Dr. Raymond “Chip” Stone is something like a legend in the halls of Leesville. Ask any student about Stone, and you will hear things that could not possibly be true– or are they? I sat down with the legend himself to get the inside scoop on the life of Stone.
A well known tale about Stone is that he played two professional sports. This is true; Stone played in the major leagues for both baseball and football. He was drafted twice out of high school into the MLB by the Chicago Cubs. He wasn’t drafted after college, but he signed with the Yankees.
“I played for parts of three years in the minor leagues but never in the major leagues,” said Stone.
Stone also got the opportunity to play for the Falcons in the NFL on their practice squad. He appeared in several exhibition games but did not play in a league game. Stone played as a punter and a defensive back.
Another big story that comes up when people talk about Stone is that he has been to the moon. Unfortunately he has not been to outer space, but he does have many ties to NASA.
“Probably where that came from was when I worked with the Apollo astronauts at Chapel Hill. In my research, we were testing their fitness levels when they were studying at the planetarium. They came up for several months during the late 60’s and the early 70’s. I was working at the laboratory of applied physiology when I was in graduate school and so I had a NASA shirt I wore and when people asked me if I went to the moon, I said of course! I also have a cousin who is an astronaut.”
There are also stories of how Stone became a millionaire just off of stocks. “Hopefully everyone becomes a millionaire if they work long enough, but yes that’s part of it. Now mainly I have funds. I only have five individual stocks left. I have lots of funds, mainly mutual funds and ETFs,” said Stone. In fact, Stone invested in Netflix before it got popular. He holds $70/share in the company; it is now $560/share.
Another big tale that has proven to be true is that Stone helped invent and patent a version of the waffle sole. The waffle sole is a rubber outsole that was much lighter and provided better traction than other track outsoles in the market. It is mainly known as the sole created by Nike.
“In this applied physiology lab, we had a grant to study all kinds of sport and recreation injuries, and so we actually came up with a lot of ideas and had some engineers at NC State build stuff for us. One of the ideas we had was for what was similar to the waffle sole. We were trying to prevent injuries in soccer and football with this waffle sole. And so when Bill Bowerman, the guy from Nike, tried to create his patent for his waffle sole which he truly invented, we already had the patent, so he had to buy it from us. It was nothing like his, but we beat him to the punch,” said Stone.
Another big story about Stone is that he was a three sport athlete at UNC Chapel Hill. This is also very true. Stone played football, soccer and baseball all at the University of North Carolina. He actually received a basketball scholarship from Dean Smith but dropped the sport and picked up a football scholarship instead after Smith signed other key players in Stone’s same position. “He knew that I could help out other teams. I was starting on the soccer team and football team as a freshman, so Smith told me to keep my scholarship until another sport picked it up and so senior year football did,” said Stone.
Other impressive feats about Stone is that he survived cancer, he was a professor at Davidson, he has opened several businesses and has been a high school teacher for 16 years.
After asking Stone if there was anything else remarkably unique he wanted to add, he gave a modest response. “There’s nothing unique about it besides I’ve just done a bunch of stuff,” Stone said. We will let you be the judge on that.