He was one of college football’s most successful coaches and is being mourned by the school he led to glory. Legendary Central College coach Ron Schipper died suddenly Sunday night at his home near Holland, Michigan. He was 78.
Schipper directed the Central program from 1961 to 1996 and during that time posted a remarkable record of 287 wins, 67 losses and three ties. He led the Dutch to 36 consecutive winning seasons, 18 Iowa Conference championships and 12 trips to the division three national playoffs. That includes the 1974 team that beat Ithaca College in the national championship game.
Current Central coach Jeff McMartin says he never thought Schipper would retire and says Schipper was an icon, and he thought the coach would always be there. McMartin played and coached for Schipper and says his former coach will always be a part of the program. McMartin says Schipper stay connected to the program and the school right up to the last minute, as Schipper had dinner with the school’s president. McMartin says it has “been a real difficult day.”
McMartin talked about the effect Schipper had on him, says the coach was a mentor for him and says he aspired to live the kind of life and be the kind of coach that Schipper was. McMartin says there’s a little bit of the coach out there every day because he made such an impact on so many people.
What made Schipper such a successful coach? McMartin says Schipper was a man of great integrity who had a passion for life and football. McMartin says people fed off the huge energy that Schipper had. A memorial service is being planned on the Central College campus.