Born: May 18, 1951 (Flint, MI)
Graduated: Flint (MI) Northwestern H.S., 1969 / Kansas State University, 1973
Growing up in Michigan, Bob Chipman’s love for basketball started at an early age in his life. He would play before school, after school, and even after it got dark. When it snowed, he would shovel out the driveway just so he could get some shots up before he had to leave for school.
Basketball was a big deal around Chipman’s hometown of Flint. Right after graduating high school, Chipman decided to go to Mott Community College in Flint so he would be able to get more playing time.
After playing two years of basketball at Mott, Chipman was heavily recruited by multiple schools throughout the country. He chose to play for fellow KSHOF inductee Jack Hartman at Kansas State University for a few reasons, including his visit to the school. “I really liked the way the players interacted with one another,” said Chipman. Before Chipman came to K-State, Hartman had also coached several players that had turned pro, which was Chipman’s ultimate goal as well.
During his two years at K-State, Chipman and his teammates won two Big Eight championships and advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament twice during the 1972 and 1973 seasons.
The bonds those teams had at K-State are still strong today. After over 45 years, they still get together and keep up with one another. Chipman said, “it was a great experience,” playing at K-State. When looking back at his college career, he thinks about “how blessed,” he was to learn from Hartman.
Right after graduating, Chipman got a job as an assistant coach at Washburn University and was in that role for three years. In 1979, Chipman became the head coach of the Ichabods at the age of only twenty-six. What Chipman was able to build and sustain at Washburn over the next thirty-eight seasons as head coach of the Ichabods is nothing short of extraordinary and is what lands him in the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame today.
He won his first conference championship in during the 1986-1987 season, leading the Ichabods to a record of 35-4. That year also saw the Ichabods claim the NAIA National Championship, led by senior and fellow 2019 KSHOF inductee, Tom Meier. Chipman added another eleven conference titles in the years to come, including four straight from 1992 to 1995 and three straight from 2003 to 2005.
Chipman coached the Ichabods to twenty wins in an astounding twenty-four of his thirty-eight seasons at the helm, including ten seasons where they won over twenty-five games. In a mark of consistency, Chipman’s squads finished sixth or lower in the conference only seven times throughout his career.
When Chipman retired from the sidelines following the 2017 season, he was one of just twenty-five coaches in the history of college basketball to amass over 800 career wins. His career record of 808-353 ranks him among the all-time great coaches at any level of college baskeball, including fellow KSHOF inductees and 800 game winning coaches Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, and Eddie Sutton.
Chipman also coached Washburn to twelve NCAA Tournament appearances after the school’s move to Division II, including a runner-up finish in the tournament in 2001. Add in the four NAIA tournament appearances before the school’s move and nearly half of Chipman’s seasons resulted in post-season play.
During his tenure, Chipman coached twenty-three All-American selections, eight league most valuable players, and 61 all-conference selections.
He’s came a long way from the boy who shoveled the drive just to shoot some hoops back in Flint. And today, the journey ends with his plaque at the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
By: Julia Jorns