Chipman in his 30th season of coaching Ichabods

corey garriott

In his 30th year of coaching at Washburn, Bob Chipman’s name is as synonymous with Ichabod sports as our beloved mascot.

The men’s basketball coach is once again at the helm of the program as the 2008-2009 season begins. The thing that makes this season most special for coach is the fact that this season marks his 30th as head coach for the Bods, a milestone achieved by few elite coaches in the NCAA.

Robert Chipman hails from Flint, Mich., and as a youngster playing at Northwest High school, found what he thought to be his calling. Bob, as he is affectionately called, moved on from Northwestern High school to Flint Community College where he had a great two-year stint.

The real story behind Chipman’s rise within the realm of basketball would not, however, begin to take shape until 1971 when he transferred to Kansas State University, home of the Wildcats. Under the tutelage of legendary coach Jack Hartman, Chipman averaged 5.3 points and 2.2 rebounds as a guard, and earned two letters over the two years that he spent there as a player.

Chipman graduated form KSU in 1973 and under another legendary Washburn coach, Glenn Cafer, he got his first taste of coaching.

“I always wanted to be in athletics, I just didn’t think it would be coaching” said Chipman.

But what he didn’t know at the time was that being Cafer’s assistant was only the beginning of an illustrious coaching career.

After three short years of being Cafer’s assistant, Chipman was promoted to head coach when Cafer accepted a new position as Washburn’s athletic director. But it wasn’t until Chipman saw the impact he could have on the lives of young men, and the love and appreciation for basketball that the Washburn faithful possessed, he knew that coaching was his calling.

“Early in my career I was blessed with some success that has carried throughout my career,” said Chipman about his beginning years as head coach.

Since taking over as head coach, Chipman won a NAIA national championship in 1986 and was runner-up in the NCAA Division II Tournament in 2001.

He has coached seven all-Americans, five MIAA MVP’s and 12 all-MIAA selections. Currently, Chipman holds an impressive .720 win percentage among coaches with at least 30 seasons, an accomplishment that places him third all time in NCAA Division II.

Besides his collegiate accolades, Chipman has also had the esteemed privilege of coaching at the international level. As a member of the USA basketball coaching staff, Chipman won gold medals in the 1983 Pan American Games and the 1989 University Games, along with a bronze medal in the 1991 Pan Am Games, and over his international career has had the opportunity to coach hall of fame players Michael Jordan, Chris Mullin and Grant Hill.

Despite Chipman’s seemingly spotless 30 years at Washburn he has seen his fair share of disappointments.

“I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I still make mistakes today,” said Chipman. “But I’d have to say my biggest disappointment is when guys don’t make it, whether for academic reasons or they athletically could not maximize their ability. I take it personally and I feel as though I have let those players down.”

This is a true testament to the level of personal responsibility Chipman has in relation to the individual well-being of his players.

30 years and a .72o win percentage is something that a typical coach would feel satisfied with, but Chipman is anything but a typical coach.

As he enters this new season, Chipman seems to be as excited and enthusiastic as the first day that he took the reins of the men’s basketball program.

“Physically, I feel better than I have in a long time, and I find myself being more excited with each passing year, which might be a sign that I’m getting senile after all,” Chipman said. “But with the level of talent that we have this year, I’m really excited about year 30.”