Advertisement

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Tuesday’s KU basketball exhibition opener holds special significance for visiting coach

Washburn coach Bob Chipman surveys the action on the floor during one of Washburn's recent trips to Allen Fieldhouse to take on the Jayhawks in exhibition play.

Washburn coach Bob Chipman surveys the action on the floor during one of Washburn's recent trips to Allen Fieldhouse to take on the Jayhawks in exhibition play.

Advertisement

Ten times during his 41-year Washburn University coaching career, Ichabods basketball coach Bob Chipman has stepped onto the Allen Fieldhouse floor as the leader of KU’s opponent.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, during the 2016-17 exhibition opener for No. 2 Kansas, Chipman's 11th trip will mark his last.

This summer, Chipman announced that the 2016-17 season would be his final go around as the head coach at Washburn. And the veteran coach who has racked up 788 career victories and considers himself as big a KU fan as anybody said he could not think of a better way to tip off his farewell season.

“To start it with KU, in that venue, I mean, Coach (Bill) Self has just been unbelievable to us throughout the years and it’s great to have this experience in my last year,” Chipman told the Journal-World. “It’s something I’m always gonna remember.”

Asked for the memories that pop up most from his days coaching in a place known across college basketball as one of the greatest venues in the game, Chipman said two came to mind.

The best came in 2012, when the Ichabods lost by just 12, 62-50, in a game that was a grind from the start and featured Chipman coaching his son, Bobby.

“Bobby had 7 points, 13 boards and we gave ‘em a pretty good run against (Jeff) Withey and (Ben) McLemore,” Chipman recalled. “I think we turned ’em over 24 times and we were right there in the game most of the way. My kid fought ’em pretty hard inside. It was a great team effort and that was the game, maybe because of my son, that I won’t ever forget.”

And the worst? That might have been even easier for Chipman to recall.

“For some reason, we were playing the game in December and it was Jacque Vaughn’s coming-back party,” Chipman began. “He had broken his wrist and it was Jacque, it was (Paul) Pierce, it was (Raef) LaFrentz, it was (Scot) Pollard, Jerod Haase diving all over the floor, Ryan Robertson. I mean, an incredible group. I know it’s always unbelievably loud, but with Jacque coming back it was crazy.”

The Jayhawks won that game 90-65 on Dec. 30, 1996, but it was not the final score that Chipman remembered best. In fact, he may not ever have known the final margin at all.

“I think the score out of the gate was 16-0,” he said. “I mean, we couldn’t even make a pass. So, at the first TV timeout, I turned and was going to the locker room and my assistant grabbed me and said, ‘Coach, where ya going?’ And I said, ‘That was halftime wasn’t it?’ And he goes, ‘Coach, that was the first TV timeout.’ And I just went, ‘Oh my God.’ It had to be the longest game in the history of basketball for me. They were just incredible that night. Oh wow.”

With a veteran group of gritty players — mostly Kansans — on this year’s team, Chipman is hopeful that his final Washburn team will look more like the 2012 team and less like that 1996 squad. But he isn’t holding his breath either way. Instead, he’s hoping that his group is able to learn a little and compete a lot during Tuesday’s clash.

“We’re very realistic about the experience,” Chipman said. “It’s a fabulous opportunity, playing in that venue against who I think is the best coach in college basketball. Having said that, we’re gonna try and play ’em. I don’t know if they’ll even notice, but we’re gonna try and guard ’em, extend the defense some, really go man-to-man and try and attack.”

Regardless of what happens on the scoreboard, Chipman said he’d walk away with two things unchanged in his mind. First, his admiration for Self is off the charts.

“He’s the whole package,” Chipman said. “And I hope the KU fans just enjoy every second. It seems like he’ll be there forever, but it’s still probably gonna go by too quick. Enjoy him. That would be my message. Enjoy him. He’s about as good as it gets in college basketball in every facet.”

Second, even though he believes it’s the right time to leave Washburn, he already knows he does not want his coaching career to end after this season.

“I’m loving it so much and I feel so good that I must admit that I’m thinking about going on and coaching somewhere because this is still who I am,” he said. “I think it is time (to leave Washburn) after 41 years and to give someone else a chance, but as far as being done with basketball, I’m not ready. I can tell now after I’ve started this season.”

Comments

Jay Scott 5 years, 8 months ago

Very kind words from a true gentleman.

Jim Woodward 5 years, 8 months ago

Bob, You articulately expressed how I feel about our time with Bill Self at KU “And I hope the KU fans just enjoy every second." I hope you have a great time and a great year.

Brett Glover 5 years, 8 months ago

Can he please be an assistant coach? Please?

Joshua Hann 5 years, 8 months ago

"I’m loving it so much and I feel so good that I must admit that I’m thinking about going on and coaching somewhere because this is still who I am,” he said. “I think it is time (to leave Washburn) after 41 years and to give someone else a chance, but as far as being done with basketball, I’m not ready. I can tell now after I’ve started this season.”

Jay Scott 5 years, 8 months ago

He's 65. What team wants an assistant that has only a few years left? The implication is that KU should hire him. For what? Who would he replace?

He's a gem but he isn't going to recruit at a national contender level and doesn't have vast position specific knowledge to impart. Maybe as a student development / operations thing if Quartlebaum or Bechard left?

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 8 months ago

If he's got something of value to offer the team, age should not be a problem. It would be really cool to bring him onto the program for a couple of years. It won't do much for Self's coaching tree but would win him tons of respect, as if he needs more, amongst the Kansas faithful.

Jeff Coffman 5 years, 8 months ago

It's almost like you wish KU would do a video mock-up for him, someone that was 41 years in the Ichabods, just down the road from Lawrence. So respectful of KU and the coaches, it'd be awesome if they did something classy for him.

Mick Allen 5 years, 8 months ago

Chipman's loyalty to Washburn is impressive as he has had numerous opportunities to coach at a higher level for more money and fame.

Bryce Landon 5 years, 8 months ago

Can't wait for tomorrow. Even though the game doesn't count in the standings, it'll be nice to put the misery of football season aside for a couple hours.

Jay Scott 5 years, 8 months ago

What margin of victory is required for Coach Self to keep his job?

Bryce Landon 5 years, 8 months ago

The game should air in the Topeka area on Cox 22.

Ken Kelso 5 years, 8 months ago

Pretty bad when you can watch K State exhibition on TV in the Emporia area but can't watch KU. Be nice to see Washburn and ESU.

Harlan Hobbs 5 years, 8 months ago

Very true, Mick. I think that the only job Coach Chipman would have considered would have been the K-State job. I am told that Jack Hartman lobbied for that before he passed away, but perhaps it was a case of never being in the right place at the right time.

Certainly, when KSU hired Lon Kruger, they felt very secure, and he did lead them to many successes. However, after he left and they became disenchanted with Dana Altman (who now has developed a powerhouse at Oregon), it was downhill until Huggins and Martin came along.

Although I do not know Coach Chipman well, we were members of the same church in Topeka before we retired to Arizona. I have the deepest respect for him and his marvelous family. They will always be stalwarts in the community.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.