State Colleges

Washburn’s Bob Chipman leaves on top after 38 seasons

Bob Chipman begins his 38th and final season at Washburn. He’s already the MIAA’s winningest basketball coach.
Bob Chipman begins his 38th and final season at Washburn. He’s already the MIAA’s winningest basketball coach. Topeka Capital-Journal

Bob Chipman says he’s always dreamed about leaving coaching when he and his team were on top of their games. The winningest coach in MIAA basketball history is doing that this season.

Chipman begins his 38th season at Washburn with a record of 788-343.

“This year I’m so energized and I feel so good about this group,” Chipman said. “I think they’re a group that is capable of winning a championship.”

Chipman took the Washburn job in 1979 after three years as an assistant coach for coach Glenn Cafer. He went to Topeka after playing at Kansas State under Jack Hartman.

“Coach Cafer gave me a chance at age 26,” Chipman said. “I never would have guessed I’d have that opportunity at such a young age. He was a legend in the state of Kansas, and I was just a kid that moved to Kansas to play basketball and then I was fortunate enough to get a head-coaching job at a great university.”

The future is bright for Ichabod basketball, according to Chipman. The team returns all five starters and will add even more depth to the bench. The Ichabods are predicted to finish second in the MIAA preseason coaches poll, behind Northwest Missouri.

“I think that we have a lot of talent on this year’s team,” Chipman said. “It always helps to have any starters back, and we have all five back, so this will be a special team. We also added some new guys that will give us a boost this year and in the long run.”

Chipman’s legacy goes far beyond the MIAA’s borders. In the 1980s and 1990s, he was a regular on Pan American and World University games coaching staffs for the United States. He worked under K-State connections Hartman and Gene Keady.

“Coach Hartman originally got me involved with the Pan Am job,” Chipman said. “A lot of people wouldn’t know this now, but Michael Jordan was on that 1983 team that won the gold medal in Venezuela. I was able to be involved with a team that had probably arguably one of the greatest basketball players of all time.”

Chipman, 65, has made a mark as one of the most successful coaches in the state’s history. Chipman has coached 23 Division II All-Americans, seven MIAA most valuable players, 17 MIAA first-team selections and won the 1986-87 NAIA national championship.

“I’ve just been so lucky to be around so many great coaches,” Chipman said. “Coach Hartman at K-State, Coach Cafer here before me at Washburn, Coach Keady and the list just goes on and on.”

Chipman may be more well-known to younger Kansas basketball players as the host for summer camps around the state that employ players from the Kansas and K-State teams.

“It just started with Danny Manning and I,” Chipman said. “I started to bring a couple KU guys and a couple K-State guys and now it just keeps growing every year. It’s a lot of fun, we teach the kids a lot about the fundamentals of basketball and the college guys do great with the kids, it’s a fun time.”

Chipman has used his Kansas ties in his recruiting process. The Ichabods will have 11 Kansans on the roster to begin this season. Sophomore Javion Blake, from Olathe East, led the Ichabods in scoring last year as a freshman (13.4 points) and started all 28 games.

“Javion is a guy that has a lot of different weapons for us,” Chipman said. “He’s a tough guy to guard. We also have some freshmen that will push for some minutes this year, guys like Drew Pyle, a two-time state champ at McPherson and Cooper Holmes, a guy that ranks in the top 10 in scoring all-time in the state of Kansas from Concordia.”