Fayetteville Academy athletic director Chip Bishop was recently honored for his years of service to the school when he was named the winner of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Chuck Carter Athletic Director of the Year Award.
Bishop is only the fourth recipient of the honor, which is named for the retired longtime head of the NCISAA.
Bishop was hired as basketball coach at Fayetteville Academy 36 years ago and was elevated to athletic director 22 years ago by former head of school Ben Crabtree.
He now oversees a total athletic program that offers a variety of sports for boys and girls from the high school to the middle school level, all under the same roof at the school sandwiched between Morganton and Cliffdale Roads.
Bishop said the responsibility involved with running the athletic program has grown over the years because the student-athletes likely spend more time on the Academy campus than they do at home.
“They might leave home at 7 a.m. and return at 9 or 10 p.m. at night if they have a game,’’ Bishop said. “We have a lot of responsibility, me as an athletic director and also our coaches, to guide and direct these young people.’’
Bishop said the parents of Academy student-athletes have high expectations for the school, both athletically and academically, and he feels that has increased the challenge of the job.
“Fifteen years ago I might have told you coaching was more demanding,’’ he said. “It’s not even close anymore.’’
But Bishop doesn’t see it as a burden.
In fact, he feels the combination of academic and athletic success available to students at the Academy makes him glad to work there.
Unlike some in his job, Bishop said he relishes chances to work closely with students at the school and not just leave that task to his coaches.
“I think I have a good relationship with the majority of the young people at the school,’’ he said. “Being a small school, it enables you to get to know the young people better.’’
Bishop thanked his family, wife Beckie and daughters Jenna Graves and Megan Bishop, for being helpful and supportive and making it possible for him to “survive’’ the job.
Looking to the future, Bishop hopes to continue the school’s tradition of academic and athletic success. “It sometimes complicates things, but we’ve proven you can do both,’’ he said.
PHOTO: Left to right: Chip Bishop; Chuck Carter who the award is named for; and Beckie Bishop, Chip’s wife.