EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State head women's basketball coach Suzy Merchant has announced that Shane Clipfell will be joining her staff as an assistant coach. Clipfell spent nine seasons with Coach Merchant at Eastern Michigan, and was the acting head coach for most of the 2006-07 season when Merchant was on maternity leave.
Along with Merchant, Clipfell joined the EMU staff in 1998-99, and the two have been coaching together ever since. Clipfell helped build the Eagles into one of the top programs in the Mid-American Conference. Eastern Michigan compiled a record of 160-103 (.608) during Merchant and Clipfell's tenure, including three 20-win seasons, three postseason appearances and two Mid-American Conference West Division titles.
While serving as the acting head coach at EMU for a majority of the 2006-07 season, he guided the Eagles to a 16-13 overall record and a 10-6 finish in the MAC, good for second place in the West Division. Individually, senior Sarah VanMetre became the first women's basketball player in program history to be named Academic All-American, senior Patrice McKinney was named MAC Defensive Player of the Year and freshman Alyssa Pittman was named the MAC Freshman of the Year.
"Michigan State University is just a great institution," said Clipfell. "It's a place that has made me feel very welcome and very wanted. I couldn't be happier to be able to continue to work with Coach Merchant. She took a chance on me nine years ago and hired me at Eastern Michigan. She's a terrific person who has great coaching ability, but she has even better people skills, and that's why I'm looking forward to continue working with her."
"When you have someone that you've worked with for nine years, it says a lot," said Merchant. "Shane's extremely knowledgeable and hard working. He has great head coaching experience, from his high school days to his junior college days, to last year at Eastern Michigan while I was on maternity leave. Eastern Michigan would not be where it's at without his influence on that program. I worked hard to make sure he would come with me here, and I'm thrilled to have him as part of our Spartan family.
"When he took over for me last year, I really felt like it should be his team," Merchant continued. "He did a great job, and I think the players really connected with him. He's probably one of the best offensive minds I've been around, but he did a nice job of making adjustments on defense, resulting in Eastern Michigan getting its first-ever Defensive Player of the Year (Patrice McKinney). He's a great recruiter and one of the best evaluators of talent I've been around."
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), the 43-year-old 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 children: John (24) and Lauren (18).
THE CLIPFELL FILE
PERSONAL: Born Shane Michael Clipfell on Aug. 29, 1963 in Niles, Mich.
FAMILY: Wife Connie and two children: John (24) and Lauren (18).
PREVIOUS COLLEGIATE COACHING EXPERIENCE: Glen Oaks Community College (1994-98, head coach from `96-98). Assistant Coach at Eastern Michigan University (1998-2007).
COACHING RECORD: 403-203 (.665) as an assistant and head coach; 185-65 in 11 years as head coach at Colon High School; 58-35 in three years as head coach at Glen Oaks Community College from 1996-98; 160-103 overall in nine years at Eastern Michigan University from 1998-2007, including a 13-12 as acting head coach at Eastern Michigan University in 2006-07.
EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in communications from Eastern Michigan in 2006.
POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE: Coach - 2004 NCAA Tournament, 2005 WNIT, 2006 WNIT.