanding Coach Award finalist for 2018. He was also recently selected for the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches (TABC) Outstanding Coach Award and will coach the Boys East Team in the Azalea Orthopedics High School Basketball Classic in April.
“I’m just so honored by all the awards,” he said. “This has truly been a great season. I am so proud of my staff and the players for their hard work and for never giving up. We fought hard this year and I think it really paid off.”
Chism is the son of Melvin and Pam Chism. He and his wife, Lori Calhoun Chism, are the proud parents of three children Payton, 13, Carter, 9 and Malori, 7.
The TriCountyPress.com salutes Coach Joey Chism as this week’s Arthur L. Bruce Person of the Week.
Be sure to like, share and leave comments about this week’s pick on our Facebook page. Submit a tip on our website or leave a comment on Facebook about someone (preference given to residents in Titus, Camp and Morris Counties as well as Hughes Springs) you feel would make a good choice for a future Person of the Week.
About Arthur L. Bruce
Mrs. Bruce was born on March 22, 1936, in Daingerfield (Morris County) to the parentage of Lee Fleming and Goldie Warren Fleming. She peacefully departed this life on the morning of March 21, 2018.
Ms. Bruce attended Love Chapel Elementary School and later graduated from Traylor High School in Hughes Springs. After high school, she graduated from Sweatt’s Beauty College in Tyler and opened her own beauty shop where she worked many years. She then graduated from nursing school in Longview and began a successful career as an LVN. She also studied sociology, physiology and American history at Texarkana College. Over the course of almost 30 years, Mrs. Bruce provided care to residents at Pittsburg Hospital and also at various area nursing home facilities. She served as Director of Nursing at the Hughes Springs Nursing Center and Grainger Nursing Home. She completed her nursing career in the home health field where she worked for the HATS Home Health Agency assessing patients. She was also an active member of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Daingerfield.
Always very civically minded, Mrs. Bruce was instrumental in the naming of the Floyd and Rita Sanders Library at Daingerfield Junior High School. She was also a founding member of the Pineywoods Civitan Club which is now known as the Pineywoods Civic Club. She faithfully served in several offices for many years and helped to continue the mission of service within the community. Mrs. Bruce also served on the board of directors for the Christian Service Center and co-founded the Upper Room, a ministry to enhance the educational needs of residents in surrounding communities. From its inception, Mrs. Bruce was a huge supporter of The Tri-County Press and later Impress and helped facilitate strategic partnerships still important to the success of these publications today.