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Men's Basketball: Basketball’s Shipley recalls historical career

Men's Basketball: Basketball’s Shipley recalls historical career

Alison Moon, Vermilion Editor, February 9, 2011 Vermilion
alisonemoon@gmail.com

“I learned a lot. I didn't know that much when I came here and I knew that,” said former University of Louisiana at Lafayette men’s basketball head coach Beryl Shipley.

”A lot of coaches today feel like if they get a head coaching job somewhere that ‘Hey, I know all there is to know.’ I’ve seen several of them go through here the same way.”

Shipley, who was diagnosed with lung cancer two months ago, had a lot of experiences to look back on when analyzing the achievements of his 16-year career (1957-73). He said he believes the most important quality to being a good and effective basketball coach is “to learn everything you can learn because you know you don’t know it all.

“I loved the game and I think to do well in anything you have to love it,” he said. “You better really look at it, like it and learn everything you can know about it.”

Shipley remains the winningest basketball coach in UL Lafayette’s history with a 296-129 record, a .696 win percentage.

“I was an X and O person. I love to X and O, which is sitting there and talking about the game,” he explained. “I’ve done it many a times here with coaches that come through town, and we sit in there for hours discussing basketball. A lot of people think they know it all and normally those people drop by the way-side.”

Shipley’s confidence in learning from experience extends to the success he predicts for current head coach Bob Marlin, who Shipley said “knows what he’s got to do and he’ll do it.

“He’s going to do a good job,” Shipley added. “He’s going to study the game; he’s going to work at it; he’s not going to be satisfied with what he knows today. He knows there is a lot out there that can help him.”

Shipley’s success and achievements have caught the eye of several people. The book “Slam Dunked” by Ron Gomez details his success, as well as the controversy surrounding the NCAA’s allegations that ultimately led to his resignation and a two-year “death penalty” for the basketball program. More recently, a documentary is being made about him directed by Donny Broussard and Douglas Domingue as well as an interview with Sports Illustrated senior reporter John Ed Bradley.

Shipley said he credits his success to hard work.

“We stayed with the fundamentals,” he explained. “Number one, I felt everyone should be able to play for 40 minutes without substitutions.”

Shipley said his players averaged 20 hours of practice a week or “it might have been more than that. They’ll say it was anyway.

“It was the hardest work I’ve ever done in my life,” former Shipley-player Randy Price (1955-59) earlier told The Vermilion at the “Basketball is Back” reunion last month. “The only rivalry we had was with Shipley.”

Chuckling at Price’s comments, Shipley said, “they worked hard.”

“I worked them awful hard. But they all took it,” he elaborated. “I might have been a little bit overly rambunctious. They knew what I wanted and they got it. Today they are all happy that they went through it.”

Shipley and his former players said they keep in touch and most maintain a close relationship.

In his 1994 tribute to Shipley, 1965-66 student coach Rocke E. Roy wrote, “Much like the rising tide that lifts all ships, you were and are a force that raises all about you higher than they are normally able. Those fortunate enough to know you well have been positively and eternally motivated to be better, reach higher, give more. Most of us are still a little short but, because of you, we have the goal in sight and we're closing fast.”

Another tactical method of coaching that Shipley said helped his success was taking “advantage of what you have.”

“I had players that may not have been good shooters but they were good rebounders,” he said. “That’s one of the coach’s responsibilities: to take care of the talent you have and to use that talent.”

The Kingsfort, Tenn., native started his head coaching career in 1957 after being offered a job from athletic director John Robert Bell at then Southwestern Louisiana Institute.

Shipley would go on to not only break record barriers but also social barriers, most notably when he integrated the basketball team in 1966, being the first head coach in the Deep South to integrate.

“As it turned out, after a few years everything was solid black and white. Everybody was in that place. Every seat was taken. We just didn’t have any real problems as far as integration, but I know there were some emotions involved that were against it,” he said.

Shipley would face such emotions in 1973 when the NCAA penalized Shipley for recruiting methods surrounding the controversy of those first black players. Shipley was “forced out” and the basketball team would not be allowed to play for two years. Shipley said he credited this experience as the most memorable because of “understanding people” and “the attitude they have under pressure.

“Understanding the strain people have in the jobs that they have. Trying to understand why they made the decisions that they made, not that I made.”

“It happened and that’s just the way life is and he’s OK with it,” said his wife, Dolores Shipley, about the events. “He’s very positive and he doesn’t dwell on things. He’s been able to not forget but to forgive. He’s been much more at peace.”

Shipley continues to live in Lafayette with his family because he said he doesn’t know a “friendlier atmosphere” and was recently honored with an award presented by UL Lafayette President E. Joseph Savoie, Ph.D. He ended by saying he was thankful of all the support he’s had.

“That’s the greatest thing you’ve got going is the good Lord, family and friends. That’s one, two, three.”

Athletic Network Footnote: 
The plate in the lower right reads, "COACH BERYL SHIPLEY, Head Men's Basketball Coach (1958-73), In recognition of your accomplishments and your distinction as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's ALL-TIME Winning Coach, we are pleased to present you with this special memento of Blackham Coliseum.Thank for the the memories, Coach Shipley, January 22, 2011.

The base of the plaque is made from the end of section of one of the bleacher seats from Blackham Coliseum and has the "1". 

The memento was scheduled to be presented on Jan. 22nd at the half-time recognition of those who were part of the first 100 years of men's basketball at UL, but Coach Shipley was unable to attend. The presentation occured at his home on Wednesday, January 26.

Click here for the photo gallery of the Jan. 21-22, 2011 Basketball Reunion

Click here for the January 18, 2003 Basketball Reunion  

Click here for the Nov. 1-2, 2001 Shipley Basketball Reunion   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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