Chappell reared the children on Tech, growing up watching the Jackets and hearing their father’s stories about Bobby Dodd, for whom he played. On the morning of their sons’ games, he woke them up with the Tech fight song.
Boosted by his father’s tutelage, Randy Rhino surpassed his achievements at Tech, and in 2002 was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. He and Danny started one season together in the Jackets secondary.
Chappell’s devotion to his children through sport was such that Randy grew up wanting to be a coach as well. A chiropractor, he has coached football, basketball and baseball at the youth level for years.
“We always said that, myself and my brothers, for us to be good at it, there had to be a ball involved,” Randy Rhino said. “That’s really how much he gave to me as far as learning how to compete and skill level and that kind of thing. I’ve done a lot of youth coaching over at Chastain Park, and the people asked me why I do it. I say, ‘Well, I learned it from my dad.’”
Among those whom Randy coached was his son Kelley, who followed his father and grandfather to Tech, lettering 1999 through 2002. He broke his father’s school records for punt return yardage in a career (1,135, on 112 returns) and in a season (515, in 2001, on 48 returns).
Chappell Rhino is survived by his wife, five children, nine grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. About six months ago, he contracted acute myeloid leukemia, Randy said.
“At 88, there’s not a whole lot of treatment that they can handle,” he said. “It’s just making him comfortable. He lived a great life and was ready to go.”
The influence of a man who administered discipline and tough love, but who could also tear up at the drop of a hat lives on through, among other ways, the coaching lessons that he imparted. Kelley Rhino, who is in commercial real estate, has a 12-year-old son Austin. Like his father and grandfather did growing up, he plays football, basketball and baseball.
Among those who will be coaching him this year are Chappell Rhino’s son and grandson.
The funeral for Chappell Rhino will be held Tuesday at 2 p.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Toccoa.