In the late 1960s, Emmanuel Head Basketball Coach, Lloyd Turlington sought to bring change to the program through offering athletic scholarships. One athlete he recruited along with the help of Stan Oliver, was Michael Stapp out of Memphis, Tennessee who signed with the Lions in 1970. He later became the first athlete to sign a full athletic scholarship to attend Emmanuel.
While at Emmanuel, Michael was the team’s MVP and leading scorer with a 23.8 ppg average. This not only led the team, but the SCAC Conference in scoring for the 1970-71 season. His season high came against Piedmont College on February 10, 1971, where he scored 39 points. This would tie the current listed record on the Emmanuel Athletics website for points scored in a single game. Until 1994 when Emmanuel became a senior college, Michael was among the all-time leading scorers.
“To me, Emmanuel became my home,” Michael said. “It was where I wanted to play basketball and go to college and that’s one of the reasons why I was as successful as I was. I didn’t want to go anywhere else.”
Off the court, Michael was the first student to serve as the Intramural Director of student athletics. It was a paid work-study position that he served in for two years. He was active in other campus activities including the college production of Antigone, playing Haemon.
Graduating from Emmanuel in 1972, Michael went onto pursue a career in finance and banking. In 1978, he accepted a position as a manager trainee for a national corporation and was offered a position in Corpus Christi, TX. Michael received several accolades including “National Manager of the Year,” and “National Top Achiever,” among others. On one incentive deep sea fishing trip, Michael caught a blue marlin.
In 1981, after a spiritual awakening, Michael took a leap of faith and opened his own business. By the end of April 1984, the corporation had grossed over a million dollars. After 15 successful years, he sold his namesake corporation, Michael Enterprises, INC., to a competitor. Later, he accepted an offer to become the National Corporate Sales Manager and National Sports Sales Manager for Omni Hotel and Resorts in Corpus Christi.
While with Omni, Michael received 17 monthly top sales manager awards and was involved in many negotiations to bring business to both the Omni and the Corpus Christi area. One fond moment was a recognition plaque he received from the Veterans of Foreign Wars of Texas for signing the VFW for the entire state of Texas to a multi-year contract with the Omni Corpus Christi.
In 2005, Michael published his first book entitled, Force Within: The Book of Life. In it, Michael shares his experiences and life lessons that have made all the difference in his life. In an excerpt, Michael states, “I am glad to be a graduate of Emmanuel College. Many people were praying for me a lot there and quite often, I’m sure. I was just a fun-loving, free-spirited guy. A wild colt, if you will. Many people at college in all the various capacities would be flabbergasted to know what has truly happened to me and that I have been inspired to write a book about the experience.”
One publisher wrote, “Once one discovers the spirit within themselves, separate from his or her physical body, he or she will be well on their way to a better quality of life. It was written by the author with hopes to help the ever-present struggle waged between good and evil, which every person must overcome in their quest to find their inner soul.” Recently, Michael’s book was added to the collection at the Emmanuel College library.
Now retired, Michael and his wife, Ana enjoy giving back to the less fortunate by providing Christmas gifts to children in need each year and donating to the Corpus Christi Food Bank, Corpus Christi Humane Society, St. Jude, and others. They have two successful children, Cassie and Josh. Cassie earned a master’s degree in business and is married to Cody, a Captain with the Corpus Christi Fire Department. Josh is a practicing attorney in Michigan and is married to Mariam, successful in her sales career. Michael and Ana have four delightful grandchildren. Hunter, showing promise of being an elite athlete having played on the Texas state championship football team; Hudson, an academic achiever; Hailey, the outgoing cheerleader, and Savannah, art lover and artist.
What advice would he give to others looking to be successful in business, and more importantly, to have a quality, fulfilled, meaningful life?
“Above all else, give God, the Creator the praise, honor, thanks and credit for all of your blessings in life and follow the teachings of God’s only begotten son, Jesus.”