April 13, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State women's basketball associate head coach Shane Clipfell has been named head women's basketball coach at Western Michigan University on Friday, as announced by the Bronco athletics department. Clipfell has spent the last five seasons on head coach Suzy Merchant's staff at MSU, and the pair has spent their last 14 years coaching together.
"I am humbled, excited and very proud to be the newest addition to the Western Michigan University athletic department and the campus community," said Clipfell. "I would like to thank President Dunn, Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard and Sr. Associate Athletic Director Dave Corstange as well as the entire search committee for putting their trust in me as the next women's basketball head coach.
"This is a day we have patiently waited for, my wife (Connie) and I are thrilled to come back to the Kalamazoo area. I loved competing in the MAC and I am very happy to have the chance to return to the conference. I have always thought that Western Michigan University was a special place and after spending time here last week and meeting many of the fine people here, I am now assured of that. I look forward to leading this program."
Clipfell, a Niles, Mich. native, was promoted to associate head coach at Michigan State on June 1, 2009, after spending his first two seasons as an assistant coach. Clipfell focused on the team's offensive game preparation and in-game adjustments, while being instrumental in the individual skill development of the Spartan post players. With the other two assistants, Clipfell scouted the MSU opponents and helped to implement the Spartans' game plans. During his first four seasons, he also coordinated all of Michigan State's recruiting efforts, including organizing official, unofficial, off-campus and home visits.
"I am thrilled for Shane's opportunity at Western Michigan University," said Merchant. "It has always been his dream job and he is a perfect fit as a Bronco. I have enjoyed 14 tremendous years with Shane. He's dedicated, hardworking, competent, passionate and extremely loyal, and he has taught me so much about the game of basketball and life. There isn't a higher character person or better basketball coach that Western Michigan could have hired. He will instantly create a culture of a winning mentality, while at the same time, every student-athlete will enjoy their experience playing the game they love."
Clipfell has plenty of experience in the Mid-American Conference. Prior to arriving at MSU, he spent nine seasons at Eastern Michigan, and was the acting head coach for most of the 2006-07 season when Merchant was on maternity leave. Clipfell helped build the Eagles into one of the top programs in the MAC, compiling a 160-103 (.608) record, including three 20-win seasons, three postseason appearances and two MAC 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 conference finish, good for second place in the West Division. Individually, Sarah VanMetre became the first women's basketball player in program history to be named Academic All-American, Patrice McKinney was named MAC Defensive Player of the Year and Alyssa Pittman was named the MAC Freshman of the Year.
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.
Michigan State Athletic Director Mark Hollis:
"We are extremely excited for the opportunity that Shane has in front of him at Western Michigan University. Shane has played a key role in elevating the Spartan women's basketball program to a championship level over his five seasons. We have appreciated his energy and effort which he has put into the program, and he has all the qualities of being a successful collegiate head coach."
Michigan State Senior Associate Athletic Director Shelley Appelbaum:
"We are so pleased for Shane to be named the head women's basketball coach at Western Michigan University. He will be a wonderful addition to the Bronco Athletic Department and University. He will work tirelessly and with integrity in his leadership role in women's basketball. Shane's contributions to Michigan State University, our Athletic Department and to our women's basketball program with Coach Merchant, our staff and student-athletes have been significant in a multitude of ways and we are extremely grateful. While this moment is bittersweet, we truly wish Shane and Connie the very best as they make their transition and make the most of this exciting opportunity."