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Sports lecturer scores Queen's honour

Bob pink big

2019 got off to a bright start for former Brunel lecturer Bob Chappell, who was named in the Queen's New Year's Honours list.

Bob’s champion career in basketball netted him a British Empire Medal, awarded for outstanding hands-on service to the community.

Together with Professor Valsa Koshy, Emerita Professor of Education, Bob is one of two Brunel champions mentioned in this year’s Queen’s list.

“I’m absolutely on cloud nine,” said Bob, 71, from Ewell in Surrey.

Bob taught Brunel students for 30 years, starting in 1976 at Borough Road College, which later formed Brunel. His initial temporary job was to teach sociology of sports, help with teacher training and organise the rising athletics team. He later managed the Borough Road/West London Institute basketball team before a string of national roles. 

“It all came about, purely by accident,” he said. “I was there to help with teaching, then Mr Biddle, the Head of Department, realised I played and coached basketball, so asked me to supervise the basketball team. Had he not asked me, none of this would have happened.”

Beyond Brunel, Bob was England senior men’s basketball team manager. He also managed the Great Britain basketball team at six World University Games and the England U18 team at four European Championships and spent 25 years training UK coaches and basketball officials.

In 2004, Bob became Honorary Life President of the British Universities Sports Association and in 2008, an Honorary Fellow at Brunel.


“Bob’s hard work on and off the court was instrumental to the success of many international basketball programmes,” said Professor Costas Karageorghis, who heads Sport, Health & Exercise Sciences.

“His enthusiasm for the sport had a positive effect on players, coaches and team officials, so it’s wonderful that he has received this national recognition.”

Today Bob’s passion for basketball still rubs off on young players and families across Surrey, where he now runs Surrey Schools Basketball Association.

He officially picks up his award at a ceremony in a stately home in Surrey, but is expecting an invite to the Queen’s Garden Party this summer. 

Find out more about Brunel’s sport, health and exercise sciences

Reported by:

Hayley Jarvis, Media Relations
+44 (0)1895 268176