TCU

After 2,000 miles traveling for dad, the Luper family finds their home in Fort Worth

When it comes to their respected sports — football and volleyball — Chance and Charitie Luper are among the elite players in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Chance is a 3-star senior wide receiver at Fort Worth Christian while Charitie is a junior outside hitter at Byron Nelson committed to UCLA.

The $1 million question: Did they get this athletic ability more from mom or dad?

Nikki Echols-Luper was a standout volleyball player at Ennis and Henderson State, where she was a 1997 letterwinner and recorded the 10th most total blocks in a single season in program history.

“My dad may know a little bit of volleyball, but my mom was my coach when I was younger,” Charitie said. “I started to play volleyball and I know so much more about the game because of her.”

Curtis Luper was an all-state running back and ranked as the No. 2 player in Texas during the 1984 season at Sherman. He went on to play at Oklahoma State and Stephen F. Austin.

He’s the co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach at TCU.

“I look up to my dad. He’s my idol,” said Chance, who posted over 800 yards receiving last season. “He always gives me advice and helps me out anytime I have a question.”

We’ll call it a tie, with a slight edge to mom.

Moving Around

The Lupers grew up in four different states: New Mexico, Oklahoma, Alabama and Texas.

Curtis was an assistant coach at New Mexico (2002-04) and running backs coach at Oklahoma State (2005-08) before spending four years as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at Auburn, where he won a national championship in 2010.

“I was used to every move,” Chance said. “It was kind of easy to make friends and to adapt to different environments. I think every move made me stronger.”

“The children were always close so there was some pressure moving and building new friendships, but it all worked out,” Curtis added.

The Lupers have been in Texas for six years. They spent five years in Alabama.

“Auburn is home to me. I miss it everyday,” Charitie added. “That’s where everything was for us.”

“That’s home to me,” Chance added. “I grew up there and really found myself. I still talk to my friends everyday.”

During dad’s time at Auburn, the Lupers went to as many home games as possible. They even went to Phoenix to watch NFL MVP Cam Newton and the top-ranked Tigers beat the Oregon Ducks, 22-19, for the title.

They would spend time on the field before the game and interact with the players.

“I still remember coming on the field after the game and hugging my dad. He was crying,” Chance said.

Competitive Siblings

As is the case with most families, Chance and Charitie were always competitive growing up. They still are.

They would make up their own games and see who was smartest, fastest and strongest.

“We’re 14 months apart so we were always competing,” Chance said. “See who could do the most sit-ups or push-ups. She was faster than me for a long time, but not anymore.”

Suuuure, Chance.

“Very competitive especially when we were younger,” Charitie added. “We never wanted to lose because there was always a consequence.”

Since they attend two different schools, one sibling has a hard time watching the other perform, but they try to get to as many games as possible.

“I try to make it on my off days, but I did watch Chance in every playoff game last year,” Charitie said.

Coming to Fort Worth

The family, which consists of five children, made the move to Texas when Curtis accepted his role at TCU. He joined the staff in January 2013 and was promoted to co-offensive coordinator in February 2017.

“I’m still amazed when I think about him at TCU or at Auburn like my dad is really a college coach. I’m so proud of him,” Charitie said. “I was really young when we moved to Texas. They said, ‘We’re going to Fort Worth,’ and I had never heard of it before, but it’s been a blessing.”

In 2016, Chance enrolled into Fort Worth Christian while Charitie just started to play volleyball.

Charitie knew football growing up and played softball. The two also played soccer and basketball as youngsters.

“I knew it was important to get them active at an early age,” Curtis said. “They started in soccer, which was great. I wanted to expose them as much as possible in athletics so they’ve done a lot of stuff.”

Now Charitie is one of the top volleyball players in the state.

Last year she received district offensive MVP and Star-Telegram all-area honors after recording 464 kills and 456 digs. The Bobcats went to the regional quarterfinals and went 42-2.

She had over 365 kills and 329 digs as a freshman in 2017.

“I started volleyball like three years ago,” Charitie said. “I started to play rec league and then club, and it’s been a great choice.

“When I got the offer from UCLA, I didn’t know what to say. I went to the campus and it was beautiful. I got a vibe there. My goal is to help change the program. I want to make a name for myself.”

Friday Night Lights

Chance holds 15 offers, which includes Kansas, Indiana, Cal, Boise State, Boston College, SMU and Louisville.

He caught nine touchdowns last season. His goal this year is 1,200 yards and 15 TDs.

“I’m confident I can reach that. I think I’m a play-maker. Just give me the ball and I can do it,” Chance said.

He said his future plans are a visit to Boise State in September and a possible visit to Wake Forest in December, the same month he plans on announcing his commitment.

“I’m not into the rankings, but if I see players ahead of me with five stars, I’m going to try to catch them and get better,” he said. “I don’t really care, all I care about is Friday nights.”

Fort Worth Christian will travel to Country Day for the season opener on Aug. 30.

Meanwhile, Byron Nelson will play every Tuesday and Friday nights. The Bobcats are coming off a tournament title in back-to-back weeks. Charitie was named to the all-tournament team both times, including MVP at the Northwest ISD Classic.

TCU will play on Saturdays, except the season finale on Nov. 29 against West Virginia. The Horned Frogs will begin the season on Aug. 31 at home vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

“I think they get the best of both qualities in us. I was big and strong and mom was explosive,” Curtis said. “It’s hard to put into words the pride you have for your children. To see them do what they love at a very high level, it’s a blessing.”

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Born and raised in Hawaii, Brian Gosset graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in journalism before coming to Texas in 2014. He’s covered high school sports — yes, pretty much every high school sport — for the Star-Telegram ever since.
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