Niles native new WMU women’s coachPublished 4:00pm Friday, April 13, 2012
KALAMAZOO – Western Michigan Division of Intercollegiate Athletics officially announced the hiring of Niles native Shane Clipfell as the sixth women’s basketball coach in program history Friday.
“We are honored to formally announce Shane Clipfell as our new head coach for our women’s basketball program. Shane embodies the vision and passion, and has the championship experience as a head and assistant coach, to lead the Broncos to Mid-American Conference championships,” commented WMU Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard.
Clipfell has strong ties in the state of Michigan, the Mid-American Conference and the midwest and has worked at every level of women’s basketball.
“I am humbled, excited and very proud to be the newest addition to the Western Michigan University athletic department and the campus community,” commented Coach Clipfell. “I would like to thank President Dunn, Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard and Sr. Associate Athletic Director Dave Corstange as well as the entire search committee for putting their trust in me as the next women’s basketball head coach.”
“This is a day we have patiently waited for, my wife (Connie) and I are thrilled to come back to the Kalamazoo area. I loved competing in the MAC and I am very happy to have the chance to return to the conference. I have always thought that Western Michigan University was a special place and after spending time here last week and meeting many of the fine people here, I am now assured of that. I look forward to leading this program.”
For the last 14 years, Clipfell has worked in different capacities on a Suzy Merchant staff. He began with Merchant as an assistant at Eastern Michigan during the 1998-99 season and has been at Michigan State the last five years after Merchant took the Spartan helm in 2007-08. For the past three years, Clipfell has served as the associate head coach at Michigan State, coordinating the program’s recruiting efforts, including organizing official, unofficial, off-campus and home visits.
“I am thrilled for Shane’s opportunity at Western Michigan,” Merchant stated. “It has always been his dream job and he is a perfect fit as a Bronco. I have enjoyed 14 tremendous years with Shane. He’s dedicated, hardworking, competent, passionate and extremely loyal, and he has taught me so much about the game of basketball and life.
“There isn’t a higher character person or better basketball coach that Western Michigan could have hired. He will instantly create a culture of a winning mentality, while at the same time, every student-athlete will enjoy their experience playing the game they love.”
In addition to recruiting, Clipfell focused on Michigan State’s offensive game preparation, in-game adjustments and skill development of perimeter players. The Spartans captured their first outright Big Ten title in school history in 2010-11 and have advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last four seasons.
While Clipfell was at Michigan State, the Spartans produced 17 All-Big Ten recognitions, 20 Academic All-Big Ten selections, and several players collected major Big Ten awards. Kalisha Keane was named Player of the Year in 2010-11, after earning Sixth Player of the Year the season prior. The Spartans had back-to-back Defensive Players of the Year in Alyssa DeHaan (2009-10) and Lykendra Johnson (2010-11). Both Keane and DeHaan were named All-Americans following their senior seasons and DeHaan finished her career second all-time in NCAA history in blocked shots.
In the nine seasons prior to Michigan State at Eastern Michigan, Clipfell helped build the Eagles into one of the top programs in the MAC. Eastern Michigan compiled a record of 160-103 (.608), including three 20-win seasons, three postseason appearances and two MAC West Division titles. The 2003-04 team claimed the MAC West Division and MAC Tournament championship for the first time in school history, earning the program’s first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament en route to a 22-8 record.
Clipfell was the acting head coach at EMU for all but four games of the 2006-07 season, while Merchant was on maternity leave. He guided the Eagles to a 16-13 overall record and a second place finish in the MAC West with a 10-6 record. For his efforts, Clipfell received votes for MAC Coach of the Year honors. Individually, senior Sarah VanMetre became EMU’s first women’s basketball player to be named an Academic All-American, senior Patrice McKinney was named MAC Defensive Player of the Year and freshman Alyssa Pittman was named MAC Freshman of the Year.
Prior to joining Merchant’s staff at Eastern Michigan, Clipfell spent five seasons at Glen Oaks Community College, including three as head coach, and 11 years as the varsity head coach at Colon High School.
After spending two seasons as an assistant at Glen Oaks Community College (1994-95), Clipfell took over the program in 1996 and tallied a 58-35 overall record. His 1997 team finished with a No. 3 final ranking in the NJCAA after a 28-8 record and a fifth-place finish in the NJCAA Tournament. For his efforts, he landed numerous coaching awards, being named Coach of the Year for the Michigan Community College Athletic Association, the Western Conference, and the National District. In addition, he also earned the NJCAA Tournament Sportsmanship Award. Clipfell coached a NJCAA second-team All-America player in 1997, and a third-team All-America honoree in 1998.
While at Colon High School (1982-1998), Clipfell tallied a 185-65 career varsity head coaching record. His teams captured seven conference championships, three district championships, two regional championships and one Final Four appearance. He assisted in seven of his players receiving collegiate scholarships. He was named the area Coach of the Year by the Sturgis Journal in 1990 and 1992. He was also named the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan Regional Coach of the Year in 1992, 1994 and 1995. In 2005, Clipfell was inducted into the Colon High School Athletic Hall of Fame for his achievements.
In 1996, Clipfell coached an all-star team for 10 days in Austria and then was selected to coach Athletes In Action for a summer tour in Bolivia in 1997. He also served as the co-director of Glen Oaks Community College summer basketball camps for three years.
Clipfell graduated from EMU in 2006 with a bachelor of science degree in communications. Clipfell and his wife, Connie, have two adult children, John and Lauren.