Chris Willis: Inspired by Schwarzenegger and Appreciative of Ankles

You may see our athletic trainer, Chris Willis, walking around the hallways, gym, or fitness center. Maybe he even helps you tape an ankle or ice a knee. You’ve probably heard him use his signature catchphrase: “very good.” But have you ever stopped to get to know him? After spending time with Chris during several sports seasons, two Friends Select athletes took 25 minutes to understand his past, his story, and his journey to Friends Select.

Chris is the eldest of three children. He has a younger brother, who he considers his best friend, and a younger sister, who is currently a social worker in Florida. Chris has two prominent role models in his life: his father and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He says he is inspired by Schwarzenegger’s accomplishments in acting and athletics. Chris’s father played college basketball with some of the Harlem Globetrotters, and, like his father, Chris was a star athlete. He had a short-lived but very successful football career during his middle school years, claiming that he scored “a million touchdowns” and had a “million interceptions.” 

Chris attended W.B Saul High School, but since W.B. Saul did not have sports, he was forced to put his football career on pause. He recently began playing again, joining a PSL flag football league. His team was undefeated in the regular season, but they lost their championship game on the FSS roof this fall. He says he played a great final game. 

Chris has had a long journey to get to his current position at Friends Select. When it was time for Chris to graduate from Community College of Philadelphia, he enrolled at Temple and pursued a career as an athletic trainer. After college, Chris worked for Novacare at Newman University. He recently returned to CCP; while he was there, he came across an advertisement to coach basketball at Friends Select and filled out an application. After being contacted by Athletic Director Bill Klose, he was offered the position of athletic trainer (thanks Bill!). Chris is on the verge of his “very good greatest accomplishment,” he says.

In addition to his football career and his love of basketball, Chris is an avid comics enthusiast. Chris loves attending the annual comic convention in Schwenksville, PA with his brother. He says this comic convention is very relaxed and is strictly about people’s love of comic books. 

Chris is also interested in ankles! Chris says ankles are tedious to treat, but are his favorite body part to work with because he feels “in tune” with them.

Chris loves his job at Friends Select. He said, without hesitation, that his favorite part of working at Friends Select is the students. Chris enjoys working with all FSS athletes, particularly the varsity basketball teams. This is Chris’ first time working in a Quaker environment. He thinks that Quaker values might sometimes need to be adjusted a little bit for “practical reasons,” but he appreciates all the great things people who have graduated from Quaker schools have done. While Chris loves working at Friends Select, his dream job is to work for the Sixers. However, Chris says he would not enjoy the frequent travel needed for the job and ideally would like to work at a hospital where he could still treat the players. 

Chris’s advice for the FSS student-athletes is to “stay focused, stay positive, don’t get distracted, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.”