Texas-Pan American hires Alabama assistant Hipsher as new head coach
EDINBURG, Texas -- Texas-Pan American announced on Thursday that Dan Hipsher, who had been the associate head coach at Alabama for the last four seasons, is the new Broncs men's basketball head coach.
“Coach Hipsher's high standards and core values are exactly what we were looking for in the search for our next head men's basketball coach," UTPA Director of Athletics Chris King said. "He is a nationally known and well-respected veteran coach who will increase our footprint in the State of Texas and has the experience we were seeking as we transition our men's basketball program to the Western Athletic Conference next season. Not only were we impressed with his plan to prepare our student-athletes for excellence in life, but he also has a strong track record of mentoring assistant coaches who went on to become head coaches, including Alabama's Anthony Grant, VCU's Shaka Smart, Lamar's Pat Knight and Akron's Keith Dambrot.”
Hipsher's knowledge and basketball acumen has helped turn Alabama into one of the toughest defensive units in the country, while his eye for talent helped the Tide land a top-five recruiting class.
This past season, Hipsher helped guide the Tide to a 23-13 record (12-7 SEC) and the NIT Quarterfinals.
In 2011-12, Alabama held 31 of its 33 opponents below their scoring average, allowing an average of 58.1 points per game. The Tide reached the 20-win mark for the second straight season, finishing with a 21-12 record, and made its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2006.
In his second season at UA, Hipsher helped turn a team with an early 5-5 record into one that amassed a 25-12 record and captured the 2011 Southeastern Conference Western Division title. That same squad made UA's first postseason appearance in four seasons and advanced to the NIT Championship Game.
“Coach Hipsher has been in nine NCAA Tournaments and five NITs. As a head coach, he rebuilt programs at Stetson University and the University of Akron. As Pan Am moves into the WAC, he is the perfect leader who will take our program and our Broncs to a new, higher level,” UTPA President Dr. Robert S. Nelsen said. “He is a coach's coach – someone who knows basketball and coaching inside out. I can hardly wait for next season; Luke Jackson's jersey will be looking down proudly at the next winning generation.”
The veteran coach came to Alabama after spending two seasons as an assistant coach at the University of South Florida (USF). Prior to joining the USF staff, Hipsher was an assistant coach at Arkansas, where he helped the Razorbacks to back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths.
Before serving as an assistant and associate at the high major ranks, Hipsher spent 15 years as a head coach. He started with four seasons at Division III Wittenberg, where he compiled a 97-18 (.843) record, four conference championships and three NCAA Tournament appearances. He led his team to the 1990 Elite 8 in his first season, earning NCAC Coach of the Year and NCAA Division III Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year honors.
He then moved on to Stetson University for two years, where he went 29-27 (.518), including 20-12 (.625) in Trans-America Athletic Conference play. Hipsher earned TAAC Coach of the Year honors in 1994-95 after winning the conference regular season championship.
Hipsher next began a nine-year stint as the head coach at the University of Akron in 1995-96, turning around a struggling program after just two seasons by going 17-10 (13-5 Mid-American Conference) in 1997-98 while earning MAC Coach of the Year honors. He led the Zips to records of 18-9 (12-6 MAC) and 17-11 (11-7 MAC) over the following two seasons.
Overall, Hipsher has a 238-182 (.567) record as a head coach, including 142-107 (.570) in conference contests. He has earned conference Coach of the Year honors three times and regional coach of the year twice.
Hipsher has shown an ability to create both offense and defense. In 1991-92, Wittenberg led the nation in field goal percentage defense, while in 2000-01, Akron led the nation in three-point shooting percentage.
“Pan American men's basketball has a rich history that includes some great success, and I know we can return the Broncs to national prominence on the court,” Hipsher said. “We're also going to be active members of the community and strong in the classroom. The UTPA Athletics Department is clearly on the rise, and I look forward to being a part of that.”
Hipsher began his coaching career in 1977-78 as a graduate assistant at Miami University, where, while earning a master's in education, he helped the RedHawks to a 19-9 record (12-4 MAC), a MAC Championship, a MAC Tournament Championship and a victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Hipsher then spent two seasons at Miami Dade Community College as an assistant coach and health and physical education instructor before returning to the NCAA Division I ranks as an assistant coach at Dayton under legendary head coach Don Donoher from 1980-89. The Flyers made five postseason appearances during that time, advancing as far as the NCAA Tournament Elite 8 in 1983-84.
In 35 seasons as a coach, Hipsher has an overall record of 572-436 (.567), including 222-188 (.541) in conference play. His teams have made 14 postseason appearances, including nine in the NCAA Tournament and five in the NIT.
Hipsher graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and biology. He was a two-time captain and academic All-American for the Falcons.
The 58-year old Hipsher and his wife, Sue, are the parents of two sons, Andy (32) and Bryan (30). Andy currently serves as an assistant coach at USF. Both played collegiately for their father at Akron.