Greater Flint Area Sports Hall Of Fame Inductees
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Bob Chipman has not lived in Flint on a full-time basis since 1971.
As such, the former Northwestern and Mott Community college basketball standout wasn't certain how well remembered he still is in his hometown.
That's why Chipman was caught somewhat off guard when he was informed of his induction into the Greater Flint Hall of Fame.
"It was a little bit of a shock when my former neighbor in Flint (board of directors member Bill Haley) called to tell me," said Chipman, who has lived in Topeka, Kan., for more than 30 years and is already a Washburn University Hall of Famer.
"I thought about Hall of Fames from time to time, but I was not sure about the Greater Flint because I thought maybe Flint had forgotten about me because I've been gone so long. I was pleased, to say the least."
Chipman should not have been so shocked. The Flint area is not going to forget a winner.
More than anything, that's what Chipman has been at every level he's played or coached for more than 40 years.
One of the most talented guards this basketball-rich area has ever produced, Chipman helped Flint Northwestern High to three district and one regional championship before graduating in 1969. From there, he led Genesee Community College (now Mott) to a pair of conference titles and a 45-9 record in two seasons.
Chipman then spent two seasons at Kansas State, contributing to two Big Eight Conference championships and a pair of Elite Eight appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
He has coached Washburn University, an NCAA Division 11 school in Topeka, to a 628-240 record the past 28 seasons, including an NAIA national championship and 12 league titles. Chipman is the ninth all-time winning-est Division II coach.
Chipman has led a charmed basketball life, one that has taken him around the world, including helping coach the 1983 and 1991 Pan American Games squads, the former featuring Michael Jordan.
"Growing up in Flint gave me a great and deep love for basketball that is still as fresh for me today as it was when I was playing at Northwestern," Chipman said. "I still think about Flint and Angelo's Coney island."
"I'm always trying to recruit Flint talent and hoping to land some kids for next year because I know they are going to be the hustling, hard-nosed, go-after-the-ball, tough players I like to have."
In other words, sort of like the player Chipman developed into as the result of obtaining his basketball education on two fronts during his youth. Organized programs aside, Chipman learned plenty while attempting to hold his own during pickup games in sweaty gyms echoing with the sound of squeaking sneakers.
"Thanks to a Mott Foundation program, gyms were kept open all time," Chipman recalled. "I went to a different gym just about every night within walking distance of my home. That was an incredible thing to be able mix it up with quality players all the time. That's where I learned about getting after rebounds, diving for a loose balls and the value of being a blue-collar player."
Upon his promotion to the Northwestern varsity squad during his sophomore year, Chipman came under the tutelage of the first of three coaches who had a tremendous influence on him - Al Gricius.
The highlight of Chipman's prep career was helping Northwestern to a 67-57 win over Central at IMA Auditorium for a regional championship. The Wildcats fell to Grand Rapids Ottawa Hilis in the state quarterfinals in Chipman's final high school game.
Chipman remembered being concerned about his basketball future prior to the game against Central.
"I kept thinking to myself on the way to IMA that it could be my last game, my last bus trip with a team," he said. "i decided then I did not want my career to end. I've been on about 1,000 more bus trips since then."
Chipman shared Northwestern's MVP honor with Howard Walsh as a senior, averaging 15.3 points a game, and led the team in assists and rebounds.
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